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The Black Crowes Thread

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Didn't see one, figured there needed to be one.

A celebration one  of the greatest American rock and roll bands of the past 25-30 years.  So many great songs.  I sincerely like every album to an extent.  Brilliant covers.  Another chapter in the history of brothers who fucking hate each other making great music.  Although, unlike the Kinks or Oasis, I think the Black Crowes' struggles can be placed more squarely on brother vs the other (Chris deserves the lion's share of the blame, IMO).  So many great musicians over the years.  Marc Ford and Luther Dickinson on guitar.  Eddie Garsch on keys.  Steve fucking Gorman (one of the coolest guys ever) on drums.

I only caught them once (July 7, 2009 in Des Moines) and it was fantastic.  Wife ripped a set list off of Sven Pipien's monitor and it's framed in our basement.  Link to the set list:

http://www.blackcrowes.com/bootlegs/des-moines-ia-07072009/

 

 

 

 

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first time i saw them was at stubb's during sxsw 2001, only time i've ever fainted during a concert. wasn't old enough to buy beers at the concert so we got loaded on a bottle of jim beam before the show. smoked a joint about halfway through the set and the next thing i know people are picking me up off the ground. learned the importance of hydration that evening. 

saw them many times after that, best was probably 2 nights opening for tom petty at red rocks in 2005. marc ford was on fire. 

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Thank you.

I remember "Shake Your Money Maker," came out when I was 17.  I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it.

Then, a couple of years later I heard "Remedy." (Well, saw the video) Holy shit I was floored.  That song was exactly what I wanted music to sound like, and it's not even the best song on the record.  And with the addition of Marc Ford, just made it even better.

"Southern Music and Harmony Companion,"  Is in my top 5 favorite albums of all time.  It's just such a great album, from start to finish.

SM&HC, Amorica and By Your Side are so good.

The thing for me is that while they had a 70's sound, they didn't sound "dated."  They didn't seem like they were trying, they just lived it and it made it seem true.

I saw them in Houston in '92 and '94.  Great shows, both.

Great Marc Ford stuff.

 

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Great point on their 70's sound never being forced.

Honestly, there are days when my favorite iteration was the final one.  "Warpaint" is a Top 3 Crowes record for me (SM&HC, Amorica are ahead of it).  There are so many good songs, and I just love that ramshackle, dusty sound to it.  There's just a enough country feel to it.  Probably due to Luther (?).  "Before The Frost... Until The Freeze" is really good as well.

When you consider those were the comeback albums, it's all that much more impressive.  Assuming they never reform, they ended on a great note.

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I like Luther but I feel like he didn't fit their sound very well, especially live. 

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1 hour ago, Rip76 said:

Thank you.

I remember "Shake Your Money Maker," came out when I was 17.  I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it.

Then, a couple of years later I heard "Remedy." (Well, saw the video) Holy shit I was floored.  That song was exactly what I wanted music to sound like, and it's not even the best song on the record.  And with the addition of Marc Ford, just made it even better.

"Southern Music and Harmony Companion,"  Is in my top 5 favorite albums of all time.  It's just such a great album, from start to finish.

SM&HC, Amorica and By Your Side are so good.

The thing for me is that while they had a 70's sound, they didn't sound "dated."  They didn't seem like they were trying, they just lived it and it made it seem true.

I saw them in Houston in '92 and '94.  Great shows, both.

Great Marc Ford stuff.

 

Get out of my head!!!

Remedy is soooo good...

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Echo the condemnation of Parliament's "contribution."

As for "Remedy" and other similarly tasty tracks off The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, the background vocals are what flesh them out, lend them a richness they'd lack if it were just Chris Robinson caterwauling on his own. The organ don't hurt, either.

And on that note ...

 

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Posted (edited)

Yes Thorn in My Pride was my jam. Such a great song, and I’m a stickler for church piano breaks

Edited by Kermit

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First time I saw the Crowes was in July '98 at La Zona Rosa.   Pretty intimate setting to say the least.   Hot as shit in LZR but but one helluva show.   Set list:

- Remedy

- Sting Me

-  Gone

- Hotel Illness 

- By Your Side

- Sister Luck

- High Head Blues

- My Morning Song

- Wiser Time

- Jealous Again 

- No Speak No Slave

- Encores: She Talks to Angels, Hard to Handle, Twice as Hard,

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southern harmony is my favorite crowes album but wiser time is my favorite song. it always floored me live. that drum beat constantly pushing the song along, the piano, the slide guitar...and then it all comes to a perfect head. great fucking song. 

 

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Great band. They killed it covering Zep with Jimmy Page, too.

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One of Chris Robinson’s good friends worked on our farm outside of Athens. She said he used to raid her closet for clothes to wear on stage when they were Mr Crowe’s Garden. MCG wasn’t making any money so they changed up their sound to the classic rock thing and viola: The Black Crowes.

/csb

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Looking through my old ticket stubs for Crowes concerts:

Verizon Wireless - Houston - 4/21/2005

Woodlands Pavillion - Woodlands - 6/2/2006 (w/ Robert Randolph and Drive By Truckers)

Verizon Wireless - Houston - 9/24/2010 (This was my favorite show)

House of Blues - Houston - 4/28/2013

L'Auberge Casino - Lake Charles - 5/23/2013 (Outdoors among palm trees and the stage set up inside a lazy river pool)

 

Chris Robinson Brotherhood:

Warehouse Live - Houston - 10/15/2015

Warehouse Live - Houston - 6/12/2016

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10 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

One of Chris Robinson’s good friends worked on our farm outside of Athens. She said he used to raid her closet for clothes to wear on stage when they were Mr Crowe’s Garden. MCG wasn’t making any money so they changed up their sound to the classic rock thing and viola: The Black Crowes.

/csb

I think that was around the time Steve Gorman came into the fold.

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I remember (vaguely) being in the Hard Rock in Vegas in 2005 just wondering aimlessly around the casino and running into Steve Gorman. Dude was an absolute delight, just incredibly nice. Chris was surrounded by people, most of them insanely beautiful women. Being a front man for a successful rock band has to be the best job on Earth. 

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I saw them in Austin at the City Coliseum the night before they broke up the first time. When they were playing it was absolutely awesome. Chris would stop in the middle of songs to bitch at people in the audience. One person may have had a laser that he was pointing at the stage and that was what he was botching about?? I can’t remember as that was probably 22 or 23 years ago. I also saw them at the Horde Tour in 1995 at Southpark Meadows. That was a great show. They are still to this day one of my all time favorites! They were supposed to do a tour with the Grateful Dead before Jerry died. I could have died happily after seeing one of those shows.

 

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2 minutes ago, Kermit said:

I remember (vaguely) being in the Hard Rock in Vegas in 2005 just wondering aimlessly around the casino and running into Steve Gorman. Dude was an absolute delight, just incredibly nice. Chris was surrounded by people, most of them insanely beautiful women. Being a front man for a successful rock band has to be the best job on Earth. 

Gorman is straight up one of the coolest guys to ever live.

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11 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

One of Chris Robinson’s good friends worked on our farm outside of Athens. She said he used to raid her closet for clothes to wear on stage when they were Mr Crowe’s Garden. MCG wasn’t making any money so they changed up their sound to the classic rock thing and viola: The Black Crowes.

/csb

yeah they were more of an early-REM-ish jangle-pop band (I probably shouldn't say REM-ish, that's going to give the wrong idea since the vocals were night and day between those two bands)

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30 minutes ago, Wally Pryor said:

Doesn't Gorman do a sports talk show in LA? 

Yup.  He's done a lot of podcasts since the break up of the Black Crowes.  Check out his appearance on Steven Hyden's Celebration Rock.  He just lays the whole history of the Black Crowes out there warts and all.  It's a great listen.  He pulls few punches with the Robinson brothers, but he's also very even-handed and objective.  He's as quick to recognize their brilliance and what he liked about them as he is to shit on them.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mess said:

 

Such a fantastic cover. 

Two of my other favorites:

With Jimmy Page

 

Edited by Don Johnson

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2 hours ago, Al_4_ISU said:

Yup.  He's done a lot of podcasts since the break up of the Black Crowes.  Check out his appearance on Steven Hyden's Celebration Rock.  He just lays the whole history of the Black Crowes out there warts and all.  It's a great listen.  He pulls few punches with the Robinson brothers, but he's also very even-handed and objective.  He's as quick to recognize their brilliance and what he liked about them as he is to shit on them.

he has a book coming out in September, that should be a great read

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Also if you haven’t seen The Magpie Salute live, you should.

Rich, Sven & Marc Ford still killing it.

 

Covering Delaney and Bonnie.

 

 

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House of Blues - Houston - 4/28/2013

Was there as well.  It's top five all-time concert for me.  Was a casual fan that saw the chance to see them live - to say I was floored by what I witnessed was an understatement.

 

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My buddy used to work in retail at Barney's in Chicago. Chris Robinson came in one day and said "I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm into scarves." My buddy said "No shit, Chris Robinson. Everyone knows you're into scarves." Then he sold Chris Robinson some scarves. CSB

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Black Crowes were one of those bands that it took me forever to like again, due to KLBJ just saturating the airwaves with them (same goes for SRV and post-Achtung Baby U2), can't handle that much of anything.  Finally went and downloaded a bunch of their stuff a couple of years ago and was reminded how damn great they were.  This one was always one of my favorites, not sure why, it kind of has a Lennon vibe to it, though I can't say how or why I think that, I just feel it.

 

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Posted (edited)

I love the black crowes. SYMM was out right as I was learning how to be a drummer. Not learning the drums, but how to be a drummer. I was so encouraged by the way Gorman wasn't a "great" drummer. And he never was except for live. Listen to the Fillmore live version of My Morning Song and you'll hear a real good live musician - fuck the tempo, we makin' music, motherfuckers!

As an aside, Chris is one of the most confounding musicians I can think of. When he's on it and in it, he might really have the most earnest, soulful voices in music. But goddamn if those moments are just so few and far between. Otherwise he is too often just seeming to flail. Sometimes out of genuine musicianship and soul, sometimes just too contrived. 

But the album version of Descending from Amorica.... the first three measures he sings are  6 seconds of just maybe the most transcendent performance ever recorded. Not kidding. That first phrase he sings was the very thing that inspired me to create the "post a song that makes you say holy shit" on the old site. 

 

 

Edited by ohchaucer
Oh, and the thing that made Gorman so good live was a real mastery of Dynamics.

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Oh and the bridge in Thorn In My Pride is the first thing I very played along to that I actually cried while I was playing. It's weird how powerful it was at the time and how clearly I remember every single detail of it - just one random night in the ping pong room of my parents' house probably with a few snuck sips of whiskey, playing it a dozen times or so then finally really just landing on it alongside the recording. It was as great a moment as any else I've had on the drums. And it was all mine. 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, ohchaucer said:

 

As an aside, Chris is one of the most confounding musicians I can think of. When he's on it and in it, he might really have the most earnest, soulful voices in music. But goddamn if those moments are just so few and far between. Otherwise he is too often just seeming to flail. Sometimes out of genuine musicianship and soul, sometimes just too contrived. 

interesting paradox-- Chris' voice is about 80% of the reason they got signed in the first place*, but his singing live in 1990 and 1991 could be so self-indulgent that I'm almost surprised he wasn't the first one kicked out of the band, and it was so bad by 2001 that Lions is half unlistenable. 

* if you listen to them before Rich got into open G, they really didn't have much of a hook as a band other than the fact that Chris had a really live, interesting voice-- decent rhythm section, decent but not outstanding songs, decent guitar playing. 

Edited by SwanderedTalent

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Not BC related, but Neil Casal and Adam MacDougall from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood are playing a show with their band Circles Around the Sun at Antones on Saturday. Certainly worth checking out.

 

 

 

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Good read.  Thanks for posting.  

Glad you bumped this thread back to the top, so I can add this:  Audley Freed is a bad ass.

 

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Apropos of nothing, I read something interesting in a Chris Robinson interview a few years ago. Post-Lions, there were rumors that the Robinson brothers and the DeLeo brothers from Stone Temple Pilots were exploring a supergroup. The rumors turn out to be true but in the interview Robinson explained he had gotten tired of trying to "scream over the guitars" after the Crowes went LOUD on their last two post-hiatus records and then backed Jimmy Page on a tour. 

I could have guessed all of that but hadn't read any confirmation of it til now. It's too bad he decided that style of singing wasn't for him, I think most of what he did in that vein is more interesting than most of what he's done any other way. There are exceptions; I think Chris' 2nd solo record was a masterpiece and if he'd kept that up, he'd probably have as many good non-Crowes records to his name as he does Black Crowes records. 

Instead he went the Grateful Dead route and I personally never liked licorice. At least not the kind of licorice that came after American Beauty, which seems to be the kind he likes.

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On 3/14/2019 at 8:18 AM, mess said:

 

I bet I have watched this cover of the Velvet Underground's masterpiece over a hundred times in the last two weeks.  That show at Levon's barn was spectacular. 

 

 

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Circles Around the Sun, Black Crows, and CRB....or any iteration of those, are all must see for me. That CAS show at Last Concert 2 weeks ago was fantastic. 

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Thirty years ago (1989), the Black Crowes were formed. Can't believe they didn't suck it up for a reunion. If even just for a short 20-30 date tour.

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Paul is right (above) that Audley Freed is an insanely underrated guitar player. You can blame Rich Robinson for that. If they had treated Freed on Lions like they did Luther Dickinson on Warpaint, where they actually let him in the studio to compose and play the lead parts on the record, that maybe wouldn't be the case. Or maybe it would, since Lions was kind of a piece of shit and no one heard it.

You know who else was underrated was Johnny Colt. Good bass player and his backing vocals are an underrated part of what made them fucking great live at their peak. He was a much better background/harmony vocalist than Rich for most of the 90s.

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Wow, so... that was a little underwhelming. I don't think it's just that I had built it up too much in my mind, although the anticipation probably had a little to do with it.  I think the main problem I had in reading it was, it really was just a hatchet job on Chris Robinson. 

I am in the "Gorman camp" as it pertains to the band-- I would define that as agreeing with Gorman that the Crowes didn't have the career they should have because the Robinson brothers (mostly Chris) made a lot of antagonistically stupid decisions. I absolutely believe that the band dissolved because Chris (for a number of reasons, none of them justifiable) basically demanded full financial control of the band. So I'm onboard with "Chris Robinson sabotaged the Black Crowes from 1993 on and ultimately killed the band out of spite". 

But, the portrait you get of Robinson from the book is just.... not totally believable. It is like hearing a depiction of one person you don't know, from another person you don't know, when the person providing the depiction has been emotionally wounded by the person they're describing. Like sitting at a bar and overhearing a woman run down her ex after a divorce. The ex might be the problem, he might be a complete asshole, and yet you feel like there's a lot more to the story than you're getting, a lot of "wait, why would he do THAT?" 

I'm not saying I don't believe it. I'm saying I don't understand it, and I expected the book would help me do that, and that's where the disappointment comes from. The Chris Robinson as detailed in the book is a weird, incomplete parody. A lot of the accounts of his behavior don't feel authentic reading them; they lack verisimilitude. 

Aside from that, what I found most interesting were the specifics about where they fucked up their career-- the specific decisions they made that could have changed their trajectory. Some of them were obvious and known, but ones like "could have opened on the GnR/Metallica tour in 1992 but wanted to headline small theaters instead", "got asked by their label to cover 'It's Only Rock And Roll' in 1998 and refused", "got asked to place a song on the Armageddon soundtrack and refused"... you add all that up, it takes a toll. 

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could have opened on the GnR/Metallica tour in 1992 but wanted to headline small theaters instead", "got asked by their label to cover 'It's Only Rock And Roll' in 1998 and refused", "got asked to place a song on the Armageddon soundtrack and refused"

honestly those all sound like reasonable decisions. ultimately i find it hard to believe it would have changed their career in any meaningful way had they done it differently. 

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47 minutes ago, stc said:

honestly those all sound like reasonable decisions. ultimately i find it hard to believe it would have changed their career in any meaningful way had they done it differently. 

it's cumulative, but doing what the record label wanted in 1998 in particular would have gotten them a ton more promotion on the By Your Side record, which was written to be as straightforward and commercially appealing as possible but ended up getting ignored by Columbia and sank like a stone. 

"It's Only Rock and Roll" wouldn't have saved their careers by itself, but doing what the #2 guy at their label wanted might have helped the record they had out at the time and THAT might have preserved things. I mean ultimately the got a 5-record deal with V2 and then walked away from it when Chris wanted to do his solo record, so who knows if it would have made a difference. 

I guess my point is if you go back and change any one thing, it may or may not have made a difference. If you were to go back and change EACH of the suboptimal decisions they made, it seems like it would have made a difference. I think Amorica's their best record, but it might have been better for their career if they'd EP'd the material they had around late 92/early 93 and then had a real producer guide them through Tall. 

who knows.... Amorica will be 25 years old in five weeks. still the most important record of my life. 

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