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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Black Crowes

Warpaint Live

Review by Gary Hill

You really can’t argue with The Black Crowes retro sounding, bluesy blend of hard rock and jam band sounds. This is just plain killer music. Live performance is certainly where the group really shine and this new album showcases them in that venue. I’d say it’s not as strong as the earlier one I reviewed at MSJ, Freak ‘N’ Roll...Into the Fog…, but it’s still pretty darned good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution
They kick straight in with a hard rocker that’s got a definite Stones vibe to it.
Walk Believer Walk
This is a lot bluesier and grittier than the opener. It’s slower and more of a real groove.
Oh, Josephine
A bit like the Crowes meet The Band, this has more of a country texture to it. It’s a lot less crunchy than the previous pieces – and yet still has some of that edge.
Evergreen
The organ sound on this is especially noteworthy and it’s another killer Crowes hard rocker. I can hear plenty of the Allman Brothers on this jam. 
Wee Who See the Deep
This slow bluesy rocker has a bit of a Zeppelin feel. It also has a cool piano solo. There’s also an extremely tasty guitar solo section that again makes me think of the Allman Brothers. 
Locust Street
There’s more of a soulful R&B type groove to this jam. It’s another killer tune that’s quite bluesy. 
Movin' on Down the Line
The opening movement on this is more like a proggy psychedelia. As they build up it takes on a more standard Black Crowes texture, but those sounds remain. As it continues that classic Crowes sound does dominate more and more of the track. 
Wounded Bird
Here’s another soulful groove. This has some killer slide guitar and a very classic rock oriented chorus. It’s one of the catchiest cuts here. 
God's Got It
This old school gospel type tune really stomps as delivered Black Crowes style. 
There's Gold in Them Hills
Here’s a slow, bluesy, balladic cut. The keyboards and guitar both work together nicely to weave this musical tale. There’s a bit of The Grateful Dead on this one. I love the empowering theme of “There’s gold in them hills if you make it.”
Whoa Mule
Starting acapella the drums rise up from there and then they take us out with some keys added to the mix. As it continues to build this becomes one of the more purely melodic and evocative cuts on show. There are moments that remind me of the Allman Brothers here. Overall it’s just a very strong (if less rocking) number from the Black Crowes. It’s one of my favorites of the set. 
Disc 2
Poor Elijah: Tribute to Johnson (Medley)
This starts off acoustically in a gospel sort of motif. It builds up into a serious rocking number as they carry on. This smoker is without question one of the highlights on the set. It’s got some killer instrumental work and great vocal harmonies and a lot of soul. 
Darling of the Underground Press
The bluesy slide guitar sound on this reminds me of Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” quite a bit. This is a killer jam that is trademark Black Crowes in many ways. 
Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye
They don’t reinvent anything here, but this killer retro rocker really rocks out quite well. 
Don't Know Why
Here’s a soulful, bluesy R&B tinged Black Crowes rocker.
Torn and Frayed
This cut really feels very much like the bluesy, countrified side of the Rolling Stones.
Hey Grandma
They bring it back into the hard rocking range with this killer tune. It’s got a lot of energy and power and is very much classic Black Crowes.
 
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