Rocky Hill was a formidable blues guitarist who never made it beyond the Texas clubs. He started out releasing three albums with late 60s Dallas trio American Blues, learned his trade backing the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddy King and Jimmy Reed. While the band’s drummer, Frank Beard, went off to find world fame in ZZ Top with Rocky’s younger brother Dusty and Moving Sidewalks guitarist Billy Gibbons, Rocky remained in the clubs, despite releasing three solo albums in the 80s.
Before those, Rocky had been taken into a local studio in 1977 by manager John Lomax III, who brought in Delbert McClinton’s sidemen to lay down a selection of outlaw blues-rockers, and David Olney and Townes Van Zandt bruisers and ballads – many with murder hanging in the air. Rocky shines throughout, unleashing muscular volleys of dazzling virtuosity; hair-prickling string bends a speciality on outings such as Take A Message To Garcia and The Charleston Knife.
Seemingly marinated in bourbon, his vocals fight over the top, giving Tower Song and Hoodoo Eyes the kind of wasted gospel reach peculiar to The Band or Derek & The Dominos. The album languished in limbo for 34 years, now excavated by Lomax to provide a vital missing link in the story of white Texas blues.