A sequel to Part 260: Sho’ Nuff – The Return of STATHAM
RECORD STORE TALES Part 262: By Your Side
1999 was shaping up to be an exciting year. The Black Crowes’ most recent disc, Three Snakes & One Charm, wasn’t bad but it didn’t excite me. Rolling Stone magazine made negative comments about Chris Robinson’s beard as if the beard wrote the songs. The rumour mill was going full speed, that the Crowes had returned to their “earlier” sound. The new album, By Your Side, would be more like Shake Your Money Maker, and less like a bunch of bearded hippies jamming after a toke. I know today the Crowes had recorded an album called Band (now available as CD 2 of The Lost Crowes), but it was rejected by American Recordings who wanted the band to make a basic rock n’ roll album, so they shaved off their beards and that’s what they did.
OK, sure, whatever – I was on board. I don’t mind some changes to shake things up. I don’t necessarily always endorse a full-on “return” to a sound, because you can’t really duplicate a specific era. But this was the Crowes, a band who injected integrity into everything they’d done so far.
The first single released, “Kickin’ My Heart Around” was a frickin’ steamroller of a rock song. It was released in November 1998, about two months before By Your Side was to come out. It created a real buzz. I was hearing excitement in the store from a lot of Crowes fans. Naturally, the new Crowes album would be a subject for Statham and I to discuss, and discuss it we did. Statham knew then that I collected Crowes B-sides, and “Kickin’ My Heart Around” had two that weren’t going to be on the album.
I’m not too sure about Chris’ Prince Valiant haircut
In late December, Statham strolled into my store with a surprise. He had picked up for me my own copy of “Kickin’ My Heart Around” since I had been unable to locate one! Best of all, it was a Christmas gift – the first gift that I was given by a customer at the record store that I can recall. I was quite blown away. I didn’t ask Statham to get the CD for me, and I certainly didn’t expect a gift from a customer! But then again, as he has said in the past, he believes in treating his record store guys right. That’s something I’ll never forget.
The two B-sides “It Must Be Over” and “You Don’t Have To Go” were both quality tunes on top of it all. I was thrilled. I brought the CD home and showed it to my dad.
“Get this, dad!” I began. “One of my customers bought me this CD that I have been looking for! It’s an early Christmas present! Cool, huh?”
My dad, being the “negative Nancy” that he can be sometimes said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to accept gifts from customers. What does he expect in return?”
“I don’t think he expects anything in return, dad. It was just a thoughtful gift. He’s a nice guy.”
“Well just be careful,” my dad cautioned. “In my experience nothing’s free!”
I’m glad to say in this case, my dad was wrong. Statham had no secret agenda, beyond friendship, and we’re still friends 15 years after that. If anything we’ve taken gifting music to each other to an extreme that we both enjoy. The mutual benefits have been incalculable! Thank you Statham for this CD, which I still treasure today.