With their second album, Rio Grande Mud, ZZ Top uses the sound they sketched out on their debut as a blueprint, yet they tweak it in slight but important ways. The first difference is the heavier, more powerful sound, turning the boogie guitars into a locomotive force. There are slight production flares that date this as a 1972 record, but for the most part, this is a straight-ahead, dirty blues-rock difference. Essentially like the first album, then. That's where the second difference comes in – they have a much better set of songs this time around, highlighted by the swaggering shuffle "Just Got Paid," the pile-driving boogie "Bar-B-Q," the slide guitar workout "Apologies to Pearly," and two Dusty Hill-sung numbers, "Francine" and "Chevrolet." There are still a couple of tracks that don't quite gel and their fuzz-blues still can sound a little one-dimensional at times, but Rio Grande Mud is the first flowering of ZZ Top as a great, down-n-dirty blooze rock band.
In 2006, the Berman Brothers (Frank & Christian) created and produced the Album “Rhythms del Mundo”, a non-profit collaborative effort which fused an all-star cast of Cuban musicians including Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club. The new album released on the occasion of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Just as “Rhythms del Mundo” Cuba, it contains rearranged pop hits, but this time in a Brazilian Samba and Bossa Nova sound garment. In order to achieve the authenticity that also distinguished “Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba, the Berman Brothers recorded with Brazilian musicians, as well as internationally popular pop-voices.
When you hear Diana Krall sing, her breathy voice makes lyrics like, "Someone to hold me tight, that would be very nice" sound like a personal invitation. If you close your eyes, it feels like she's serenading you, and you alone. Talk about personal connections. Listening to the crowd's appreciative but respectful applause and cheers as she started playing "So Nice" on the piano, it seems a lot of Krall fans feel the same way. Watching her up close in this two-disc Diana Krall: Live in Rio: Special Edition is a different experience, though. Every once in a while, as I watched Krall's intense performance, her face contorting with the music as she sang and played piano, I felt that her love might not be for the fans or even her husband, rocker Elvis Costello (even though she dedicates "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" to him), but for the music itself. Songs like "Let's Fall in Love" and "Too Marvelous for Words" look like love letters to the jazz and standards she plays.