The Black Crowes/Shake Your Money Maker(1990)

 

HEY FOLK’S… This week it’s a couple of Black Crowes reviews that are on tap and Mikey Ladano is onboard as well with a couple of reviews of the same album over at his site. In other words it’s “DOUBLEHEADER TIME”.. Click the link below/pour yourself a beverage of your choice and enjoy some fine reading…

REVIEW: The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker (remastered)

You know Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell  who played the   Ivories on Shake Your Money Maker must have told his bosses Mick & Keef about the Black Crowes. Wonder if the Glimmer Twins heard this album before it hit the streets for mass consumption back in January 1990?

If so I betcha Keef lost his shit when he heard that opening riff of Stare It Cold as Crowes guitarists Rich Robinson and Jeff Cease sound like a jacked up version of Richards/Wood? That opening riff has so much muscle…Ok I’m getting way ahead here ….

So It was the release of this album I came across in one of my weekly jaunts to the record store(Jan/90) and came across SYMM on CD in the new release bin.

It easily caught my attention as these 5 dudes on the cover looked rock and well it was a no brainer and I got money in my pocket burnin a hole so there ya go! (wish I could say that now!) I think I may have seen a bit of promotion in the magazines about this disc but it was little…Boy would that change in a few months!

My first impression on listening to Money Maker was how Stonesy like it was. I read later in reviews as well that it had an element of The Faces but I can’t really comment as I’m not a Faces fan…so we go with the Stones vibe but with a more amped up sound!

George Drakoulias captures the sound of the Crowes brilliantly on the debut and funny thing was when this album took off Rick Rubins name was added as co producer as Rubin owned the label but had really nothing to do with the production of this album which irked singer Chris Robinson.  Actually you have to hand it to Chris as once this album started moving units The Crowes were invited to open for ZZ Top but once Chris started saying that it sucked that some bands needed corporate sponsorship  to promote a tour( ZZ was sponsored by Miller Beer for their 1990-91 Tour. I can back Chris up as when I caught this tour the ZZ shirt underneath the Tour dates on the back had Miller as a sponsor. Kinda irked me but hey I’m the ding-dong who bought the T in the first place!) The Crowes were punted off the ZZ tour. ZZ canned em in Atlanta (Crowes turf)

Twice As Hard opens the album and from the outset you know this badboy is gonna be jammed with bunch of Riffs and a ton of Rolls! Cease and Rich drive forward with there playing and drummer Steve Gorman keeps the Crowes movin along. Chris has a bit of a southern rasp in his voice which is quite frankly Awesome. Real good put together straight ahead opening tune!

Wow man did this song take off eh? Jealous Again is track 2 and once again it’s a riff that starts the track. This is the tune I betcha Keef would say he wish he had written! The guitars play almost in a chill like vibe and ramp up with that Stonesy vibe during the chorus!

Sister Luck. Plain and simple another real slick like track. Jeff and Rich inner channel once again Keef/Ronnie and this song just drifts along and Chris sings it perfectly. Awesome Chorus!

Could I Have Been So Blind kicks the doors off its hinges with a super-duper coolness and its the Crowes taking the party and moving on.

Seeing Things is a great track! Seeing things for the first time! It may take a while as Chris lyrics say but it will be more evident as time passes on! Gorman keeps the train a moving so this track doesn’t dip into Sapville! JellyFish!

Gorman lays down the groove and were off with Hard To Handle (Otis Redding Cover) and this song was everywhere in the Summer of 91. Great beat played but the fella’s and I like that little snippet of when the tempo picks up right before the verse! Pretty cool Crowes on the road video that was shot of the Crowes to plug this tune!

Got a chainsaw buzzin’/Who’s that cussin’? and this is the opening line to the fantastic Thick N Thin! Clocking in at 2 minutes 44 seconds and it’s the Crowes rolling  up with plenty of riffs n spiffs and along with Colts bass line and Steve driving the drums this track is a scorcher. Cease and Rich’s guitars are fired  up on this album.

She Talks To Angels features the acoustic guitars that are in the forefront and its the Crowes spreading there wings and the track must be about a long-lost friend who succumbed to addictions. This track was a big single as well.

Struttin Blues another straight ahead rocker that features a nice Hammond Organ rocking along with the boys. 4 on the Floor stomper of a track!

Remember about what I had written in the first paragraph of this review about being jacked up with a cool riff that Keef and Ronnie would and wish they could devour? This is indeed time for Stare It Cold. Big and I mean Big riffs along with Gorman snare drum that sounds like a shot being fired along with the big Bass drum propel this tune into utter coolness! This is one of the Crowes finest tracks I have ever heard! Love the Verses/Chorus/Solo’s and cue end of song crazy jam out mashup of everyone including Chris whose about to unravel at the speed of the song. Whooooosh! So good, that opening riff is pure gold! My CD has some creep out eery what the hell it is tied to the end of this track…hahaha…Silly Crowes …

When you talk about killer debut albums in the rock spectre SYMM has to be included as there are no dud’s on this album. I’m sure these songs were built from the rehearsal space into the bar stages and into the recording studio where the sonics captured the rest!

The playing on this record is infectious. Must make note of the guitars of Robinson and Cease. They intertwine each other so well and of course when this tour wrapped up Cease got the heave-ho to be replaced by Marc Ford. Shame really for Cease as everyone loses their shit over Ford and his playing on the follow-up to Moneymaker(myself included) but give it up for him. Hell I would think this is the best-selling album in the Crowes catalogue so that’s gotta stand for something correct?

Check back round these parts this upcoming Friday when myself and Mikey drop down another review….

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22 thoughts on “The Black Crowes/Shake Your Money Maker(1990)”

  1. I bet Chris’s mouth and ego got lost them a ton of cash over the years.

    I remember a story from the 90’s in which Chris came to an Ontario beer store just as they closed. “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” he screamed through the glass and he lost his shit. Then the cops had to be called.

    Chris did not know what all of us Ontario boys know. You have to plan to be at the Beer Store here before closing. They won’t open those doors for anyone.

    Sweet review by the way. Good job buying it early.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Regarding Rubin:
    A magazine asked Chris why Rick didn’t produce the album. His answer was, “Rick Rubin is interesting in promoting Rick Rubin. I’m interested in promoting the Black Crowes.” And four albums on American, they never worked with Rick Rubin…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice one, Deke. A very fine album, but it only laid the groundwork for what came next. The Crowes strut really kicked in during number 2 and it’s no coincidence that Ford was aboard the Crowes bus by then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure…
      By the time I caught this ZZ Tour in Oct 90 The Crowes were long gone it was Colin James opening and he was excellent as he was plugging his Sudden Stop album….

      Like

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