Friday, July 27, 2012

#6: The Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker (1990)

Is there anyone out there in the land of rock who has a cooler voice than Chris Robinson? There's something about this album that takes me back, maybe it's the strong guitars with the crystal clear leads? Maybe it's the sprinkles of piano in the background of this otherwise heavy blues album. While most listeners will already know 'Hard to Handle' and 'She Talks to Angels' the rest of the album certainly is no slouch.

Seeing Things
One of my favorite tracks on the record, for a moment they ditch the blues rock and go with something just a little slower, a little sweeter. The organ is the tastiest part in this smorgasbord of emotion. When the drums really kick in to add emotion leading to the chorus I always get goosebumps. The soulful background vocals on the chorus really makes a 'Wonder Years' sort of feel to me.
Hard to Handle
It's an Otis Redding song that the Black Crowes make their own. There's several differences between the songs, however, the same soul remains. Both are good in their own right, though the Black Crowes definitely rock a lot harder. It may have gotten plenty of radio airplay, but there's good reason for it. As for blues rock, this is near the top of the heap - also, what a cool solo.

She Talks to Angels (Acoustic)
So my uncle showed me the acoustic version of this song, apparently it's a bonus track I never got. I'm about to write a nastygram. This is by far the best track on the album (if I had gotten it on my copy of the album). Obviously, the original is a classic - the acoustic version is better. If you've never heard it you should do so now. Whoever is playing the piano should come over to my house and give me lessons. I'll pay any price. The amount of soul in the playing is ridiculous and it's only rivaled by Chris Robinson's voice. I've yet to hear a better Black Crowes recording.

All in all, a super solid album. I remember it with a lot of nostalgia from my younger days. If you're a fan of blues rock, it's one of the best out there. There's really no weak tracks, some are stronger than others, but I never find myself skipping any songs. If you've never heard a Black Crowes album, you should really start with this one.

Tomorrow's album: Louis Prima - The Wildest! (1956)

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