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The Record Vault: The Black Crowes – Amorica

The band is unchanged. Chris Robinson is on vocals and harmonica, Rich Robinson and Marc Ford are on guitar, Johnny Colt is on bass guitar, Steve Gorman is on drums and Eddie Harsch is on keyboards.

Released in 1994, “Amorica” took a while to come to fruition. It wasn’t a hazy 8 day recording session like “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion”.

You see, in 1993, the band worked on an album called “Tall”. But the recordings got scrapped because Chris and Rich Robinson didn’t see eye to eye during the sessions. Rich felt that Chris alienated him from the rest of the band. Chris reckons that Rich was upset because he was leading the sessions and was rejecting his riffs and ideas.

Well, Rich ended up winning the argument and the “Amorica” album is the result of moving forward with the ideas of Rich and not Chris.

And man, the cover caused a stir in even in the more progressive 90’s.

Who would have thought that a picture which was deemed offensive in 1976 when it appeared on a cover of Hustler was still seen as offensive almost 20 years later?

Well in Australia, we didn’t really see anything wrong with it so we got the cover as intended, while the U.S got two covers.

Gone

It sounds like they had a few drinks, wrote some riffs and then jammed em. It’s complicated blues, as there is so much going on but it didn’t set my world on fire.

A Conspiracy

They tried to recreate the groove and infectious melody of “Remedy” with this. While they didn’t get close, they still got a very rocking song out of it.

High Head Blues

A sleazy soul blues rock riff starts it off. It’s almost funky and I like it. One of the best songs on the album.

Cursed Diamond

A piano like slow rhythm and blues tune, very Rolling Stones like and the solo section gets all aggressive and swampy.

Nonfiction

An acoustic track with a vocal that sounds like 70’s Rod Stewart. But it’s a skip for me.

She Gave Good Sunflower

Chris is asking a babe to do him and the track could be interchanged with any song from the previous albums.

Press play to hear some nice wah wah soloing from Marc Ford over a thundering Johnny Colt bass riff. And stick around to hear the outro soloing as well.

P. 25 London

A throwaway track.

Ballad in Urgency

Another ballad, with some unique blues/jazz like chords, nicely phrased guitar fills and Johnny Colt’s bass thundering in the background.

The song then fades into a piano section along with Mr Colt’s bass.

Wiser Time

Steve Gorman brings it here, showcasing that even though the Robinson brothers write the songs, the performances of the band members are just as important. This one is also a favourite.

Rich Robinson plays some tasty slide and he also duets on lead vocals.

And each section has so much variation. The verses are based on a three chord “Sweet Home Alabama” like chord progression. The Chorus is classic blues rock.

But.

It’s the later sections which takes the track and makes it a signature song.

It’s not for the crossover fans who just liked “Remedy” and nothing else.

This is for the hard core fans. It starts off with a swampy Delta bluesy acoustic slide solo, which is followed by an electric piano solo, very Doors like.

This then gives way to an electric guitar solo, very B.B. King like with a bit more grit and it all crashes in to a Lynyrd Skynyrd soaring lead, full of harmonized guitars.

After five minutes and thirty seconds, the only thing you can do is press repeat.

Downtown Money Waster

Old time blues with a ragtime piano and acoustic slide guitar.

Descending

Another favourite and another five plus minute ballad-esque song, which starts off with a piano riff. And when the band kicks in, it gets the head moving and the foot tapping. If it doesn’t, feel for a pulse.

Chris Robinson is on fire vocally and Mr Colt’s bass is thumping throughout, synced up to the bass drum of Gorman’s.

The track closes with a ramped up piano solo over another thundering bass riff from Mr Colt.

The album did good business in Australia again, charting at 11 which they also replicated in the U.S and a Gold Certification.

But it took the record buying public by surprise because it didn’t really have that “accessible” song that people could latch on to. The debut album had “Hard To Handle” and the follow up had “Remedy”. But this one had some deep cuts and some fan favourites.

Crank it.

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