Tag Archives: Chris Robinson

Album of week 32: AMORICA

Right now if you were seeing me on a webcam or some other face to face device, not only i’d look a bit ugly and exhausted thanks to the heat of the summer and the fuckin’ peak season at work, with lots of incidences and shit putting my patience and professionalism into a test, but leaving my physical state, my face would reflect some astonishment as a consequence of being surfing my own blog looking for albums of The Black Crowes commented, to realize only Three Snakes and One Charm and Shake your Money Maker had been cited. Not that I’m a Crowemaniac but I’ve been following the Robinson bros’ career quite close.

amorica

This time I feel like talking about Amorica, an album that, due to some factors and events , has turned into a very deared piece. I’ve been listening to it very often these past days as I find that any record of the Crowes has some elements which make them perfect for summer. They are warm yet fresh, with lots of groove, and they always give the good vibes. Honestly, I feel happy whenever I listen to them and my mood gets excellent.

I’ve always thought Amorica marked a change from the previous albums and it also meant the definition of what The Black Crowes were, and what they were looking for. The way songs were written, with their structures, their extended length and the way they were played, one had the feeling of being listening to a live album. They were able to create that wonderful hippie atmosphere for people to break free, get loose, and experiment the joy of music. Rock wasn’t a pose anymore for them, and they were committed to spread music as the perfect medicine for all.

You might be thinking I’m on acid, but it’s been almost 18 years since the last (light) trip. Ha!

If you had attended their Amorica tour show in Zaragoza in July 1995 at the main park in an open air “amphitheatre”, you’d understand what I’m saying. That show was as if the band was in the living room, including lots of jam parts in the set. They didn’t even play ‘Conspiracy’. Most of the audience expected something different, song oriented, and those jams had a different impact on people. I particularly enjoyed the show even though I was flipping a bit observing Chris Robinson playing percussion thinking the guy was high in the sky, as his smile never abandoned his face. I guess we weren’t yet prepared nor educated to face a show like that one, moreover, since then their shows are more focused in recovering their classic hits rather than experimenting or improvising.

The Black Crowes

I bought a Japanese digipack copy of this album when I visited Japan. He (urgh) had his copy and was all the time complaining and wondering where his digipack copy bought in Paris was, and when I found mine he told me not to buy it, as he had his own CD and at that time we were meant to share everything. But I was determined to have my own copy, so I got it. unfortunately at some point during our divorce my CD remained with his stuff and I lost it, like lots of stuff I never recovered. I thought at some point we would behave like adults so I would recovered my things, but some time ago I came to the conclusion that after 4 years there was no point in claiming anything, plus I don’t need to approach him at all.

The wonders of friendship made I told this last story to Arantza and Paula, my favorite sisters and old friends since high school, reckoning I would eventually have a new copy of Amorica. I love giving them music as presents, or suggesting bands and albums, because they usually apply themselves seriously and are very appreciative, and it’s great to introduce good friends to music you’re fond of. But it was their time to give me something back, so being really busy at work, Mr Postman came to my office and asked for me. I wasn’t expecting anything, especially because these months I’m quite short of dough after festivals and summer social life. whn I opened the envelop and saw Amorica was inside, and there was a pink note from my friends, I got really moved and dropped a little tear, feeling the luckiest person on Earth for having such great people by my side.

So now I got my Amorica to play anytime I want, and this has been the album of the week. Some people regard it as a minor work, but considering it includes ‘Wiser Time’ and ‘Gone’, I can tell you this is one of their greatest works.

Every time I listen to The Black Crowes I have the same thought:  the world would be much worse if they didn’t exist. God bless!

ALBUM OF WEEK 45: THE MAGIC DOOR

I won’t justify the missing updates related to albums of past weeks. This time I can say I’ve been listening to much stuff I’ve already commented. For instance, spent lots of time listening to Abandon Jalopy’s Death and Joy before the show, I recovered American Slang to warm up too, and have been playing  Born to Die and Blues Funeral, starting to consider which 2012 released albums are my favorite. Still I had my personal favorites  for the last weeks, I’ll be posting this days.

magic door

Some time ago I realized the musical presence of the talented Robinson bros, Chris and Rich, is kinda essential for the world keeps balanced. It’s been many years since The Black Crowes, have been amusing us, the music lovers, giving complete sense to rock, by means of bringing back its genuine roots, and adapting it to modern times and styles.

Not so long ago, the brothers decided to change the status of the band to inactivity. It’s kinda fun the term used for this “vacation”, hiatus. The band hasn’t officially split up, however their members are getting a life, far from each other, taking care of their own business  and personal projects.

Many people see these projects with angry eyes, as an obstacle preventing a possible The Black Crowes comeback, however I like them, in fact I encourage certain artists, especially bands whose main members are brothers, to split at least for a while, and develop their own creativity without the typical brotherhood boundary. Perhaps you think I’m talking nonsense, but let’s say I used to be close to one of these brother and brother bands, and on one hand, it’s true that complicity is outstanding, however at the end of the day, in order not to piss the other off, one eventually might get frustrated not being able to release all their creativity. Crash of egos is another risk, competition and some sort of rivalry.

Anyway, since I heard Neal Casal was joining Chris Robinson Brotherhood, I started paying more attention to upcoming news.

The word Brotherhood makes me smile, especially coming from Chris, a genuine stoned hippie. It’s like a “Hey bro! It’s time we spread and share some love” or something like that. Brotherhood means something warm and close to me.  Truth is that the reason for the birth of this brotherhood was Robinson’s desire of having a band appointed to play just in Cali, with no pressure, giving him the chance of playing freely just for pleasure.

CRB

This year two albums have seen the public light. First was Big Moon Ritual, released in June, and this second, The Magic Door, which came out in September. Regardless the different dates of release, both were recorded simultaneously. It sounds weird, but considering the extended length of the songs, I find the split of the albums quite reasonable.

The Magic Door also includes 7 songs. There are a couple of remarkable things. On one hand discovering  that the opening song, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, is a cover, is surprising, and on the other, that two late Black Crowes songs are revisited, Appaloosa and Little Lizzie Mae, is shocking. You can understand this in many different ways, as if he wasn’t satisfied with the result when recorded with the Crowes, or just the opposite.  Usually whenever a member of a prominent bad decides to go on solo, seems that they want to cut the ties and not to be so related to the previous project, but in this case, the usual tendency does not apply.

My favorite song of this album no doubt is Vibration & Light Suite. From pure groove and great vibes, with mellow melodies and a beautiful chorus, the song evolves into something more psychedelic, and harder,  mainly thanks to the amazing work on synthesizers and the solo guitar. It’s kind of a trip for the senses, and also time travelling to the age of psychedelia. Delightful!

The Magic Door is pretty easy listening, suitable for everyone, and the experience is very pleasant. Guess it’ll be difficult to attend a show of CRB if they are not up to tour Europe, they must be terrific. I’d put them in my 2013 wishlist, you never know…

ALBUM OF WEEK 21 – SHAKE YOUR MONEY MAKER

Back to classics this week. I can’t believe it took me so long time to buy this álbum. Well, I can, this was one those my ex had so I didn’t have to worry about it.

I hand’t listened to it properly for many many years, and early this week, I chose it as my morning soundtrack, this is, every morning, before heading for work, I’ve been playing this album during my routines, and gotta say, Shake Your Money Maker is just perfect.

Considering the year this album was released, 1990, The Black Crowes were marking a difference away from the music tendencies at that time. Happy Hard Rock from suntanned LA bands was losing power against the depressive waves coming from Seattle and surroundings, led by Nirvana, still metal Soundgarden, and Screaming Trees, among others, of course. Times for changing, and certain degree of confusion.

 On the other side, away from this chaos, The Black Crowes, a bunch of hippies completely influenced by the Stones, The Faces and Humble Pie, released this, their debut album.  Southern rock adapted to modern times, the distinct voice of Chris Robinson and his charm, and the compilation of hits included in this album starting from Twice as Hard, the cover of Hard to Handle, the amazing Sister Luck… This album is bigger than life!

Produced by established George Drakoulias,  I can’t but thank him for keeping the sound and the intensity so fresh and direct, acoustic guitars sound unbelievable, pianos don’t exceed, everything has been mixed carefully and with love, delivering such wonder to an increasing audience.

We declare Tom Petty or Neil Young as classics, but stop thinking for a second, The Black Crowes, with perseverance, hard work, and amazing work, deserve to share the podium of classics.

LONG LIVE THE CROWES!