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Black Crowes - By Your Side
by Jeremy A.


Artist: The Black Crowes
Album: By Your Side
Record Label: Columbia
 

The Black Crowes' new CD By Your Side is a return to the stripped-down, back to basics rock songwriting that made them so popular nearly a decade ago. This album doesn't break new ground musically like their other follow-ups to the wildly successful Shake Your Moneymaker did, but it doesn't try to. The result is a brighter, more enjoyable disc. There have been a couple of personnel changes this time around, but everything that makes the Crowes' music so charismatic to listen to is as present as ever. They still blend rock with soul and R&B in a superb fashion.

There really isn't a weak track on this album, but unfortunately, few of the tracks really blow me away. It starts with the up-tempo "Go Faster" 
and leads into their first single, "Kickin' My Heart Around." This song is decent, but it doesn't have much appeal for a single. It just sounds a little bland, as is the next song, the title cut "By Your Side." In fact, the CD doesn't really pick up into anything exceptional until "Heavy," the sixth cut of the album. After "Heavy" is the unique "Welcome to the Goodtimes," which has an unusual mix of Christmas sleigh-bell percussion and marching band-like horns. It's a very cool track, as is the next song, "Go Tell the Congregation." You can sense the James Brown soul influence here. After "Congregation" is "Diamond Ring," my favorite cut on the album. It's sounds a little like an Al Green tune, or maybe like an old Prince song. By Your Side concludes with the Zeppelin inspired "Virtue And Vice," another personal favorite and a sure-to-be-classic Black Crowes song.

The Black Crowes are a great band, but they still can't seem to live up to their potential. Or maybe people are just expecting too much out of them. By Your Side is a good disc, and if you like the Crowes, picking up this new album is a no-brainer. Although it isn't as impressive as their first two or three discs, it's still a solid collection of songs that is fun and uplifting to listen to. 

Jeremy
 


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