Two blues-rock groups from very different sets of the world are being anthologized on vinyl this summer, with UMe planning an LP box for Humble Pie and Rhino readying a collection of ZZ Top’s early work.
Hailing from Essex, England, Humble Pie were one of rock’s first true supergroups, bringing together members of The Small Faces (lead vocalist Steve Marriott), The Herd (lead guitarist Peter Frampton) and Spooky Tooth (bassist Greg Ridley), with a preternaturally talented 17-year-old drummer, Jerry Shirley. Signing to A&M Records in 1970 after a U.K. Top 5 hit, “Natural Born Bugie,” with Immediate Records, they gained AOR attention in America in 1971 with the release of their third album for A&M, the live Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore. Frampton had departed the group before its release, and with new guitarist Clem Clempson the group racked up two Top 20 albums in America (Smokin’ (1972) and Eat It (1973)) and a few singles that dented the lower reaches of the Billboard charts, including “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and “Black Coffee.”
The group disbanded for five years after the release of 1975’s Street Rats, after which Shirley and Marriott reformed the group with a deal on ATCO Records; Shirley acquired the name in the late ’80s and toured with it sporadically until 2002 (over a decade after Marriott’s death). The A&M Vinyl Box Set 1970-1975, compiled by Shirley and Frampton, shines a light on those halcyon years, featuring 180-gram pressings of seven classic albums, all remastered by Kevin Reeves, including the U.S.-only Thunderbox and the American version of Street Rats.
Next, things go from Essex to Texas with the beloved power trio ZZ Top! Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard have been playing together consistently since 1969, their down n’ dirty blues style shining through even as they adapted their sonic approach to massive pop success in the 1980s. Their early work on London Records has become something of a desired item for collectors; in 1987, the group released the Six Pack box set, adding modern overdubs to those records to the chagrin of core fans. The original mixes did not completely make it to CD until 2013, with the release of The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990. But those mixes, including hits and favorites like “Just Got Paid,” “La Grange,” “Tush,” “It’s Only Love” and “Arrested for Driving While Blind,” are what fans will get on 180-gram vinyl in a box designed to look like the group’s early country-style “Nudie suits.”
The Humble Pie box is available June 2, with ZZ Top hitting stores a week later. Pre-order both sets below!
Humble Pie, The A&M Vinyl Box Set 1970-1975 (A&M/UMe, 2017)
LP 1: Humble Pie (A&M Records AMLS 986 (U.K.)/SP-4270 (U.S.), 1970)
LP 2: Rock On (A&M Records AMLS 2013 (U.K.)/SP-4301 (U.S.), 1971)
LPs 3-4: Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore (A&M Records AMLH 63506 (U.K.)/SP-3506 (U.S.), 1971)
LP 5: Smokin’ (A&M Records AMLS 64342 (U.K.)/SP-3132 (U.S.), 1972)
LPs 6-7: Eat It (A&M Records AMLS 6004 (U.K.)/SP-3701 (U.S.), 1973)
LP 8: Thunderbox (A&M Records SP-3611 (U.S.), 1974)
LP 9: Street Rats (A&M Records SP-4514 (U.S.), 1975)
ZZ Top, Cinco: The First Five LPs (Warner Bros. Records/Rhino, 2017)
LP 1: ZZ Top’s First Album (London Records PS 584, 1971)
LP 2: Rio Grande Mud (London Records XPS 612, 1972)
LP 3: Tres Hombres (London Records XPS 631, 1973)
LP 4: Fandango! (London Records XPS 656, 1975)
LP 5: Tejas (London Records PS 680, 1976)