Release Date: Aug 3, 2010
Record label: Silver Arrow Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, American Trad Rock, Hard Rock, Rock & Roll
Out to pasture The “acoustic re-recordings of greatest hits” album has seemingly replaced the 78-minute remix CD as the most transparent cash-in concept available to artists working today. But the Black Crowes have a meaningful anniversary coming up (their 20th as a band) and an impending indefinite hiatus, so why not? A happy-trails present to fans and entry point into a farewell tour, Croweology isn’t remotely practical, but it is fun, a loose revisiting of Crowes songs resculpted in a good-natured, gather-round-the-campfire style. These old horses sound glad to be let out again (especially “Jealous Again,” a fizzy “Let Me Share the Ride” and the gospel rave-up “My Morning Song”), and age, smoke inhalation and a high-profile breakup have given Chris Robinson’s voice a sadder, more expressive rasp.
Croweology, a two-CD acoustic repackaging of The Black Crowes’ most popular tunes seems unnecessary. Fans could pretty much raise a family in the time it takes to hear the existing versions of ”Remedy” — a track not well served by the unplugged treatment anyway. The band does much better reexamining more-obscure parts of its catalog. B Download These:Plaintive Ballad in Urgency at amazon.comFolky Under a Mountain at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Commemorating 20 years since the release of Shake Your Money Maker, their multi-platinum debut album, the Black Crowes have taken 20 of their favorite songs and re-recorded them acoustically. At first thought the idea behind Croweology may seem like an old band trying to recapture a bit of the spotlight. And, it’s hard not to recognize the humor in the fact that a band that borrows so much of their inspiration from the Rolling Stones is putting out an anniversary album the same year the Stones re-released Exile on Main Street.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the Black Crowes decided to revisit several of their staples from the past two decades, giving them acoustic rearrangements. While some of the songs are revised heavily, some are merely given strength by the new setting, not so much because the songs sound better stripped down to bare bones, but because the Crowes are still riding the wave that started with their 2008 comeback Warpaint, retaining the rustic, ragged live vibe of Before the Frost/Until the Freeze. This is the opposite of that live-in-the-studio record, where the band laid down new songs on tape preserving their freshness; instead, this is the sound of seasoned veterans still finding new ways to play old favorites.
A veritable trove of delights for fans of the multi-million-selling veteran rockers. Ben Patashnik 2010 It’s an interesting quirk that, having been around for two decades, The Black Crowes can now be considered as ‘classic’ or ‘veteran’ in much the same way as the bands they made their name touring in support of. And credit where credit’s due: instead of farming out a standard Greatest Hits – remember, we live in a world where InMe are releasing such a compilation and, what’s worse, having the gall to do it with a straight face – they’re presenting a collection of largely acoustic takes on songs from the length and breadth of their catalogue.
Relaunching the Black Crowes brand with 2008 tomahawk Warpaint and the mature winter blues of follow-up Before the Frost/Until the Freeze here earns the Robinson boys a victory lap. Double-disc mini gatefold and pop-up card self-songbook, Croweology opens atop a stripped but thick take of "Jealous Again," in which accentuating piano and feminine harmonies match the rumble at which acoustic and electric guitars treble the same frequency as percussion. A hand-clap drive shaft on "Share the Ride" also cruises on unleaded.