Part 262: By Your Side

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.

32 comments

        1. I met the Sheepdogs. Very nice guys. I wore a Beatles shirt with the beards, and the singer Ewen told me, “I love your shirt, I love that whole period of the Beatles.” I said that’s why I wore the shirt — I knew by their beards that they would love it.

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        2. It may be sacrilegious to suggest not all Beatles albums are essential but for the most part, I’d say the red 62-66 compilation summarizes the early years pretty well. Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles, and Abbey Road are all non-negotiables though!

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        3. I pretty much agree with that. I have the two compilations as well, because hey, they are their own listening experience. A lot of the time I’ll bring the Red and Blue albums with me, rather than a studio album. That way my wife and I are both happy — she prefers the Red to the Blue.

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  1. I have Before the Frost…it didn’t catch on with me…actually, I have had a hard time pulling away from Amorica, ’cause as you know, it’s one of my all-time faves…I do have a copy of Frost…maybe put it on the iPod and let the shuffle force me to listen to it.

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  2. Wow that Statham guy seems like a pretty nice Dude. And I’m only partially saying that because that figure depicting him is very, very heavily armed so let’s not make any sudden movements…

    That single was cool. Must’ve just been sharing the enthusiasm. Glad you liked! As for those who disliked that record, I understand. I go through love and hate with it, myself. But live? I saw them twice on that tour and those songs absolutely killed live. Especially Horsehead. Daaaaaamn.

    And what did Statham want in return? Knowing him, it’s likely a long-con, ingratiating himself to you in order to get into your will for a big cut of all those sweet, sweet millions of dollars of yours…

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    1. Well that live vid of Kickin’ My Heart Around is awesome…better than the album version if you asked me.

      Statham was a very nice guy, but fearsome. I think he could probably melt butter just by staring at it.

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      1. Crowes live, back then, were pretty hard to top. There’s an urgency to their playing, and the earlier in their career you get the better.

        I’ve seen Statham punch a dent into a steel lamppost. He was only trying to lean on it…

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      1. Oh, he’s a great drummer. Dammit, I should have put him on my list of drummers. See how it gets endless…

        Also, his drumming on the live EP version of Remedy in the Sho Nuff box set… so perfect… shambling yet in control, and all over the freaking place, seemingly hitting every drum and cymbal in sight and yet it swings, and all hangs together perfectly. Listen to the breakdown section (at 3:40). Oh yes.

        And live? Great drummer. Of course, I watched him more than I watched Chris out front. Very in control, and straight-faced-like Charlie the whole time. Yup, shoulda been on my list.

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        1. Yeah he’s great. I won’t say he’s as important to the Crowes as Chris and Rich but he’s certainly a big part of their trademark sound. I don’t think they’ve ever done an album without him.

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    2. Oh and lastly, about being heavily armed. That Snake-Eyes fig is one of the best GI Joe purchases I made. I think I counted 21 or 22 accessories when I opened him up. He is loaded to the tits. I still get a lot of pleasure out of posing figures in menacing positions, and Snake-Eyes is a LOT of fun. I daresay he may be the only Snake-Eyes fig you’ll ever need.

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      1. He’s cool. Must be a later one. I have a Snake-Eyes from back in the 80s, in a shoe box somewhere. He didn’t come with near that much crap.

        Speaking of, still need to get you up here with your book to sort all that stuff out. :)

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  3. By Your Side is, in my book, easily their most superior work ever. Totally love that album. I thought Money Maker was a good one and half of Southern Musical Harmony Whatsitcalled was also really good. But 3 Snakes and Amorica were pretty bad. And I Lions disappointed me lots. It’s safe to say that I was never a Black Crowes fan, really, so what do I know?

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    1. Well Jon, as you know we always have to agree on everything, so I just can’t accept that ;)

      No it’s all good — all a matter of taste. Amorica was a life-changer for me. It took months for me to like it, but it’s a part of me now.

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  4. This was and is a deadly album…it cooks man from start to finish easily there best along with the debut and the followup. I remember being a little confused when Amorica came out and tripped out on the Conspiracy video….but than well Southern Harmony was different than Money Maker so by Amorica after a few listens I realized that no 2 Crowes albums were gonna sound alike..in other words they were gonna do what they wanna do even if means a commercial flop….gotta give em props for that esp in the era of the 90s when alternative ruled the airwaves….
    By Your Side is awesome….Lions was I found half killer..half filler……and once again they changed gears…..

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    1. I’d like to revisit Lions, I haven’t played it in years. I remember it having some songs I loved and some I really didn’t like.

      But you’re right that no 2 Crowes albums are the same…Warhorse is as different to Lions as it is to Before the Frost.

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