Album review: The Black Crowes, Amorica (1994)


By Steve Newton

You know there are too many crows in the backyard when premier music-trade mag Billboard, in its October 15 issue, runs a promo shot of the Black Crowes and mistakenly calls it a picture of Counting Crows. Although both bands are similar in that they rely heavily on retro musical stylings, they are certainly crows of a different colour. One is a genuine outfit that has managed to mould its rootsy R&B-ish influences into a sound of its own, and the other is a flash-in-the-pan Van Morrison rip-off.

Guess which one’s gonna last.

With their third release, Amorica, the Black Crowes give the impression that they’ll be around for years to come—or at least as long as guitar-drenched, blues-heavy tunes sung with real passion are popular. Gone is the Faces-style boogie that typified the band’s 1990 debut, Shake Your Moneymaker; milder arrangements with more thoughtful instrumentation help the band branch out.

That could be a mark against the Crowes for fans of their more basic, riff-driven early tunes, but the conviction evident in the band’s southern-flavoured roots stylings is hard to knock.

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