Tres Hombres (Spanish for "three men") is the third album by the Americanrock band ZZ Top. It was released in July 1973. It was the first time the band worked with Terry Manning as engineer. It was a successful combination as the release was the band's commercial breakthrough. In the US, the album entered the top ten while the single "La Grange" reached number 41 on the singles charts. Meanwhile, "La Grange" debuted number 33 on the American Top 40 broadcast on June 29, 1974.[clarification needed]
At the height of ZZ Top's success in the mid-1980s a digitally remixed version of the recording was released on CD and the original 1973 mix was no longer issued. The remix version created controversy among fans because it significantly changed the sound of the instruments, especially drums. The remix version was used on all early CD copies and was the only version available for over 20 years. A remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on February 28, 2006, which contains three bonus live tracks. The 2006 edition is the first CD version to use Manning's original 1973 mix. Subsequent releases on digital platforms such as iTunes have used the original mix as well.
The album was released in July 1973 to a lukewarm reception. Steve Apple in a September 1973 review for Rolling Stone felt that while the "Southern rock & roll sound" was becoming popular, ZZ Top themselves were "only one of several competent Southern rocking bands", though they had "an advantage over most white rockers" because they "sound black". Apple felt that ZZ Top had "the dynamic rhythms that only the finest of the three-piece bands can cook up. Billy Gibbons plays a tasty Duane Allman lead with Dusty Hill and Frank Beard pounding out the funky bottom", and were "one of the most inventive of the three-piece rockers" but wondered when "audiences will get tired of hearing the same ... 'Poot yawl hans together' patter."
In 2003, the album was ranked number 498 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2012, the album ranked at number 490 on a revised list. The album peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200. In July 2013, 40 years after its release, the album was described by Andrew Dansby in the Houston Chronicle as "... full of characters and doings so steeped in caricature – yet presented straight-faced – as to invite skepticism. The album is stuffed with color and flavor, much like its famous gate-fold photo on the inside: a gut-busting couple of plates of food from the much-beloved but now-closed Leo's Mexican Restaurant on Lower Westheimer."AllMusic commented that "Tres Hombres is the record that brought ZZ Top their first top ten record, making them stars in the process. It couldn't have happened to a better record", and rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Andy Beta of Pitchfork awarded the album 9.0 out of 10, writing that, "ZZ Top's 1973 breakthrough was a masterful melding of complementary styles, cramming Southern rock and blues boogie through the band's own idiosyncratic filter."
The two tracks "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" segue seamlessly into each other. Although there are many stories of it being a "mistake", it is in fact an intentional effect according to the album's engineer Terry Manning, who performed the edit.