The problems began with a project tentatively titled “Tall”. This project was being produced by Chris Robinson, which his brother Rich objected to. And as brothers do, they got into a huge fight.
The reason for the fight was that Chris wanted to strip back the sound of the Black Crowes. More horns and percussion and less guitars. But his bro, Rich is the guitarist.
In the end, Rich won the argument and the result of this project are the re-recorded songs that Rich Robinson predominantly wrote, which made up the “Amorica” album. This pissed Chris off as his songs were ignored.
So it’s no surprise that during the “Amorica or Bust” Tour of 1995, the relationships within The Black Crowes soured even further, and the Robinson brothers basically hated each other.
But they made it through somehow.
And the band began planning their fourth album in 1995. “Three Snakes and One Charm” was eventually released in July 1996. Recorded in a house that they shared together, the album captures a relaxed band, ready to plug in and jam with friends.
The Black Crowes for this album are Chris Robinson on Vocals, Rich Robinson on Guitar, Marc Ford on Guitar, Johnny Colt on Bass, Steve Gorman on Drums and Eddie Harsch on Keyboards.
The Dirty Dozen horn group appears, along with banjo players, pedal steel players and various backing vocalists. Basically some of the stuff that Chris Robinson wanted to implement earlier was being brought in.
Under A Mountain
I like the exotic Zep vibe on this.
I disliked this song when I first heard it and when I covered The Black Crowes in The Record Vault post a while ago, I ignored it, but goddamn, time passes, moods change and suddenly the Country Soul Rock vibe of the song is hooking me in.
If the title doesn’t capture me, I’ve already formed a bias against the song. And while the song has a sludgy Blues groove with a little bit of a Beatles influence in the vocals, there isn’t enough meat to satisfy.
One Mirror Too Many
The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones and the psychedelic 60’s and 70’s are re-incarnated into this song.
Soul Rock was big around this time in Australia because of the movie “The Commitments” which came out in 1991.
Girl From A Pawnshop
It was my favourite track when I first heard the album and it still is today.
The whole country ballad rock vibe just connected with me and the vocal delivery from Chris Robinson is excellent.
Only Halfway To Everywhere
With the horns, guest vocalists and Chris Robinson bordering between BB King and Steven Tyler vocally, this song feels like a group of musos getting together and having a jam session, with a lot of booze flowing.
Bring On, Bring On
Like other songs on this album, it’s the Led Zep acoustic influence which shines through on this track that hooks me in.
How Much For Your Wings?
The reddest of lights shine on you, young man, let God be with you..
And the acoustic guitars start and there is something about the vocals when Chris Robinson sings, “how much for your wings?” that captures me.
Let Me Share The Ride
A blues groove, but the horns give it that soul rhythm and blues feel.
Better When You’re Not Alone
More acoustic guitars and then the band kicks in. And I feel like I’m driving on the open road out of my town, hopeful and excited.
It’s too psychedelic for me.
And they went on tour for this album, which took em towards the end of 1997. After this, the band got together and recorded another album with the working title of “Band”.
Which was also scrapped.
Guitarist Marc Ford was fired and bassist Johnny Colt subsequently left the group, dissolving the Crowes’ line-up of the previous three albums.
The unreleased tracks from the “Tall” and “Band” sessions surfaced among tape trading circles and were later officially released on the 2006 compilation “The Lost Crowes”.