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November 17, 1987|TERRY ATKINSON | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"The ZZ Top Sixpack." Warner Bros. Here's a CD package whose concept, one hopes, might catch on like this Texas blues-rock band did in the '70s. The trio's brawny boogie is almost always deliciously playful and it features one of the true pioneers of modern electric guitar, Billy Gibbons. Here are the first five ZZ Top LPs--"First Album," "Rio Grande Mud," "Tres Hombres," "Fandango!" and "Tejas" plus the eighth, "El Loco" (the sixth and seventh LPs were already on CD), digitally remixed from the original analog master tapes.

There may be a little too much tampering for ZZ purists--the lead vocal on "Jesus Just Left Chicago," for example, differs from the vinyl-LP version--but the sound is smashing. This set's especially good news for anyone whose ZZ collection started with the video-spurred 1983 best seller "Eliminator" LP; among these previous albums are the band's two best, "Tres Hombres" and "Tejas." Also included is an excellent 16-page booklet. Though Warner Bros. has attached a $49.95 list price, shop around for a better deal; prices vary more store to store on multi-CD packs than on single discs. *** 1/2

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