193

The Black Crowes: Croweology

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The Black Crowes: Croweology Croweology is a reaffirmation of the versatility of The Black Crowes lineup as first presented on Warpaint (Silver Arrow, 2008). It also extends the group's reach into the realm of Americana, as introduced on Before the Frost/Until the Freeze (Silver Arrow, 2009)

In hearing this two-CD set, it's essential not to compare these new arrangements to the previously recorded versions, if only because the only carryovers in the current lineup remain in the form of founding siblings Chris and Richie Robinson, as well as loyal drummer Steve Gorman. That said, the durable nature of some tunes, such as "Jealous Again," results in a take not altogether different from its precursor---except that this version sounds equally legitimate with the finger-picked guitar by both Rich Robinson and guitarist Luther Dickinson, of North Mississippi Allstars, plus salty barrel-house piano from estimable keyboardist Adam MacDougall, who's never afraid to strut his stuff when given the chance.

To his great credit, vocalist Chris Robinson sounds not a whit self- conscious in his vocal stylings on cuts like "Remedy," all the more laudable since here, as in most cases on Croweology, the backup singing of Charity White and Mona Lisa Young remains, albeit sparingly. As evidenced on this moving version of Gram Parson's "She," Robinson has turned himself into an absolutely indispensable component of this edition of the Black Crowes, though no more or less so, perhaps, than Gorman: he reaffirms his grasp of the role of a percussionist in the band largely by demonstrating an intuitive grasp of the dynamics of his co-musicians and the needs of the material.

It's notable too—especially in light of Brothers of a Feather: Live at the Roxy (Eagle, 2007)—that Rich Robinson is flourishing in his role as the unsung hero of the group; his willingness to defer to Dickinson and MacDougall as principle soloists seem to only enhance his participation to the fullest as a rhythm player. And it's well to remember he's credited as the composer of all this original music for which his brother wrote the lyrics.

Like the rest of the band, bassist Sven Pipien's playing is full of surprises, captured with clarity through producer Paul Stacey's unadorned mix. In the performance of songs like "Hotel Illness," the entire sextet sounds deeply engaged in a way it so often didn't on earlier recordings, where the musicians didn't totally nail the tunes. The Crowes continue to take chances here too, engaging in streamlined, focused improvisations like that of "Wiser Time," into which they draw Bob Dylan's sideman Donny Herron. His presence on pedal steel changes the texture of the music and the atmosphere of the listening experience, all the while maintaining the spontaneity of the recording concept.

With The Black Crowes planning a hiatus of indefinite length following the tour that in large measure mirrors these acoustic interpretations, they have not only reinvented themselves with a flourish, but also reclaimed their often-turbulent history with a bravado equal to the collective panache of these performances.


Track Listing: CD1: Jealous Again; Share the Ride; Remedy; Non-Fiction; Hotel Illness; Soul Singing; Ballad in Urgency; Wiser Time; Cold Boy Smile; Under a Mountain. CD2: She Talks to Angels; Morning Song; Downtown Money Waster; Good Friday; Thorn In My Pride; Welcome to the Good Times; Girl from a Pawnshop; Sister Luck; She; Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye.

Personnel: Chris Robinson: vocals, harp, guitars; Rich Robinson: guitars, vocals; Steve Gorman: drums, percussion; Sven Pipien: bass, vocals; Luther Dickinson: guitars, mandolin, banjo; Adam MacDougall: keyboards, vocals; Donny Herron: pedal steel, lap steel, banjo, fiddle; Charity White: background vocals; Mona Lisa Young: background vocals.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Silver Arrow


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "You'll See" CD/LP/Track Review You'll See
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "What Doesn’t Kill You" CD/LP/Track Review What Doesn’t Kill You
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Fourtune" CD/LP/Track Review Fourtune
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Do Right" CD/LP/Track Review Do Right
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!