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Baker's Dozen

Sharp Dressed Fan: Billy Gibbons Of ZZ Top's Favourite Albums
Kiran Acharya , September 14th, 2016 08:38

As ZZ Top take their live greatest hits album on tour, their lead singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons talks Kiran Acharya through his top 13 LPs, setting aside some of his more well-worn classics in favour of recent favourites


Carlene Carter – Carter Girl
Rick Rubin embraced Johnny Cash when he was floundering without a label. Rick thought this was unthinkable. He started soliciting writers beyond the country community and they did two great, odd, dark records. I wound up writing a song called 'I Witnessed A Crime' without knowing that Rick was going in this more contemporary vein. I later discovered it was too mid-’50s; too perfect for old-school Johnny Cash. So it didn't reach release until it was bootlegged out of the studio and found its way to YouTube.

Rick called me up – I live just walking distance from house-to-house: "Can you come over?" I said, "Well, you still got that old Fender guitar down there? If you let me play it I'll come on down." He had this stunning Fender Esquire from 1954. I walked down and the door opened up, he ushered me into the living room and sitting on the sofa was Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. I was dumbfounded. So we sat down this close and he said, "I like that song." June started welling up and said, "Ooh, you played the solo just like Luther Perkins." I said, “Well, I'd like you to help me get through it.” We wound up singing it across the table. Little did I know that Rick had hidden microphones, capturing the whole thing.