Sunday, October 9, 2011

By Your Side

Between Shake Your Money Maker and Three Snakes and One Charm, the Black Crowes evolved from a muscular, Stonesy hard rock outfit to full-fledged modern-day Southern rockers, drawing from a wealth of blues, country, folk, and rock styles to create a sprawling, fluid sound that was simultaneously traditional and distinctive. The problem was, their loose-limbed grooves tended to connect better in concert than on record. Aware of the situation, the Crowes went back to their roots with By Your Side. It's a back-to-basics set performed with all of the knowledge they have gained over the years, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable record, their most satisfying and accessible effort since Southern Harmony. Not that it's necessarily in that league -- it lacks the parade of great songs that elevate that album above all their others.

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