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Published: 2006/10/24
by Randy Ray

The Lost Crowes – The Black Crowes

Rhino 74771

The Black Crowes have always posed a particularly problematic predicamentalliteration is fine but duplication ain’t so sublime. The Lost Crowes consists of two albums1993’s Tall and 1997’s Bandthat, for whatever reason, were shelved in place of Amorica and By Your Side, respectively. Although some of this material would appear on later albums, most of these tracks have never been heard, let alone released.

And that’s the upshot for this surprising (re?)release. At a time when the Robinson clan is once again enduring one of their infamous transformationsboth personally and professionallyit was a wise move for the group to once again, part II, recamp and decamp these lingering chestnuts from the trees gone bye of the Roarin’ 90s. Seetherein lies the notorious Ray rub. Derivative Camel Cig Rock falls into three categories: a) pile driving, get-yo-buzz-o-choice tunes, b) imitation as flattery and c) man, just plain Xerox-o-ramadidn’t-the-coke-era-Stones/Faces/Skynyrd/Mighty Blimp-play-this-groove?-Why-would-I-want-to-hear-it-again-from-the-likes-of-you?

Why, indeed. Let’s briefly discuss this issue by initially dumping the comparisons between the albums and the eras they were supposed to represent. If the Crowes want to ship this slab as one linear statement, then one will critique based upon that interesting yet appropriate decision. There isn’t a lick on these 26 bastard children that I haven’t heard elsewherelyrically or delivery-wise. It is absolutely impossible for me to hear these tracks without thinking of the Daze of Bong’s Past. Having said thatif one has never heard the gloriously over-exposed (for good reason) long and incestuous strands of classic rock with all of its dirty jeans and shitkicker boot-adled chemistry intermingled with the good bud and vibes and JD thenwell, coughthis is a damn fine way to initiate the lost stoner deep within the black T-shirt soul. Of particular note are the outrageously euphoric barnstorming versions of “Paint An 8,” “Another Roadside Tragedy,” “Peace Anyway,” “A Conspiracy,” “Never Forget This Song” and the sublime soul and country music of “Wiser Time,” “Descending,” and “My Heart’s Killing Me.”

Again, with the Crowes, there can sometimes be a dime bag of mixed blessings and echoed sentiments from the shores of Teenaged Wasteland Island, circa 1973 but all snide homage litany to the Golden Age of Columbian aside, the Crowe template is an occasional welcome sound within the heavy rock cosmos. Sodig these found nugs if you must, but don’t complain if this rich fondue tastes like last week’s Blue Plate Special.

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