Back in the day I brought the debut Black Crowes album in a soho vinyl shack for five of your English pounds. I saw The Crowes four times touring the debut album. An avid fan. The Town And Country Club show was really something, Ronnie Scotts, Hammersmith Odeon and Castle Donington all feel like a life time ago. It was 30 years ago. Oh shit. Years later some time around the millennium I splurged for the CD box set Sho’ ‘Nuff because it had all the B-Sides and stuff on CD. I had mistakenly thought I had all the extra early stuff there was. Deep vaults had been plundered. In this age of Goats Head Soup reissues and four disc editions of everything over a decade old I didn’t expect there to be a reissue of the immaculate Shake Your Money Maker that could offer me a whole new studio song form the era.
That stomp and guitar squeal is unmistakable. There is no doubt this is vintage Crowes. You know it before Brother Chris makes a peep. However, very quickly into proceedings he pipes up. Young and lively in his voice you can age it like wine. At this stage he’s still half piss and vinegar but very much the bandy legged Jagger clapping soul man we all fell in love with. Every “Yeah Baby” has The Black Crowes patented ’68 to ’76 via the early 90’s vibe.
Singing and rhyming his couplets what a charming little mess this outtake is. Elongating the “Bleeeeding” and the “Siiiinging” He reaches for those preacher man notes. The production is a little thin compared to the grooves of that classic debut album and there are buckets of honk tonked all over the shop on the pub piano. Perhaps that’s what kept it off the original LP. Thick And Thin would’ve trampled Charming Mess back in the day. Now we’ll take it hungrily.
I’m so happy to have it in an age where real rock and roll the likes of The Black Crowes debut album is often derailed by caricature, showbiz or spin. A 1990 cast off will do very nicely in 2021, thanks very much. Got any more?
Charming mess could not be a better title.