Album review: The Black Crowes, By Your Side (1999)


By Steve Newton

It’s no wonder that, after two unfocused and relatively unpopular CDs, the Black Crowes would get back to the straightforward boogie that made them a sensation with their 1990 debut, Shake Your Money Maker.

But what is surprising is the vengeance with which the Atlanta quintet approaches its rejuvenation of the Faces-style barnburner. By Your Side’s first single, “Kickin’ My Heart Around”, is the rowdiest slice of slide-infested raunch to grace commercial radio since Aerosmith’s “Draw the Line”, so the brothers Robinson get a hearty thumbs up for that alone.

Produced, engineered, and mixed by Kevin Shirley—who recently helmed Blue Oyster Cult’s best album in years—the new disc slams the sprightly guitars of Rich Robinson and Eddie Harsch right in your face. Equally impressive is Chris Robinson—his early-’70s Rod-the-Mod stylings have never been more swaggeringly effective.

After the tedious ramblings of the Black Crowes’ previous CD, Three Snakes and One Charm, the exhilarating buzz of By Your Side is like a breath of fresh air—or a smash upside the head with a cranked Les Paul.

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