Who remembers Chris Robinson? Lead singer of the immensely cool and bluesy The Black Crowes. One of THE finest rock vocalists of the last 20 years? Yep. That’s him.
I Ain’t Hiding was a Black Crowes song. It appeared on After The Frost and was a bit of a highlight of their latter day output. Well, Chris has just put out another live jam record with his new band and they’ve given I Ain’t Hiding some serious treatment. It’s now a chopped up, elongated epic of seven minutes standing. And it’s fascinating.
The song always had a disco vibe to it in the Crowes hands. As it was a song about chopping out fat lines of coke that made a lot of sense. It was very Studio 54.
This version starts with something close to Supermarket muzak for the first 30 seconds. There’s a groovy bass line behind it hinting that it’s worth sticking around. And it sure is. By the minute mark we have some full on Grateful Dead style groove jamming and you know this is the song you’ve heard before, but it’s been hot rodded and covered in shiny new features.
Then (in a surprising turn of events) an injured walrus struggles up to the mic and honks something between a mating call and a confused wail.
“Day Doh Day Dad Dah Day Har Day Dooo” goes the wounded beast. That’s when it becomes clear. Chris Robinson has been put under a Disney Witch’s curse. He’s in there, you can hear him, but the evil witch has somehow tricked him. His magnificent blues and soul singing voice. The one which talked to Angels and lamented the Thorn In My Pride is hidden under the scion scream of a huge water dwelling mammal.
I’ll say this to that Disney Witch. “Oi, hooknose. You didn’t take into account how great a band Chris would pull together”. If these are his animated companions he’s got the right collection of quick witted sidekicks and talking candlesticks to go on the road and stay on the road with.
While Robinson may be cursed to remain a magical beast in a nice jacket and rosary beads on a tour bus, daily howling at the night sky until he makes up with his Brother and gets The Black Crowes back together. That doesn’t mean he’s unable in making some really knock out rock and roll music.
This rich layered luxury record tells the tale of this amazing live band loud and clear. The version of I Ain’t Hiding on Betty Blends, Vol 3: Self-Rising, Southern Blends is a thing of wonder. May the curse never be broken.