Lions: The Black Crowes

Rating: 80%

The_Black_Crowes_-_Lions.jpgIn 2001, the Black Crowes released their sixth record entitled “Lions.” This album sees the Crowes going back more toward that melodic and atmospheric style they were known for. It still retains that strong 1970’s Bluesy feel, but you can hear how they are experimenting with elements of Funk and Pop while keeping a strong psychedelic texture.

One thing is for sure, the music on here is interesting and not shapeless. The music seems to be a bit loose at times and not as tight as the songs on the previous albums. But the musicianship makes up for that aspect in many ways. It has some very funky riffs and leads as well as rhythm sections. The album sees the Crowes using more of the weird offbeats and slower heavy riffs that are accompanied by some fantastic vocal work including strong beefy chorus lines. It’s almost as if Led Zeppelin meets Bob Marley while hanging out with Pink Floyd.

Track listing:

“Midnight from the Inside Out” – 4:21
“Lickin'” – 3:42
“Come On” – 2:58
“No Use Lying” – 4:57
“Losing My Mind” – 4:26
“Ozone Mama” – 3:54
“Greasy Grass River” – 3:20
“Soul Singing” – 3:54
“Miracle to Me” – 4:42
“Young Man, Old Man” – 4:14
“Cosmic Friend” – 5:23
“Cypress Tree” – 3:41
“Lay It All on Me” – 5:29

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By Your Side: The Black Crowes

Rating: 90%

The_Black_Crowes_-_By_Your_Side.jpgIn 1999, the Black Crowes released their fifth album “By Your Side.” This album saw some lime up changes. Rich Robinson played all of the guitar tracks in the studio since Marc Ford left the band a few years prior. They also had a new bassist Sven Pipien to the roster. Other than that, you still have the talented Chris Robinson on vocals, keyboardist Eddie Harsch and drummer Steve Gorman. 

Musically, one will quickly pick up on the more upbeat tempos like that on the first album. Also, you’ll hear musically, the Black Crowes are reaching down deeper and pulling influences of Country, Folk, and Blues to create their blend of Southern fried Rock n’ Roll. The album is still very soulful, loosing more or less the atmosphericness of the music that you heard on the prior two albums. This album has strong melodies that are very catchy. I would almost say, take all of the good sounds and styles from their catalog and throw them together and you have what this album consists of.

Track listing:

“Go Faster” – 4:04
“Kickin’ My Heart Around” – 3:40
“By Your Side” – 4:28
“HorseHead” – 4:02
“Only a Fool” – 3:43
“Heavy” – 4:43
“Welcome to the Goodtimes” – 4:00
“Go Tell the Congregation” – 3:36
“Diamond Ring” – 4:09
“Then She Said My Name” – 3:43
“Virtue and Vice” – 4:45

Three Snakes and One Charm: The Black Crowes

Rating: 85%

The_Black_Crowes_-_Three_Snakes_and_One_Charm“Three Snakes and One Charm” was the forth record released by the Black Crowes in 1996. The Black Crowes are still producing records that are riding out the tide of Popular music. By this point, NU Metal and Grunge are pretty much at the “High Water” mark. Plus, other forms of Heavy Metal were being developed, including the second wave of South Rock.

Musically, with this album, you hear the Crowes maintaining their distinctive sound which includes influences from Southern Rock, Blues, Rock n’ Roll, drenched in a stonesy psychedelic sounds. It’s very atmospheric in some parts. I do like the stripped down rawness of the music on this album. To me, it doesn’t sound fake as it may with other groups thrown into the same genre. What this album lacks, musically, I musicianship makes up for it and therefore you have another good release by the Black Crowes.

Track listing:

“Under a Mountain” – 4:10
“Good Friday” – 3:51
“Nebakanezer” – 4:07
“One Mirror Too Many” – 3:34
“Blackberry” – 3:25
“Girl from a Pawnshop” – 6:17
“(Only) Halfway to Everywhere” – 3:59
“Bring On, Bring On” – 3:56
“How Much for Your Wings?” – 3:27
“Let Me Share the Ride” – 3:18
“Better When You’re Not Alone” – 4:10
“Evil Eye” – 4:10

Amorica: The Black Crowes

Rating: 90%

BlackCrowesAmoricaalbumcover.jpgIn 1994, the Black Crowes released their third record “Amorica.” Although, the album cover caused a bit of excitement and several copies were made to censor it in order to be sold in several of the family retail stores. Just like the prior two albums, “Amorica” proved that the Black Crowes can record music that is meaningful and something that people wanted to hear.

The musicianship I thought was very good. The Robinson brothers and the rest of the band work well together. The line up is still the same a the previous album. Therefore, you have lots of great rhythms, melodies, and harmony. The songs I thought were well written.

Musically, the songs are very soulful and rich. The melodies are very strong. There are some very solid songs on here from the opening track to “Wiser Time” which features a steel guitar. The instrumentation of the songs are well balanced and atmospheric. There is a lot of awesome guitar work on this album from the leads to the riffs themselves. The vocals are distinctive and rich. “Amorica” is just a well written all around record.

Track listing:

“Gone” – 5:08
“A Conspiracy” – 4:46
“High Head Blues” – 4:01
“Cursed Diamond” – 5:56
“Nonfiction” – 4:16
“She Gave Good Sunflower” – 5:48
“P.25 London” – 3:38
“Ballad in Urgency” – 5:39
“Wiser Time” – 5:33
“Downtown Money Waster” – 3:40
“Descending” – 5:42

The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion: The Black Crowes

Rating: 90%

The_Black_Crowes_The_Southern_Harmony_and_Musical_CompanionIn 1992, the Black Crowes released their second album. This album I thought was pretty decent. It was totally different sounding from their first album. Now, warning, there was some line up changes which may have added to a change of direction. For example, this album marks the first for guitarist Marc Ford.

Musically, I thought this album was very soulful and much heavier than their debut. It’s also more melodic than the first album. The riffs were a little more complex and a bit more fuller. It’s more or less setting the pace for what the Black Crowes are becoming. A melodic atmospheric influenced Blues band. The rhythm section is a bit more leaning toward Southern Rock, taking some of that influence and mixing it with Blues. This album has a lot of harmony. I love originality of the music. To think, they were playing this on the airwaves during the Grunge era.

The musicianship is very good. Chris Robinson still delivers a great vocal on all of the tracks. Guitarists Rich Robinson and Marc Ford throw out some very good riffs and leads. The entire rhythm section consisting of bassist Johnny Colt, drummer Steve Gorman, and keyboardist Eddie Harsch still proves to be the backbone of the Black Crowes.

Track listing:

“Sting Me” – 4:39
“Remedy” – 5:22
“Thorn in My Pride” – 6:03
“Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” – 6:28
“Sometimes Salvation” – 4:44
“Hotel Illness” – 3:59
“Black Moon Creeping” – 4:54
“No Speak No Slave” – 4:01
“My Morning Song” – 6:15
“Time Will Tell” (Bob Marley) – 4:08

Shake Your Money Maker: The Black Crowes

Rating: 95%

BlackCrowesShakeYourMoneymaker.jpgIn 1990, as Hair Metal was taking to the back seat and Grunge was dominating the airwaves, few bands outside of the arena found success. The Black Crowes were one such band that managed to stay on top and ride the wave. Often, they are thrown into the Southern Rock category as there was a reemergence in the genre. I remember when I first heard them on the radio. It was the song “Twice as Hard.” I was totally blown away with the their style of Blues and Rock n’ Roll. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and I ran out not long afterwards to grab this album on cassette.

The musicianship is excellent. The Robinson brothers, Chris on vocals has such a distinguished voice. His brother Rich on guitar along with guitarist Jeff Cease throw out these very powerful Blues riffs and lead solos like no other duel. In fact, I love the guitar work on this album. Add in the strong rhythm section of bassist Johnny Colt and drummer Steve Gorman and you have very strong back bone for a band. The foundation and frame work these musicians built was brilliant, and they never released the same album twice, which is even better.

Musically, this album has tons of Blues, Rock, and yes some Country influences from the guitar work to the rhythm section. The music also has a great Bluesy tone to it. It has a wonderful rich melody that is engaging and inspirational. The tracks flow nicely. The riffs and leads are excellent as is the vocals and chorus lines. Each song is well written. Even the two covers on this album are drenched in Crowes fashion.

Track listing:

“Twice As Hard” – 4:09
“Jealous Again” – 4:35
“Sister Luck” – 5:13
“Could I’ve Been So Blind” – 3:44
“Seeing Things” – 5:18
“Hard to Handle” (Allen Jones, Alvertis Isbell, Otis Redding) – 3:08
“Thick n’ Thin” – 2:44
“She Talks to Angels” – 5:29
“Struttin’ Blues” – 4:09
“Stare It Cold” – 5:13
“Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan” – 1:17