Picks and Pans Review: Rocky Hill

updated 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rocky Hill

"I met a man and he talked kinda funny/He said, 'Sign here, son—you'll make a lot of money/Do what I say and we'll make a big killing/I like your songs—hell, you're the next Dylan.' " Here, obviously, is a gentleman who may have had an illusion or two shattered along the primrose path to pop stardom. This probably has not made his life too rosy, but it makes for involving music. Hill, 38, is a Texas blues-rock singer-guitarist-composer-curmudgeon with a vocal style that's as acerbic as his songs. He even takes on tinges of a Mick Jagger-like sneer on such tracks as/Won't Be Your Fool, and rarely does he get more romantic than, "Take the shirt off my back/Take the whiskey from the sack/Honey you can take my love." Maybe it's a function of his name—who could imagine a man named Rocky Hill singing Feelings, for instance?—but the album, his first solo record, seems to rely excessively on tough-guy posturing, as if the only allowable sentiment was to grieve for old black blues musicians. The music has real drive and sting to it, though, and Hill, older brother of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, is not just a local Texas secret any longer. (Virgin)

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