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The Black Crowes interview in Riff Raff August 1991

tumblr_m6vkylwqOo1qd418mo1_1280From the-revenge-of-riff-raff.blogspot.co.uk

The Black Crowes, those soulful, uncompromising rootsy rockers, recently paid a flying visit to our capital city on the back of a highly successful, yet tempestuous, sixteen-month solid stint of touring. The Crowes are arguably America’s hottest young band. 1991 sees them opening this year’s ‘Monsters of Rock’ festivities at Donington Park. We reluctantly bought Marc ‘Dickus Dogus’ Liddell a one-way tube ticket to Kensington and despatched him in extreme haste to meet the man of the moment…Chris (Emo) Robinson.

Slumped in the back of the lounge of the Chelsea Hotel in Knightsbridge, is a tall, unfeasibly thin American rock singer. one part of a band whose debut record is now touching the three million sales mark in the US.

Yup, I’m referring to Atlanta’s Black Crowes, whose rootsy, hard-edged rhythm n’ blues has captured the imagination and struck a nerve with the American public. And at a time when most rock bands’ share of the ‘great American dream’ has been cut down to ever-decreasing proportions. Why? Probably on account of the recession on both sides of the Atlantic, too much competition, and a record-buying public gorged and satiated by MTV overexposure.

For almost a year now, this young five-piece from the Deep South have been touring the States supporting their Shake Your Money Maker record, playing to ever increasing audiences, and now they look set to become one of the biggest rock n’ roll acts in our ever-shrinking, chaotic globe. More importantly, they’re a healthy anecdote to the soulless music-by-numbers crud that regularly spews out of the States (or anywhere else for that matter). Cynical? Nope. Just honest.

Hmm… ‘honesty,’ that, according to Chris Robinson, is one of the key words for him and his band. It’s also one of the reasons why so much ‘controversy’ has gone hand-in-hand with The Black Crowes startling success. Ah, every silver lining has a cloud!

Why so? Well as most of you are probably aware, The Black Crowes were recently booted off the ZZ Top tour. Yup, those fellow Southern ‘over the dusty hill’ boogie merchants. To be brief, ZZ Top’s management insisted they leave the tour because the band upset Miller Lite, the tour’s sponsors with onstage comments about The Black Crowes’ music being “a commercial free zone.” The band countered by accusing ZZ TOP of lip-synching onstage.

I make myself comfortable in the vacant chair next to Chris.

Mr. Robinson is, er, resplendent in colorful patchwork jeans and three-day stubble. He recalls our last chat, exactly a year ago in the same hotel. My! Things have certainly changed since then.

Well, Chris, do you regret any of this, y’know, the slagging match between your respective camps?

“I don’t know if it’s a slagging off…” [long pause] “It may sound like slagging. I’ve said some things about ZZ Top and they’ve said shit about us. I mean, do you honestly think that, when I go to bed at night, I think about it?” he says indignantly.

“A lot of times, because I am the musician and person in question, I question things like anyone else, whether it be morals, religion, whatever. But by me questioning it, it comes off as a statement.”

As you’re in the public eye, the media always seem to look to get ‘good copy’ and blow things out of proportion.

“Yeah, like anything else it depends on what kind of aspect of the story you want to go with. Let’s face it. That’s a very easy gut thing. What kind of story do you have to write? What do you have to think to yourself? Do you have to make a stand? No!”

“Then again,” ponders Chris, “you and I would probably disagree on something, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get along.”

He suddenly arches up onto the edge of his seat and exclaims: “It’s music, man! It’s profound. It’s ageless. People have been trying to figure it out for centuries.”

True. When all is said and done, it’s just an instinctive thing.

“Totally,” agrees Chris. “That’s the way we live and I can’t separate it from the music. Then again, I’m not a diplomat. You ask my opinion and I give it to you because telling the truth is supposed to be a virtue…and it’s a very rare virtue these days.”

“So many people say things,” he explains, “watching what they say because they don’t want to ruffle any feathers, y’know, they might not get paid as much. I couldn’t give a flying fuck about getting paid!”

It’s odd, isn’t it, that some people in the business can’t handle honesty, the truth. After all musicians, performers…creative people are a little different from the norm. Off centre. Do you always expect artists to come out with polite, harmless comments? There’s got to be an angle, an edge to what you say. Chris agrees.

“Yeah, definitely. It’s an angle and it’s cool. For the first time in a long time, a band’s come along to make people start to think, like, ‘Wait a minute. What did he say?'”

Thought provoking at least. They don’t necessarily have to agree with you.

“Yeah, it’s not about sensationalism,” he explains. “I don’t have an over exaggerated ego thing, where I thing our music is so important and everyone else is horrible. I don’t think that. I have thousands of pieces of recorded music. It’s not that cut n’ dry.”

Chris becomes increasingly more animated and intense. It’s obvious that he’s at pains to clarify his position.

“If anything, all we’ve said is: if we’re gonna be part of the music business, y’all better fuckin’ know that we’re not gonna be motivated by greed.”

Of course, there’s also the inherent contradictions of being part of the corporate rock beast. Not surprisingly, Chris is under no illusions.

“We’re not idiots,” snorts Chris. “We know where we are. We know we’re part of the machinery. We just don’t like the way that machinery is running right now. And if we’re going to be part of that machinery, who says our part of the machine can’t revolt?”

A stance not uncommon to Jane’s Addiction. Subversion from within. Whatever, it’s a real statement of intent.

“It’s a more militant stance. It has to be that way,” stresses Chris, “because you have to start questioning things. A lot of people say ‘you haven’t been around twenty years.’ Well, fuck, I know I haven’t! But if I haven’t been doing it twenty years, how come I can get onstage with my band, sing my songs, do it without a corporate sponsor, and I can still sell that amount of records!?”

“I read something,” he continues, “where they said, ‘well, but you’re on a record label.’ C’mon, would you, please! It’s like grasping at straws. At least take the time to sit down and come up with a defence before you open your mouth.”

“Corporate sponsorship keeping the ticket prices lower!? How can bands say these things, when their tickets are as high priced as anyone’s. How are they going to justify keeping their ticket prices low with a corporate sponsor when they’ve juts put another $1,000,000 in their bank account?”

Although Chris feels he has to shed light on the cynical, money-fixated music industry, it’s clear he’d be far happier just enthusing about his music. In the final analysis he would prefer not to “take on the global corporate community,” but he’s a man of principle. His tirade continues, now switching to the topic of lip synching.

“Look at the way people make record. Now, if you think that’s OK, then you’re saying it’s fine to cheat everyone. It’s a lie. The only reason that exists is because at the end of the day, is because at the end of the day, the record label does not care about the integrity of the artist or the music. Why have someone who might not seem to be attractive ti people when you can just go hire a model to lip synch and look great. Then people go ‘hell, yeah, I’ll buy that.’ You have to start using your fuckin’ head,” stresses Chris, “and start thinking.”

Pre-empting my next thought he turns more specifically to rock music.

“If you love rock bands who get onstage and lip synch, how are they making records? If they can’t get onstage and sing their backing parts how can they justify it?”

Right, it takes away the trust if the audience twig onto it.

“And it should!” opines Chris firmly. “The Black Crowes don’t kiss n’ tell. The Black Crowes don’t bite the hand that feeds. We’re just saying there are very big aspects of the music business that we refuse to be part of.”

Yes, all that needs to be said, but I decided it was time to change the subject. What about the positive aspects of the last year?

“Every aspect has been positive,” he surprisingly replies. “Just for the sheer fact that, if you want to cal this thing ‘success,’ it has allowed us to voice our opinions and have people listen. It’s special, man, whether you agree with me or not. I’m very happy that I’m in a place where I get to talk.”

Chris adds, “I got to play in the only band I’ve ever wanted to be in, every night for sixteen months and I’m not done…I’ll never be done!”

Chris could talk the arse off an elephant but the guy looks exhausted. Perhaps it’s the strain of the band’s hectic schedule, the non-stop touring, the hectic promotional schedule of the last few days, which included their appearance at Ronnie Scott’s the previous evening. His line of thought occasionally gets tangled but he’s essentially a great communicator with an unusual charm.

So, Chris, you say you’re more positive but haven’t some of your recent experiences made you a little more cynical in some respects?

“I’m more of an optimist,” he affirms. “I was much more of a cynic a year ago.”

Inevitably, that optimism is rooted in Chris’s love and belief in his band’s music. As he says:

“At the end of the day, my band get onstage and as a person who’s not playing an instrument, I can see what’s going on. I just love the sound that rolls off the stage.I get high writing songs with my brother Rich, man. He plays me something new and I can’t sleep for a week cos I’m like ‘hey I can’t wait…'”

“When I get up onstage it makes it all that much clearer; that’s why we’re here. It makes our dicks hard to get up there and do it,” enthuses Chris. “It really does it better than any drugs!”

My thoughts turn around to how The Black Crowes view the way they’re presented and promoted in our own fair isle. But it seems you’ve still got a way to go here in terms of ‘commercial’ success.

“It’s funny. I was having that conversation with our manager today. I will never be, and I say this right now, the kind of artist that passes the buck.”

“If it happens it happens,” he adds philosophically. “I have a great time coming over here and we have fans. We’ll continue to come and play. I’m not going to get bent out of shape and start pointing the finger and blaming people if we don’t hit the Top Ten!”

After a long pause, his thoughts, unsurprisingly drift back towards their music:

“It can be a very earthy, real, tangible thing that makes you think about a lot of different things. That makes you feel tingly,” his voice trails off savouring the final word.

Let’s talk Donington. The Black Crowes, as you’re no doubt aware, will be opening the festivities. They might just steal the show. Chris, any thoughts?

“We’re gonna go and play some Black Crowes music,” he says simply. “It’s going to be great. If we had a problem with it we wouldn’t do it.” A wide grin spreads across his face. “Any place that Bad News played we’re gonna go all the way to be there!!”

Donington will enable the band to showcase some of their new songs to a massive audience, doubtless, some of which will appear on their next album. Chris is straining like a rabid dog to get back into the studio.

“Some songs are ready,” he reveals. “We have the material. We’ll have more material when we get in there. Nothing but optimism lies on the horizon.”

And with all the intensive touring behind them the band should be as tight as our publisher’s purse strings!!

Mr Robinson continues: “All our albums [album, Chris, album!] are painting a picture of what’s going on in our lives; what’s important to me and Rich at the time, what I wanna convey as a lyricist.”

Chris further reveals that record will be “more stripped down.”

“It’ll be more militant. It’s a militant stance. We’re not the same people we were two years ago. Who is, man!? If you’re a real artist and true to yourself, you can’t repeat things you’ve already done.”

Despite the ups and downs of success, Chris Robinson remains an eternal optimist with an unquenchable spirit:

“It’s a weird game man. We knew about it when we showed up. We brought a big bat and a bit glove and we’re ready to play ball. Let’s go!!”

January 13, 2014 Posted by | The Black Crowes interview in Riff Raff | | Leave a comment

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek (2000)

51F14RMY29LFrom amazon.com

Review Possibly the best “live” album ever released. Even better than The Song Remains The Same. This is Led Zeppelin live as they’ve never been heard! What started as a one-off fund rasier in London grew to what is now a full fledged tour. Why? Because this band belongs in the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame now!

You’ve never heard Zep songs this lush in a live setting. The Crowes have the Zep songs down pat (I’ve read that they sat around listening to all the Zep albums). From the first note to the last, what a treat. All the force of Zep plus two other guitars and a keyboard player.

Highlights from the Zep catalog include Ten Years Gone, with a slow bluesy guitar romp that’s incredible; Jimmy’s slide guitar on In My Time Of Dying is stupendous and wait until you hear the organ intro and outro on Your Time Is Gonna Come, it’ll make you cry it’s so sweet. And That’s just the first disc!

The Lemon Song opens side two with all the gut=wrenching blues of the first Zep album rolled into one song; and then the three guitar attack of Nobody’s Fault But Mine just absolutely ignites the song like never before; and then there’s the Out On The Tiles/Whole Lotta Love Medley that finishes the album will leave you wishing that you had been there.

Then there’s the other cover tunes(problems with Sony keep most of the Crowes tune off the album which is disappointing because Rich Robinson’s best solos are on them, i.e., Remedy, No Speak No Slave), Shape Of Things is done ala Jeff Beck Group with the lead solo done Yardbirds (? ); BB King’s Woke Up This Morning will definitely wake you up with it’s foot stopmin’ pace and Jimmy rips this solo out that shreds!

The slide guitar battles on Sloppy Drunk are incredible (more shredding), not to mention Willie Dixon’s Mellow Down Easy and the Mac’s Oh Well are equally awesome. Too bad they take after Pearl Jam and have soundboards available for every show. The textures of the Zep songs will please even those who don’t buy live albums because the sound too different from the record(cd) will enjoy these discs.

This release suparses the musicmaker Excess All Areas as there aren’t any gaps in between the songs. The only disappointment is that both shows weren’t released in their entirety (the shows were recorded Oct. 18 & 19. 1999) If you love loud hard guitar based music then this is an absolute must have collection.

Review For many people, Jimmy Page IS the soul of Led Zep. Back in 1999, after finishing his world tour with Robert Plant – he went on tour with the Black Crowes presumably to fill the hole in the soul. And you know what? The combination worked.

I had no idea what to expect when I heard that the two had teamed up. The Black Crowes? All I knew was their cover “Hard to Handle” and “Shake Your Money Maker.” So the real reason for me buying this may have been Jimmy Page – but it takes two to tango – and incredibly, the Black Crowes made a perfect fit.

Live At The Greek is a trip into the heady past of Zep and its roots. Chris Robinson doesn’t have quite the same range as Plant – but comes close surprisingly in spirit and feel. Surprisingly, he feels like a young Plant bursting out of the gates. It’s not easy singing any Zep song, but Robinson does his best in hitting the high notes. He succeeds on most tracks -like Celebration Day, Out on the Tiles, Sick Again, Custard Pie -but he kinda flops on Heartbreaker. (That’s a minor foible though) The band just rocks though and never lets up – twin guitars playing Zep and the blues – creating a full on sound that even Zep couldn’t do in its later touring years.

Ironically, the Page-Black Crowes combination evokes much of Zep’s early years precisely because of the straight arrangements and the blues covers. More so than Page-Plant could really do. Of course there’s no substitute for the real thing, but you can’t blame a guy like Jimmy Page for jamming the world’s greatest rock songs can you?

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek | , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek (2000)

51F14RMY29LFrom amazon.com

Rock ‘n’ Roll is all about fantasy, mostly about sexual fantasy (e.g. AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie”), but sometimes it is just about Rock ‘n’ Roll fantasy.

Such as, what if Jimmy Page found himself at a lose end and wanted to go out on tour? So who could he pick as a backing band? Perhaps his long time admirers and possibly America’s tightest jamming band The Black Crowes? And what could they pick as a set list? A selection of Led Zeppelin’s finest and just for good measure some of the finest standards laid down? Well, for once it was not fantasy, but reality. Rehearsals took place and dates were set and this amazing combination hit the road, playing to packed arena’s the length and breadth of America, with astounding results.

Fortunately plans were made to record the event for all time and here are the results. At first only released on the Internet, but sense was seen and the whole Shishkerbang was let loose on the eagerly awaiting Rock Public. For those amongst you who may feel that it is sacrilegious for anyone else to perform these songs, especially for old Robert (Percy) Plant not to be singing, hollering, and cajoling every nuance out of these classic’s.

Fear not. Chris Robinson, the Crowes’ vocalist, does not even attempt to imitate the great man, singing everything in his own style giving each song a new slant. The rest of the Crowes play with such abandon, I have never heard them play with such verve and panache, and this is somebody who has been a huge fan of the band for over ten years. The rhythm section of Pipien and Gorman keep a lock sold groove going whilst losing nothing of the looseness that keeps the music spontaneous and alive.

Probably the biggest sound difference on the Zeppelin classics is that although John Paul Jones used to double up on bass and keyboards (an exemplary job he did, too) in that band his use of piano was very sparing, whereas Ed Harsch is not frightened to push the piano right to the front of the sounds cape, soloing when any opportunity arises. But it is the three pronged guitar attack that floors you. Combining together to give the raunchiest guitar sound that has ever been heard on this little planet. (Lynyrd Skynyrd are stunning, make no mistake, this is just one step beyond) Obviously it’s Jimmy Page that steals the show. I doubt he has ever played better. However, the playing of Chris’s brother Rich Robinson, and new at the time Crowes guitarist, is of outstanding class, pushing their guest player to the outer limits of his ability.

The Song selection is spot on. The guitar duel in “You Shook Me” is nothing short of jaw dropping, specially as it follows a version of that old Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker”, which rattles the roof tops and would bring a smile to even the most stern of anorak Rock ‘n’ Roll connoisseurs. Chris Robinson turns in a truly saucy version of “The Lemon Song”. The choice of Jimmy Page’s contemporary guitarist/songwriter Peter Green’s finest song written whilst in Fleetwood Mac, “Oh Well” is a pure delight.

There has never been a better version of “Heartbreaker” with Jimmy Page really stepping out on this one. So topped and tailed with “Celebration day” and “Whole Lotta Love” across two hours of music spread over two CD’s. You get Six cover versions and fourteen classic Zeppelin tracks (all with credit due to Willie Dixon and C. Burnett), played by a bunch of guys, who are having the time of their lives. This is certainly one of the top three Rock ‘n’ Roll Live albums of all time.

As an extra – if you have a computer you can watch them performing snippets of the songs live from your disc drive plus some very good stills taken from the Greek, where it becomes even more apparent how well they all gelled as a unit and what a good time they were having.

After this tour the Black Crowes went back into the studios to record their next album, the very heavily Zeppelin influenced “Lions”, since when, it’s been rumoured, they have disbanded, probably feeling it would be hard to top the Jimmy Page tour. One is also left to reflect what a shame it was that “Led Zeppelin” never recorded a decent live album. “The Song Remains The Same” is not a bad album, but hardly a killer. “Live at the Greek” leaves it for dead.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek | , | Leave a comment

The Black Crowes Southern Harmony & Musical Companion (1992)

61Qk904xTgLFrom amazon.com

Review When The Crowes hired guitarist Marc Ford just before this album was recorded, they gave him something like 30 songs to learn, but when he showed up for the first day of sessions, lo and behold, he found that Chris and Rich had scrapped all those songs an had rewritten the whole album in two weekends. They proceeded to record the entire deal in eight days, and after some aggrivating attempts at mixing, Chris took the album home and “hot mixed” it in one night.

Four days writing, eight days recording, and one all night mix. This is what rock is all about. The finished product is a masterpiece, and all in a fortnight.

Rather than rehashing which songs are which, it is better to point out the fact that this is a heavily themed album. There are stings, thorns, illness and bad luck, but there are also remedies, harmony and salvation. This album cuts to the core of life, where everything can seem to be right, yet still falls apart, and where perspective is maintained and salvation is found. As they quote Bob M, “Think you’re in Heaven, but you’re livin’ in Hell”

When baby bands come out with their sophomore effort, it often falls flat (to put it mildly), but the Crowes were in their finest form on this one, proving that the “Stones Clones” can in fact forge their own way. Although I am a massive fan of the ’67-72 Stones, I challenge anyone to find Mick singing the blues better than Chris on “Bad Luck, Blue Eyes Goodbye”, or injecting more venom than is on “No Speak No Slave”. Well, Mick’s venom is pretty thick on “Turd On The Run” I’ll admit. But I digress…

This gospel tinged diamond of rock and roll has lived up to its name better than any other album in my life. In the last twelve years it has certainly been by best ‘companion’.
Do yourself a favor and get yourself a new best friend with “Harmony”. If you have a soul, “My Morning Song” will change your life.

If I could give it six stars, I wouldn’t hesitate.

Review Yes, that’s rawk, not just rock, but rawk.

From beginning to end, this album blew me away the first time I heard it, and about 1,000 listens later, now that I’ve heard and realized many of the album’s intricacies that were apparent on first listen, it blows me away even more now. Listen to the intro and through the first verse of Sting Me, the first song, and you’ll swear you’re listening to the Rolling Stones, with a different, more soulful singer (Chris Robinson). However, these guys can rock in more way than one, which they immediately prove in the next song, Remedy, which has to be my personal favourite Crowes song, with it’s incredibly catchy, hard-driven guitar from Rich Robinson, and a great performance from the always superb Chris.

The album then mellows down only slightly for the next four songs, but the volume drop only serves to enhance Chris’s down-home Southern soul-filled singing, and some incredible lead guitar from Marc Ford, who isn’t with the Crowes anymore, but proves here to be an awesome, underrated soloist with a very unique style. Then comes the 7-8-9 combo of Black Moon Creeping, No Speak No Slave, and My Morning Song, which, in my opinion is one of the best 1-2-3 punches for pure rock value in history; think Whole Lotta Love-What Is & What Should Never Be-Heartbreaker from Led Zeppelin II in terms of how hard these three songs rock.

As one critic said, Black Moon Creeping features the dirtiest, nastiest guitar tone ever put on vinyl, with a bass-heavy, heavily distorted wah giving the song great grit. However, this tone compares nothing to the wah tone on the following song, No Speak No Slave, during the solo. I literally jumped out of my chair when I heard the wah section of the solo on this track for the first time; absolutely must be heard to be believed.

The entire song, No Speak No Slave, in fact, needs to be heard; sounds like Zeppelin in their prime. My Morning Song rocks just as hard, and after these three songs you need a break, so the low-key cover of Bob Marley’s Time Will Tell will provide you with that to close off the album, reminding you that not only do these guys rawk, but they make music you can feel, with Southern soul, which is what Marley had, and is what the Crowes add to not just this track but the whole album. This album, in my opinion, deserves to be right up there with the great rock albums of all time, i.e. Led Zeppelin IV, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon, etc.

May 23, 2013 Posted by | The Black Crowes Southern Harmony & Musical Companion | | Leave a comment

The Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker (1990)

4107KZ2jW1LFrom amazon.com

By 1990, the hard rock sound, which peaked in the early 70s, had long since worn out its welcome. It had progressed to the point of becoming a ludicrous parody of itself. Groups like Motley Crue, Poison and Def Leppard were the logical progression of the 70s hard rock sound. They took the look, sound and theatrics of the 70s rockers to ridiculous proportions.

This was thanks in part to Kiss, who proved that image could be more important than music. By the late 70s, rock groups were taking things a step further and exaggerating the look and style of Mick Jagger, Robert Plant and Steven Tyler.

By the early/mid 80s, the hard rock look and sound pioneered by the aforementioned names had reached the point of absurdity. Hair metal was all the rage and MTV had ushered in a video era where the look was now just as important as the music, if not more so. With this new image, the quality of the music suffered immensely. This new generation of rockers was so enraptured with the rock and roll lifestyle that they completely forgot about musicianship and artistry. This music is now affectionately known as Cheese Metal or Hair Metal. Music that seems laughable nowadays, with snicker-inducing hair and fashion to match. Music that could, in no way, be taken seriously by any true lover of music.

The trend wore on and throughout the late 80s, many now-forgotten hair metal groups came and went. Then, in 1990, a group came out of Georgia with a completely different ideology. This group, The Black Crowes, was making music that was completely out of style in this world of hair spray and spandex. Their debut, Shake Your Money Maker, was full of tight, fiery spurts of boogie-rock, the likes of which had not been heard on a major record since the mid-70s. Songs like “Twice As Hard” and “Jealous Again” stood out like a sore thumb amidst the dreary sea of synthesized, phony hard rock of 1990. This was rock that went back to the basics. This was rock that was genuine. Rock that forsook image and style and concentrated on the music and the interplay between musicians.

Shake Your Money Maker was a godsend for rock fans who were tired of rockers who leaped about on the stage in tight pink pants while flames erupted from the stage floor. This is real rock and roll. This is not an image. This is music. The Black Crowes took the influence of the best of the early 70s scene. Lead singer Chris Robinson encapsulated the 70s rock lead singer. Summoning a bit of Rod Stewart (The Faces), Steve Marriot (Humble Pie), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Paul Rodgers (Free/Bad Company) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) with each song, Robinson took the lead-singer image and idea back to its roots.

The guitar work of Rich Robinson and Jeff Cease was concise and bluesy, recalling the Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. The stinging slide guitar on “Twice As Hard”, must have been a revelation since nearly every bit of blues influence had been drained since the hair-metal revolution. Songs such as “Could I’ve Been So Blind”, “Seeing Things” and “Thick N’ Thin” resuscitated the deceased blues-rock form with vibrance that was sorely lacking from even the best of the mainstream rock acts.

Shake Your Money Maker proved that good, old-fashioned rock and roll had not died. The Black Crowes brought it back to life. Los Angeles’ Guns N’ Roses was the only other group to come close to retro blues-rock with their “Appetite For Destruction”, but they were too nihilistic and nasty to truly channel the spirit of classic early 70s rock. Shake Your Money Maker and its follow-up “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” was overshadowed by Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, which took rock and roll in a new, unexplored direction. However, The Black Crowes were really the only group to give classic rock lovers their fix of hard riffs, tasty solos and bluesy, wailing vocals.

Shake Your Money Maker is an important album, and an oasis in the desert of the 1990 rock scene. This is probably the only 1990 album that sounds as if it could have been recorded in 1973. In 30 years, Shake Your Money Maker will still sound great, whereas most of 1990’s other musical offerings will be long forgotten, and more than likely, unlistenable.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | The Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker | | Leave a comment