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article imageReview: The Black Crowes are to re-release their first four albums

By Adrian Peel     Dec 3, 2015 in Music
Georgia's finest, who called it quits earlier this year after a quarter of a century together, are about to remind us their fans of what we're going to miss - on 180-gram vinyl, no less.
The Black Crowes upset a lot of people - me included - when they announced their separation earlier this year after a quarter of a century as America's most "rock 'n' roll" rock 'n' roll band.
Now, as alluded to above, Rick Rubin's label, American Recordings, is re-releasing the Crowes' first four albums on vinyl. They are 1990's explosive debut Shake Your Money Maker, its follow-up The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion from 1992, 1994's Amorica and 1996's Three Snakes and One Charm.
Shake Your Money Maker will come out as a single disc, while all the others will be issued as two-LP sets with the sound taken directly from the masters.
The first song on the first album, "Twice As Hard," remains an awe-inspiring track, offering the perfect introduction to what The Black Crowes - at that time consisting of Chris and Rich Robinson, on vocals and guitar respectively, second guitarist Jeff Cease, bassist Johnny Colt and long-serving drummer Steve Gorman - were all about.
"Jealous Again" more than succeeds in keeping the momentum going, before "Sister Luck" beautifully slows things down. Other highlights on this stunning debut are "Seeing Things," with its glorious Hammond organ, the singles "Hard to Handle" and "She Talks to Angels" and the Skynyrd-esque "Thick 'n' Thin."
If you thought Shake Your Money Maker was good, then album number two is even better. Launched in May 1992, this 10-track masterpiece introduced audiences to the band's new guitarist, Marc Ford, and their new keyboard player, Eddie Harsch.
I would have to say my favourites on this breathtaking example of what, for me, rock music should sound like - never mind all that depressing navel-gazing that Alternative Rock bands tend to do - are "Sting Me," "Remedy," "Thorn in My Pride," "Sometimes Salvation," "No Speak No Slave" and "My Morning Song."
Amorica, with its infamous cover, is not quite as good as the previous two albums, but it still has its moments, chief among them "A Conspiracy," "Cursed Diamond," "Wiser Time" and the piano-heavy "Descending."
The weakest of the four records is undoubtedly the experimental Three Snakes and One Charm, something of a departure from what had gone before. Standout tunes on what is a disappointing effort overall are "Good Friday," "Blackberry," "Let Me Share the Ride" and the bonus track "Just Say You're Sorry" (the other bonus track included here is a solid cover of Bob Marley's "Pimper's Paradise").
Even though the fourth LP in this collection doesn't quite hit the exultant heights of the other three, for those who love vinyl and for fans of good old rock 'n' roll music that doesn't hold back, this is well worth a punt, as they say.
The first four Black Crowes albums, the ones they originally released on American Recordings, will be available to purchase from December 18.
For more information on one of America's greatest ever rock bands, visit their official website.
More about The Black Crowes, shake your money maker, the southern harmony and musical companion, amorica, three snakes and one charm
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