"Rollin' and Tumblin'" - Billy F Gibbons [YouTube Audio Single]

ZZ Top frontman puts his spin on a blues classic
Patrick Henkels

by Patrick Henkels

Published July 20, 2018

"Rollin' and Tumbin'" has gone through many twists and turns since Hambone Willie Newbern recorded the song back in 1929.  Renowned ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons puts his stamp on the classic song, which was just released as a single off his upcoming LP, The Big Bad Blues.  You can watch the lyric video for the song above via YouTube.  

Gibbons' "Rollin' and Tumblin'" is a fast-paced reinterpretation that sports the fat, juicy tone the guitarist is known for.  The number is drenched in impressive riffs, licks, and runs that flow seamlessly from Gibbons' fingers over a sludgy bassline and straight-ahead drum beat.  Lyrically, the iconic blues rocker takes a more light-hearted approach than his predecessors, implementing quirky tributes to "enchiladas" and "fried chicken" with his raspy, hard-edged voice.

The tune was popularized by legendary bluesman Muddy Waters, who recorded different versions for Parkway and Chess Records in 1950 and a psychedelic version in 1969.  In the last 60 years, countless others have put their own personality on the song, including the likes of Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, Cream and Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tedeschi Trucks Band.

​​​​​​The Big Bad Blues is Gibbons' second solo album, following 2015's Perfectamundo.  Gibbons discussed his love for blues music and how this album compares to the previous one in an interview with Relix:

We successfully made our way through those uncharted waters with the Cubano flavor of Perfectamundo and completed the journey... The shift back to the blues is a natural. It’s something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots tradition and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.

There’s something very primordial within the art form.  Nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight-ahead licks!  I suspect Jimmy Reed did me in early on.  The inventiveness of that high and lonesome sound remains solid and stridently strong to this day.  We could go on to mention the lineup of usual suspects, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, all three Kings [B.B., Albert, and Freddie].  The lengthy list of champions are forever carved in stone.

The Big Bad Blues will be released on September 21 via Concord Records.

For more music, news, and tour dates, check out Billy Gibbons' Zumic artist page.


Billy Gibbons
Blues Rock
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