The Black Crowes – By Your Side

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theblackcrowes_byyourside The Black Crowes… one of my absolutely favourite rock ‘n roll bands… all time. Just incredible.

When By Your Side came out I was a fan, but this is where I really caught the fever and literally couldn’t get enough.

This album was so infectious to me, a real “live band feel” on the album and full of really great melodies and harmony lines. Something I always loved about it is that it’s not the cleanest sounding album… it really does sound like a hell of a rock band playing great tunes. If I put the headphones on and listen to it it really takes me back. I was a young guy, my whole outlook on life had changed about the same time as this album was released…. and these tunes just resonated optimism/love/peace in my very being.

And I sang the crap out of this album.

Chris Robinson is one of my all time favourite singers. The only way I can actually describe his voice is “the perfect rock ‘n roll voice“. Plus, the use of the choirs on these tunes and their live stuff…. simply perfect.

There isn’t a song on this one that I don’t like. All of ’em.

Some of my favourites (although that’s hard to pinpoint)…. there’s something about all of ’em I like.

I love the vocal lines on Kickin’ My Heart Around. Mr Robinson sounds like rock ‘n roll.

I always loved the slower heavier/gritty groove to HorseHead. That opening drum fill… “ba ba ba ba ba ba”… Groove! The choir sounds great in this one… perfect with the heavy riffing.

I love the more laid back feel of Only A Fool. This one’s a beauty. The organ sounds of Eddie Harsch (R.I.P.)…. the horn section. That’s right kids, some horns. Very tasty melodies.

I really dig the grooves in Go Tell The Congregation. They’re all rock songs, but they’re not quite straight ahead. The great thing about the Crowes is all this stuff has a certain vibe… some of it is slightly laid back… almost loose but super tight at the same time.

Diamond Ring is a really nice one, organ, guitar.. straight and strong drum groove…. Chris Robinson’s vocals (again) spot on… his pronunciations, very musical.

Finally I’ll just mentioned Virtue And Vice. This one’s got some intensity, great melody lines… and Mr Robinson kinda sounds like Ozzy in the pre-chorus… The riff in the chorus was always one of my favourites on this one.

All in all, when I listen to this it brings me back to where I was. Playing in a rock ‘n roll band, learning about life and really starting to love my “existence”!

Now, Steve Gorman….. about the time I really got into the Crowes, I was always a metal guy growing up and then got heavy into prog, jazz and fusion stuff…. Steve Gorman didn’t lay down the super complex parts… but as I got into the Crowes I quickly realised that he was perfect for the band. Also the vibe that they played with was never easy to duplicate!

I learned about feel and groove because listening to and learning to play these songs with the same vibe really made me understand that music and expression is as much about time and space, flow and even slight tension with time (lay back, play ahead).. it depends what your trying to say in the tune.

Mr Gorman became a huge influence on me and his playing is one some of my favourite album (including this one). Still a big influence.

The Black Crowes, the world needs another album…. well… I do.