REVIEW: The Black Crowes – iTunes Originals (2008)

crowes-itunes-originalsTHE BLACK CROWES – iTunes Originals (2008)

If you ever spy these iTunes Originals sets from bands you like, then have a gander at the track list.  The Black Crowes’ edition contains original hits, but also has unreleased exclusive versions.  There is also a long interview session (spread through the set) with Chris and Rich Robinson, a good and revealing chat.  In total the set runs over an hour and a half.  Chris and Rich are vivid storytellers and the interviews are good enough to want to listen to more than once.  They surprisingly reveal that punk was a strong early influence.  Rich recalls seeing Corrosion of Conformity which opened up a new world for the brothers Robinson.  The punk shows gave the band a “try anything” attitude in concert, including playing brand new songs that they didn’t have words for yet.  But their influences also stretched deep into indi rock, folk, jazz and beyond.

“Twice As Hard” from the debut album is the first hit song presented, and damn if it isn’t still as fine as the day it dropped in 1990.  That simple classic British blues rock sound gave the Crowes the springboard they needed to drive them on to greater achievements.  It was different for the time.  Yet the ballad “She Talks to Angels” was really special and that’s here too.  With the interviews in between explaining the journey, iTunes Originals plays like an audio documentary.  The story and the music get more interesting as you go.  Each album brings something new to the table.  By Your Side was a “strange place”, says Chris, but its title track still rouses the senses.

It’s a light sprinkling of hits and album cuts moving forward through the discography of the Crowes. The main thing for long time fans is the exclusive material, all acoustic versions recorded by Rich and Chris. The Otis Redding cover “You Don’t Miss Your Water” is a song they’ve been singing together for years, but never recorded until now. What a lovely song, and what harmonies.  From Three Snakes and One Charm, “Good Friday” is rendered slower and sadder.  The stripped down approach of these acoustic recordings lends “Welcome to the Good Times” from By Your Side a new appeal.

The Crowes split up for a bit in the early 2000s, but you can’t keep the Robinson brothers apart for too long.  War Paint (2008) was their reunion as the Crowes.  With new and returning members, the band felt revitalized.  “Oh Josephine”, another acoustic exclusive, is as pretty as “She Talks to Angels” 18 years earlier.  The last of the exclusives is “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution” which also closes the set.  Upbeat gospel rock and roll works as well electric as it does acoustic.  “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution” was one of the finer moments on War Paint and it’s perfect for ending this iTunes Originals.

4/5 stars

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26 comments

  1. Wowzers! Cue Ozzy like voice at the beginning of the song Black Sabbath….
    “What is this Blog about that is posted Before MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
    Hahaha…have no idea where that came from!
    iTunes on Ladano.com?? WTF The Apocalypse is coming before Us Mikey! Cool Post! Speaking of iTunes i just downloaded the demos for Choice OF Weapon called Weapons OF Choice…did u not review it?
    Yeah i troll iTunes to find stuff as sometimes they yank stuff like Live Vengeance. At one point they had posted by The Cult the live audio from there 2001 DVD and stuff and than gone….
    But they do have that great 91 Crowes Radio Broadcast ..last show they did with Cease….that is a great friggin show…..
    Cool read dude!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. HAHAHAHA great comment Deke! Maybe change the lyrics to “What is this…that blogs before me?”

      I also have the iTunes Originals set for Goo Goo Dolls! I’ll tale a look at that in the future. But you’ll notice, I made this into a CD! I insist on doing that….

      So much stuff on iTunes waiting to be discovered. I should download it again.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s one way to “get my way” and make it a physical CD! I also like to burn the bonus tracks onto a “bonus CD” and stick it in a 2 CD case. You’ll actually see that really soon on my Helix Rockin’ In My Outer Space review! There was a live version of Rock You from that tour that you can only buy on iTunes! So obviously I was going to buy it!

          Like

        1. That was back when Chris used to do what Aaron and I call his “preachin'” between songs!

          “The Black Crowes!…are here to rock you tonight people…”

          Or whatever!

          Like

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