Like most classic blues songs, ZZ Top‘s Blue Jeans Blues is a character sketch and life story told in a few good lines. Two verses, to be exact.

On the surface, it sounds a bit frivolous. Ex still has a pair of the guy’s jeans and he’d like them back. You feel like sending him off to Wal-Mart with a tenner. But they aren’t just any old pair of jeans. They’re his (motorcycle) riding pants, and he’s not asking for them back so he can ride off into the sunset. So much is said that isn’t said.

The first time I heard this, I assumed it was a cover of an old blue standard. It certainly sounds like one. The playing could be technically better, but they play it like they mean it. And Jeff Healey had a go and couldn’t improve it, so it might not be as easy to put across as it seems. Classics often aren’t. I’d love to hear a few others give it a try though.

(It’s motorcycle songs on Reader’s Recommend this week)

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