Personnel: Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons (vocals, guitar); Frank Beard (drums).
Audio Mixers: Joe Hardy; Ken Dahlinger; Thom Panunzio.
Assembled from various shows from various tours from around the world, 2016's Live: Greatest Hits from Around the World is billed as ZZ Top's first "full-length live album" -- a matter of dispute considering how Eagle Rock released three CD/DVD/Blu-ray combo sets between 2008 and 2014. There is no visual component to Live: Greatest Hits from Around the World, which may be how it skates around the first live album distinction -- if there's no video, this is a pure album -- but the record mines a similar musical vein, collecting highlights from latter-day ZZ Top tours. During the 2000s and 2010s, ZZ Top released an excellent studio album called La Futura, but that's ignored here in favor for all the songs that are classic rock staples. Older, the Lil' Ol' Band from Texas sounds thicker and heavier -- and Billy Gibbons' growl is so gruff it seems tattered -- but that helps distinguish these versions from the spit and polish of the studio versions; not better, per se, but certainly the work of a band whose members happily settle into their advanced years, not wishing to change a thing about how they do things. Nevertheless, the undeniable highlights are the two tracks featuring cameos from Jeff Beck: he contributes lyrical solos to "Rough Boy" and helps with the heavy-footed boogie of "Sixteen Tons," pushing the trio just far enough out of its comfort zone to provide some crackle. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine