Life Goes On for the Crowes, (10/21/09)
It's been seven years since their last recording and a long way back to their 1990 debut Shake Your Money Maker. Bluesy but not Blues are what the Black Crowes are all about. Roots rock would probably be a better definition, but amidst band changes, these Southern stalwarts still rock on, and what makes this two-disc set more compelling is the outstanding sound quality throughout. Under the leadership of the Robinson Brothers, these Crowes offer a mix of country, and rock-based gospel grooves, kind of a dark groove, too, which is mostly evidenced on tracks like "Locust Street," and "Walk Believer Walk."
"Movin' On Down The Line" offers extremely tasteful slide guitar work by North Mississippi Allstar Luther Dickinson that would make any Bluesman smile. The gospel boogie "God's Got It" is immensely infectious that was authored by the Reverend Charlie Jackson. The side one closing of "Whoa Mule" has that Levon Helm/Band feel to it and sets the stage of what's next to come on disc two.
What's telling about Warpaint is that there are eleven songs on the first CD and just six on disc two. Let the jams begin as the band is in another zone with the opening "Poor Elijah" which seamlessly flows into "Tribute To Johnson." "Darling of the Underground Press" features the barrelhouse keys from the Crowes latest keyboard player Adam McDougall, which also shows off the Steve Marriott-like vocals of Chris Robinson. "Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye" simmers slowly and builds gorgeously with some outstanding guitar passages from Dickinson and Rich Robinson, as does "Don't Know Why." "Torn and Frayed" starts out acoustically and sets the stage for yet another hair raising slide extravaganza from Dickinson. The finale "Hey Grandma" is a high-paced boogie with swirling goodness coming from McDougall's B-3, and more insanity from Dickinson's slide.
So after many calls for their demise the Black Crowes live on. I would have to think the main ingredients for their resurrected life are the additions of Luther Dickinson who plays his butt off on just about every track, as well as their new keyboard player Adam McDougall. These guys (in various configurations) have been around for some time now and, given the current new additions to their already well honed core members, don't expect them to fade away anytime soon.
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: email@example.com
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com