Album review: The Black Crowes, The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion (1992)



By Steve Newton

Few rock ’n’ roll bands have managed to cause as big a stir with their debut album as the Black Crowes did with Shake Your Moneymaker in 1990. It took a while to “work” the album, as record reps say, but once commercial radio started to play “Jealous Again” and “She Walks with Angels”, the masses glommed on to the Atlanta quintet’s southern-fried melding of the Stones and (especially) the Faces.

Originality wasn’t the band’s forte, but the time was right for a straight-up boogie ’n’ blues outfit to hit the airwaves. (Recall how the London Choirboys—who owe even more to the Faces’ raggedy style—hit it big with their own debut about the same time.)

I liked Shake Your Moneymaker as soon as I heard it, but I’m finding The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion a tougher disc to swallow. The first single, “Remedy”, just doesn’t get me hopping the way “Jealous” did, and the heavy, mid-tempo blues of “No Speck No Slave” and “My Morning Song” sounds a little too close to uninspired Zeppelin for my liking.

Still, even with their retro-rock characteristics, I’ll stand by the Crowes as long as they keep delivering gutsy, flat-out rockers like “Sting Me” and “Hotel Illness”.

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