Monday, August 23, 2010

Croweology - 20 years and counting

You remember my post about Nick Hornby’s “Juliet.Naked” and how it felt like Hornby stole my diaries and did not even really hide it? I have a new proof for my thesis:

Go and google “Crowology + review” and you get all about Nick Hornby’s book. Now google “Croweology + review” and you get all opinions about The Black Crowes 20th anniversary acoustic album. Fascinating, isn’t ;)?

But I guess, I told you enough about the book so I can focus now on the record:

I am 3*cough* years old now and the weddings bells did not ring yet for me and most likely won’t do in the near future. So it needs no higher math to calculate that I cannot really count on having big silver wedding party one day (not impossible though … hope dies last ;)). But just in case and for the PARTY, of course, I will have definitely a big bottle of Champaign in the fridge, which will be opened on November 17 2017 (25th anniversary of our first show) to celebrate one of the longest relationships in my life – the one with my favorite band … The Black Crowes.

Like in all long term relationships there have been very close and intense and lovely times, the one or the other bigger crisis, times when we just went different directions – and came back together. The actual status I would call “relaxed and enjoyable” – the perfect mood to celebrate The Black Crowes 20th anniversary of releasing their first and famous record “Shake Your Moneymaker”, which was the kick off to their huge career in the Rock ’n ’Roll universe.

And here we are with “Croweology” – the double album with acoustic versions of some all time favorite songs (which is not exactly the same like “Greatest Hits”) from their two decades of band history.

I won’t review every single song here, but just point out some highlights:

The record kicks off with a nice, but not exactly surprising version of “Jealous Again”, which is great but pretty close to the acoustic b-side version they released a long time ago. Never the less it is perfect to start the journey. It is followed by a really groovy version of “Share The Ride”, which is my cell phone ring tone now and makes my smile every time I hear the first beats. More highlights on the first CD are a wonderful and long version of “Nonfiction” and the Siamese twins “Ballad In Urgency” and “Wiser Time” (thanks for not departing these two). And of course there is “Soul Singing” from "Lions". This song is for sure no big hit, but it reminds me like no other of the hour I spent in a hotel suite in Berlin interviewing Rich Robinson, when he explained me how he wrote this song and demonstrated the difference between composing on guitar and on piano by singing some lines of this song for me. Thanks again Rich – that is one of my favorite lifetime memories!

My personal highlights on the 2nd CD are a brand new and very cool version of “My Morning Song” and 9 minutes 35 seconds of “Thorn In My Pride”. I guess most people who love the Crowes will agree with me, when I say that this song cannot last long enough (I just say “Thorn’s Progress / Thorn In My Pride” live – SWEET!).

But my biggest surprise and joy is that extraordinary beautiful version of “Girl From A Pawnshop”. If there is any specialist for string instruments out there to help me, it’s very welcome, but what is that? A Mandolin banjo? That is at least my guess after doing some research, because I had to find out what sounds in my ears perfectly like a Dalmatian Mandolina! And then we have the violin, which made me immediately look for Gibonni’s Marko Ramljak (who is from Šibenik btw) in the credits. Of course it was not him, but the style is very similar. So that version of this wonderful ballade makes the two very different (thought so) parts of my musical soul clash together where I never expected it, but it is just awesome. I TOTALLY LOVE IT!

On a sad note:
The half acoustic / half electric Croweology Tour has no European leg so the power of music will blast for now only out of the stereo speakers:

If music got to free your mind
Just let it go cause you never know, you never know
If your rhythm ever falls out of time
You can bring it to me and I will make it alright
And if your soul is let go
Oh you never know, no you never know
And if your heart is beating free
For the very first time it'll be alright

My Morning Sony, Music & Lyrics by Chris and Rich Robinson

PS: If you, my dear reader, are US based – lucky you! Check out tour dates here:

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