The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes – Croweology [Album Review]

by Woody on September 14, 2010

I am an unabashed Black Crowes fan. I don’t know if it’s widely accepted in the hipster world, but I could care less. These guys have been churning it out for 20 years and their recent material is just as as strong as ever. As the Crowes head into another hiatus, they enter it this time on a high note with the release of Croweology, an amazing retrospective on their career. Spanning their entire collection, the brother Robinson and crew capture the live sound on something akin to an Unplugged set. Recorded live in the studio, this is stunning look at an amazing career.

Old songs all sound fresh in their new setting. The end of “Non-Fiction” is pure beauty followed by the romping “Hotel Illness.” The near 20-minute combo of “Ballad In Urgency” into “Wiser Time” is flat out amazing. And lest I forget about my favorite Crowes tune of all time, “My Morning Song” which absolutely sparkles as an acoustic number. Luther Dickinson’s slide work combined with the backing vocals reveals a sound reminiscent of something you’d hear at a revival.

Croweology should serve as a wake up call to bands out there today. Recording live is the way to go. The songs are full of life and sincerity and they’ll have  you grinning from ear to ear. Not to equate our live sessions with this amazing piece of work, but I almost always enjoy the live studio cuts more than the meticulously produced album cuts. Too many producers just get in the way of insanely talented musicians.

Okay, I’ll hop off my soapbox and leave you with this. Pick up this album from one of the best bands of our generation.

Video: The Black Crowes – Jealous Again (live on Jimmy Kimmell Live)

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black crowes cover art

The Black Crowes released “I Ain’t Hiding” as a free download a few weeks back and, as a result, my expectations for Before The Frost¦ lied somewhere between zero and negative three on a scale of one to ten. I reserved my opinions on the track when we posted it, but it’s a disco tune that falls flat on its ass. Well I’ve got great news. That track is not representative of what is otherwise very good album from one of America’s greatest rock n’ roll bands.

For the band’s eighth studio album, they gathered some of their most devoted fans and invited them to join the recording sessions in Levon Helm’s barn studio and you can hear them cheering between songs. It’s a nice touch for this backyard, southern rock party album. And “Good Morning Captain” kicks the party off with sounds from an Old West saloon. Piano and banjo begin before the electric guitar and slide provide a backdrop for a story about an outlaw trying to avoid a guilty verdict and mob of townspeople trying to murder him.

The country ballad, “Appaloosa,” is the next highlight on the album. It’s a song for the homesick and the pedal steel is sure to bring a tear to your eye. Following that you’ll find “A Train Still Makes A Lonely Sound,” a southern rock gem with the entire band playing at full tilt, highlighted with guitar solos from Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars).

With the exception of “I Ain’t Hiding,” the rest of the album is sure to please any Black Crowes fan and Chris Robinson’s final solo acoustic track, “The Last Place That Love Hides,” is the sleeper on the album. Its lyrical beauty and bluegrass stringed arrangements will stop you in your tracks. If you aren’t a die hard fan, you’ll find the album a good listen, but would be better served cherry-picking four or five tracks.

As a bonus when you buy the album, you’ll receive a code to download the companion album, ¦Until The Freeze. At first blush, it feels more country and bluegrass and less rock and roll. Even if it turns out be nothing but B-Sides, it makes Before The Frost¦ a really great value.

The Black Crowes – I Ain’t Hiding

Yes, unfortunately this is the only track that is released for free to the public. I’d recommend just sampling the tracks mentioned above.

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Ever heard of these guys? It’s a band called The Black Crowes from Georgia and they have a new album called Before The Frost… coming out on September 1st. If you make the purchase, you’ll also recieve a free album called …Until The Freeze. These are both studio albums, but were recorded in a live setting in front of fans.

Here’s a freebie:

The Black Crowes – I Ain’t Hiding

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Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 21-30]

by oz on December 17, 2008

We’re knee deep into the top 25 albums of 2008 and this batch features two bands from Alive Records – Left Lane Cruiser and Hacienda. The Rural Alberta Advantage was arguably our biggest surprise of the year, building buzz with nothing more than their music – no label, no publicist.‚ ‚  The Morning Benders and Sam Champion were both in our live session studio, so make sure to check out those tracks if you have a few extra seconds.

21. The Morning Benders – Talking Through Tin Cans (our review)

The Morning Benders

The Bay Area quartet have hints of The Beatles, a dash of Pet Sounds sound, and a little Zombies tossed in for good measure. Thankfully they don’t come off as cheap imitators and instead put forth an excellent effort. A good shot of melodic California pop.

The Morning Benders – Damnit Anna (Hear Ya Live Session version)

The Morning Benders – Waiting on a War (Hear Ya Live Session version)

Hear more from our live session with The Morning Benders.

22. Left Lane Cruiser – Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table (our review)

Left Lane Cruiser

Its filthy, but underneath the bluesy grime are two extraordinarily talented musicians.

Left Lane Cruiser – Wash It

23. Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Okkervil River

A step down from The Stage Names, but that was to be expected. You’ll find a few gems – just not the transcendent album that its predecessor was. Okkervil’s b-sides are still good enough to land in the top 25.

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines

24. Hacienda – Loud Is The Night (our review)

Hacienda

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced this album and is preparing his solo tour with Hacienda as his backing band. Dr. Dog performs backing vocals on the album. It’s safe to say that they have the seal of approval from some of music’s finest.

Hacienda – She’s Got A Hold On Me

25. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (our review)

Rural Alberta Advantage

Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel with the drummer from The National. Yes, its that good.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt This Place

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Frank AB

26. Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

silver jews

David Berman continues to put wry, smart, and often humorous lyrics into his most musically ambitious and tightest effort to date.

Silver Jews – Strange Victory, Strange Defeat

27. Black Crowes – War Paint

Black Crowes Warpaint

The Robinson boys deliver their best album since Amorica. Maxim can fuck themselves.

Video: The Black Crowes – “Wounded Bird” on Letterman

28. Sam Champion – Heavenly Bender (our review)

Sam Champion Heavenly Bender

Rolling Stone described Sam Champion’s sound like Ryan Adams covering Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Need I say more?

Sam Champion – Be Mine Everyone

Hear more tracks at our live session with Sam Champion.

29. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Self Titled (our review)

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

MBAR was homeless and strung out on drugs before cleaning up and focusing on music. The result is folk album with his signature lazy, organic vocal delivery.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Debtor

30. Black Mountain – In The Future (our review)

Black Mountain

Best appreciated in a live setting, Black Mountain perform amazingly good psychedelic rock songs that either punch you in the face or get you in a slow groove.

Black Mountain – Tyrants

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