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ZZ Top, Hank Williams get tribute treatments, plus Martina McBride's latest

Grace Potter, Wyclef Jean

Album: ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends (RCA)

Why we care: Who's up for big, dumb, horny homage to guitar-spinnin' wild men? This hairy nod to "That Little Ol' Band from Texas" celebrates ZZ Top's 42 years as a working trio. Wolfmother, Mastodon, Jamey Johnson and Daughtry all sign up to honor Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (yes, the only one without a beard).

Why we like it: Nickelback brings legit thunder to a cover of Legs. Grace Potter's teasing Tush is sexy as all get-out. And an unlikely supergroup called the M.O.B. — Steven Tyler, Johnny Lang and Fleetwood Mac rhythm section John McVie and Mick Fleetwood — has a goofy blast with Sharp Dressed Man.

Reminds us of: Standing out as a sweet hip-hop oddity is Wyclef's earnest Rough Boy.

Download this: Potter's Tush

Grade: B+

Bobby "Boris" Pickett

Album: Monster Mash (Master Classics)

Why we care: This 2011 reissue of Pickett's 1962 novelty LP is good for exactly one day out of the year — and even that's a stretch, as the title classic is followed by ad nauseum cuts of Pickett's lousy Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi impressions: Graveyard Shift, Blood Bank Blues, Irresistible Igor.

Why we like it: Piano legend Leon Russell was a session player on Monster Mash. Cool, huh? As for the rest of the album — dated with '60s dance-craze punnery and Fabian riffs — it might be prankish fun to blast Me and My Mummy as you're doling out the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters on Monday night. Of course, your neighbors will probably hate you forever.

Reminds us of: Candy corn is Satan's work!

Download this: Monster Mash

Grade: C

Martina McBride

Album: Eleven (Republic Nashville)

Why we care: The 45-year-old country stalwart brings her gal-powered hits to the unlikely concert venue of Demens Landing in downtown St. Pete on Saturday. So let's drop the needle on the Kansan's new album before the big gig!

Why we like it: With her long leather boots and short black dress, McBride is a hot mama on the album cover. But she's a frazzled mama on single Teenage Daughters, which she co-penned about her own brooding crew. Not sure she has a big hit on this record — well, unless you count her cover of Train's Marry Me, which features original writer Pat Monahan showing up for sweet duet duties.

Reminds us of: My daughters are 7 and 3. Um, Martina, you mean they get moodier?

Download this: Teenage Daughters

Grade: B-

Bob Dylan, Jakob Dylan

Album: The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian)

Why we care: Hank Williams was only 29 when he died in the back of a Caddy on New Year's Day '53. As a result, his output was sterling but slim, with Nashville-building classics including Hey Good Lookin', Your Cheatin' Heart and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. That's what makes this album extraordinary: Some of Williams' notebooks were found with "lost" lyrics inside, folksy puzzle pieces that Bob Dylan, Jack White and Alan Jackson have just now put together.

Why we like it: The sound is rustic; the intent, noble. And if a few cuts follow the same waltz structure, several shine, especially White's junkyard-dogged You Know That I Know.

Reminds us of: Hanks II and III stay away, but Dylans I and II make this a sweet family affair.

Download this: Bob's The Love That Faded

Grade: A

ZZ Top, Hank Williams get tribute treatments, plus Martina McBride's latest 10/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:46am]
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