When it comes to meat-and-potatoes rock and roll, the Black Crowes are as good as it gets. The band’s latest release finds it playing a live version of the studio album, Warpaint, along with a few other favorites and a couple covers. And it’s no surprise the band delivers
Its lineup now includes North Mississippi All-Stars guitarist Luther Dickinson, and he allows great interplay with guitarist Rich Robinson. Dickinson’s slide-guitar powers cuts like the trippy “Movin’ On Down the Line,” where he darts in and around Chris Robinson’s vocals and his outro solo is perfect rock guitar. His massive slide solo also powers the stomping “Walk Believer Walk” and mixes perfectly with a growling, grunting vocal from Chris Robinson. The same can be said for his playing on the cover of the Stones’ “Torn and Frayed.” While his playing accentuates pretty much every tune on the two-disc set, Rich Robinson’s rhythm playing holds things together and, when called upon, his solos rip. His playing on “Hey Grandma” is textbook arena-rock guitar – in a good way. It’s soulful, heartfelt, and loud. It’s apparent that it didn’t take long for the two six-stringers to acclimate. Listen to “Wee Who See the Deep.” Its intro starts with a big backbeat, nasty slide, and Stonesy piano before it becomes a riff-based blues-rocker. Each guitarist takes a solo before they start playing off each other. It’s a dazzling display that sums up what this band is really about.
This two-disc set shows off all the influences that make the Black Crowes so good, so vital, and so interesting – from Stones-influenced rock, to country, blues, and gospel.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sept. ’09 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.