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The Black Crowes - By Your Side Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 January 1999
American/Columbia Records
| Performance 5.5 | Sound 8 |

ImageIt has always been amazing that the Black Crowes aren't a bigger band than they are. On the surface they have seemingly all it takes, talented musicians, a lead singer with a distinct voice and a strong presence; yet, for seemingly no reason, they just kind of amble along. Well, we at The Audio Revolution think we have found the answer to this riddle. The Black Crowes need someone to write them better songs.

We are more than willing to admit that Chris Robinson has a unique and amazing voice; and, too, that the Black Crowes are one of the few bands left who attempt to consistently play actual Rock & Roll. However, as consistent as they are in what they try to do, they are just as inconsistent in how often they hit upon those unforgettable, captivating songs. "She Talks To Angels," and "Seeing Things" from 'Shake Your Money Maker,' even "Descending" from 'Amorica' are all distinct and classic. These songs and a few others others are all great, when you finally get them. Yet, for the most part, the Black Crowes seem to average only about two or three really strong songs an album; which hardly makes for a good batting average, let alone an album worth purchasing.

In 'By Your Side,' there is more example of basically the same Black Crowes the world has come to know and watch underachieve. Sonically, it's good, musically it's fine, and songs like "By Your Side" and "Welcome To The Goodtimes" provide that ever present false hope that everything will be O.K. in the end. Yet, as usual, it's not. If you're not a diehard Crowes fan, it would be wise to think long and hard before purchasing this album.

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