48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2008
It's Been 7 years, but we finally have some actual "New" Black Crowes material. Not alternate takes, cutting room floor scraps, or rejected songs from previous album projects. Ten All new Black Crowes songs (one cover). Warpaint is a good mix of what these guys do best: bluesy, country, southern rock music. You can definitely hear the influences of their predecessor's that they have been compared to: early Stones, the Faces, Allman Brother's, and even a little bit of those laid-back southern-California Eagles of the 70's. Yep, I'm giving it 5 stars. As a Long-time Black Crowes Fan, I can tell you, this is way better than their last album (Lions)!
Warpaint kicks things off with "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution", a song that incorporates everything that the "traditional Black Crowes style" has to offer, at it's Bluesy, Country, Rockin' best. As soon as you get a few minutes into this opening track, you will start to smile and think "Damn, the Crowes are BACK!" Things keep going good thru "Walk Believer Walk". One of the heavier songs on Warpaint. More like "Black Moon Creeping" off So. Harmony. Heavy blues guitar and strong vocals by Chris. Speaking of the vocals, this album, as other reviewer's have already noted, has Chris' vocals right up front and very clean and clear. Nothing like the distorted vocals he had on some tracks from By Your Side and especially Lions.
"Oh Josephine" is a soft acoustic/electric number that harkens back memories of "She Talks to Angels" or "Angie" by the Stones. Has some great slide guitar work and piano accompaniment.
"Evergreen" has a real southern rock, Allman Brothers/jam feel to it. Swirling keyboards, guitars, and Chris' vocals spin together and meander along. A number of slower tempo breaks and some smooth electric guitar solos.
"Wee Who See the Deep" is another great classic sounding Black Crowes song with some great electric guitar work. This one's still growing on me.
"Locust Street", a quiet, slow, country sounding ballad. Nice tune.
"Movin' On Down the Line" is a medium tempo rocker, with some good electric guitar interplay between Rich and the new guy, Luther Dickinson.
"Wounded Bird" gets a little rowdy at times, but then mellows down again.
"God's Got It", the only non-original song here, written by Reverend Charlie Jackson.
"There's Gold In Them Hills" - this is a slow acoustic song which has kind of a story-line to it. Reminds me of Desperado by the Eagles, just without all the lush string arrangements.
The album closer, "Whoa Mule" - An acoustic folk song
Be Warned: This is not an album of "rowdy, raucous, rock `n roll" as the early Crowes leaned towards. It is a much more laid-back affair. More like Amorica too me. Remember how the style of "Ballad of Urgency, Wiser Time, and Descending" made you feel? Most of this album is like that.
About the line-up changes. Any band that's been around for over a decade is bound to have a few lie-up changes. In the Crowes 18 year history, they have more "former members" than actual band members now. Sven Pipien on Bass has been with them long enough to be considered a veteran. Their former, long-time keyboard player, Ed Harsh finally called it quits in 2006, and has formally been replaced by Adam MacDougall. On again, off again, lead guitarist Marc Ford left again in 2006 and has also been replaced by the former North Mississippi Allstars Luther Dickinson, who seems to be doing a great job. Casual fans won't even notice a difference.
I didn't think the Robinson brothers would ever get back together as the Black Crowes and do anything more than a reunion show or two, much less a whole new album! As a long-time Crowes fan from the very beginning. I am grateful for the new music.
Recommended. Now get out their, buy this disc and support the band.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2008
After two dismal outings (Lions and By Your Side), the crowes finally hit pay dirt again. A new direction, but with the same likability of Southern Harmony, Amorica, and Three Snakes. Strong music and lyrics. Mix of Southern rock, country, blues, soul. It's hard not to shake it when you hear Movin on Down the Line and God's got it (a cover). The slower songs, Oh Josephine, Locust Street, and There's Gold in them Hills all stand out. Whoa Mule is the best closer they've had since Descending on Amorica. The heavier songs are laced with funky interludes and great jams, great turns, great choruses. I found highlights in every song, and it will definitely make for a great live setlist.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2008
It may have taken 7 years but the Crowes have returned with one of their strongest efforts in their career. After two so so albums (By Your Side and Lions) and a highly experimental album (Three Snakes). The Crowes brought in Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars and it's clear he has this band re-energized. This is a very rootsy album, if you had Levon Helm and Rick Danko singing you could swear this was The Band. This album is their most consistent since Amorica and provides some highlights of the Crowes career. "Goodbye Daughters", "Oh Josephine", "Walk Believer Walk" and "We who see the Deep" are up there with some of their best work. The intimacy of "Whoa Mule" was one of the highlights for me. Recorded outside, you can hear the birds chirping outside and you get the feel of all the members sittin around a campfire getting tall and playing from the heart. It felt like a religious experience for me. It shows the emotional power the Crowes can evoke through their music.
Being a die hard Crowes fan, this album is exactly what they needed. A strong rootsy album that will appeal to lovers of rock music from The Stones, to the Allmans to the Band. The Crowes remain rocks best band today and this album is a phenomenal addition to an already strong catalogue of work. Highly recommended.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2008
The playing on this new release is vintage Crowes - tight, intricate and (at times) awe-inspiring. The Trouble Triplets of Chris & Rich Robinson, along with their partner in crime, Steve Gorman on the drums have created a fantastic set of songs. I get a little tired of hearing people whine about the band not re-recording releases from years past. If you want to hear Amorica or Southern Harmony, bust them out and give them a spin. Let's take this new release for what it is - a ridiculously solid band playing southern-fried blues rock at its best. Chris Robinson's time away as a solo artist seems to have breathed new life into his singing with the Crowes. His time behind the board on his own solo recordings (and the latest Gary Louris release, VAGABONDS) has proved to be time well spent. WARPAINT is well-produced (Paul Stacey) and is filled with nice little touches throughout. This is the release that's been missing for a long, long time. Yes, it's more mellow than some of their earlier stuff. However, there isn't a lost track here. Each song stands on its own and has something to offer. Again, if you want the old stuff, dust off the discs and knock yourself out. For me, WARPAINT is going to be in heavy rotation for a good long time.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2008
Although the last two albums weren't horrible, they certainly didn't have the creative flair and originality that we've come to expect from the Black Crowes of the 90's.
Thankfully, Warpaint brings us back to what was once considered the norm: Folksy, Bluesy, Rocksy Music. In that order.
Warpaint doesn't rock out like Amorica, but it certainly doesn't droll along like By Your Side did. 'Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution' opens the album strongly and sets the stage for the remaining tracks, none of which struck me as "filler".
Although this isn't my favorite Crowes' album, every track is a good listen, and it opens the band to non fans and possibly a younger crowd. I'm not at all implying that Warpaint is commerical or Pop, just that it struck me as being more widely "listenable" than previous works.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2008
Wapaint presents an older, wiser Black Crowes. A band drawing from the past, but not living in it. Showing their influences, but not ripping them off.
Don't be misled by anyone who claims this album is heavy on ballads. Most of the songs here are indeed mid tempo, but they ain't ballads. Rich Robinson and newcomer Luther Dickinson's guitars join together to create a slide heavy, distorted, phaser drenched monster on the electric tunes and crisp, folky bliss on the acousitc tunes. Chris Robinson's vocals have never sounded better. The songwriting and arrangements are some of the most mature of the band's career.
What's perhaps most impressive about the album how beautifully it's sequenced. Each song stands on it's own, but is in just the right place to make for an essential top to bottom listen. I've listened 6 or 7 times and never go straight to one track.
Kudos also to Paul Stacey for producing what may be the best engineered album the band has ever put out. Nothing is lost or overbearing in the mix.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Black Crowes have dealt with a whole lot of static since their early days, maybe because they initially shot for party boy rock stardom. (Remember "Hard to Handle" anyone?) They're still being dogged by that same old criticism, which hasn't been relevant since at least 1992, after which they evolved into a much different band and traveled a confusing road of lineup changes and reunions. Well now it's time to (finally) just accept the Black Crowes for what they truly are - a solid and capable southern blues-rock band. Sure they're not the most original songwriters in the world (and never have been) but their performances all compelling and honest, and their delivery is flawless with no messing around. They're good at what they do and that's all they need to do.
The Robinson Brothers are soldiering on as valiantly as ever, it's great to have drummer Steve Gorman back on board, and new keyboardist Adam MacDougall seems to be fitting in fine (and even adds a few unexpected touches, like the Wild West saloon piano in "There's Gold in Them Hills"). The big lineup news here is the addition of Luther Dickinson on lead guitar, and anyone familiar with his fulltime band, the North Mississippi Allstars, may be surprised by his subdued and unassuming sound here. Luther has either been forced to conform to the Crowes method or has graciously surrendered to their mellow groove - I suspect the latter. Overall, the music on this album truly reminds me of Amorica and Three Snakes, with a country blues vibe that is both laidback and insistent at the same time. "Walk Believer Walk" and "Wee Who See the Deep" are surprisingly moody and even a bit sinister, and the mid-tempo winners "Evergreen" and "Wounded Bird" combine the best of the Crowes' solid rock rhythms and hippie mysticism. The seven-year hiatus seems to have allowed the Crowes to revamp their attack, rediscover their future, and return to their greatest strengths. [~doomsdayer520~]
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2009
The Black Crowes finally return from a long slumber with their first new album in 7 years, Warpaint. What have they been doing for the last 7 years? Well, for starters, let's look what happened after Lions...
First off, Lions didn't do too well. Maybe it's because it wasn't that great. So, after touring all that year, the Crowes said bye-bye for a few years. Chris and Rich both had pretty good solo albums, but they both realized that they missed each other. Thus, the Crowes reunited in 2005 with the original lineup (except for their bassist at the time, Sven Pipien).
Unfortuantly, problems arose again, and guitarist Marc Ford and long time keyboardist Eddie Haryrsch both left the band, and were replaced by North Mississippi Allstars leader Luther Dickenson and Adam MacDougall, both great musicians. The band then scrapped all the material they had written in 2006 onwards, and wrote all new material as a band for Warpaint.
Listening to Warpaint, it's hard to believe that By Your Side and Lions were ever made. This sounds like Three Snakes Pt. II. The band sounds wiser and older, making music that sounds like what a band should be making 20 years down the line. No, it's not as heavy as their older material, but it is more rootsy and tighter than the earlier days. For the first time since Amorica, it sounds like the Crowes have something to say.
Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution kicks things off, and the Crowes sound is there, but there is a contemporary sound too, what with Luther's Allman-esque slide fills clashing with Rich's open-tuned Stones-worship riffs. Chris Robinson doesn't really scream like he used to, instead, he has a voice full of respect and he knows when to lay back when needed.
Walk Believer Walk is a vicious blues, the darkest and dirtiest song the band ever recorded. Luther lays down some venomous licks, Chris gets into deep Southern preacher mode, and Rich brings the hammer down. Fantastic song, one of the best they've ever wrote.
Oh, Joesphine might be the best song Little Feat never wrote. Some great lyrics from Chris (Diamonds hold the mirrors/Spoon it holds the stars/Been a long time, baby, since I seen the sun rise like this). There's beautiful poetry in his simple words, and the music definetly taps an imagery of Southern love, laying out in the woods with your loved one, smoking a joint and letting it all ride. The outro is cathartic, the band laying down a moving 6/8 riff with such power and energy not heard in years.
Evergreen continues the spell with a touch of psychedelia. For the first time since Three Snakes, Chris is writing some intelligent poetry. No more "Let's get it started, y'all!" on this record. Very moving stuff.
Wee Who See The Deep gets things a little funkier, this one being a great live staple for some awesome jamming. Chris taps into hippie mysticism in the words (I have come from the hurricane/A messenger that the tempest brings/Eyes full of sun, hands full of seeds/At one with the night just to help me see), while a thick Zeppelin funk riff permeates the senses.
Locust Street is just a bittersweet song, some very tasteful mandolin playing from Luther. It's a song for people who are lost in this world (And it's easy pickins/On locust street/There's no place to hide), and the message is very resonant in these dark times.
Movin' On Down The Line...wow. What an intro! Very psychedelic, very soulful, very rocking! Almost every musicial idea is present in this song. Blues, rock, psychedelia, country, it's all here. And Chris is one of the few people to sing "It's alright, brothers and sisters" without sounding cliche. Brilliant song.
Wounded Bird, the big "single" off the album, showcases where the Crowes are now. At once powerful and menacing, at other times light and loving, this is a song for the ages. Set your mind to fly.
God's Got It is pure Southern-fried blues. This could almost pass for an R.L. Burnside song. You can definetly feel Luther's love of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues in this song. And the marching band drums really give it an authentic flavor.
There's Gold In Them Hills is another surprising twist for the Crowes. They could never have written something like this for Shake Your Moneymaker, it's got too much old wisdom throughout. A slow tear-jerking ballad, it's one of the most honest and heartfelt ballads the brothers Robinson ever put to pen.
Whoa Mule leaves on a hopeful note, a song and an album bridging the gap between old and new, and east & west. An almost bluegrass raga, if you will.
Warpaint is an incredible listening experience, and one for the generations to come. It sounds like a band with a purpose, a meaning, and a message. Buy it today, and you can't go wrong.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2008
There have been quite a few good albums that have been released in 2008, which raises the hopes of many that good music is coming back. One of the highlights is the highly anticipated Warpaint by The Black Crowes. Their best album since Amorica, the Crowes go back to their roots and even though the brothers Robinson don't get along socially, they have always had a spark musically, and it's never been more apparent than on this album. Songs like Movin on Down the Line, Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution, Whoa Mule, and a cover of Reverend Charlie Jackson's God's Got it, are highlights and shows a whole other spectrum of unexplored ideas the band previously had not endevored. Warpaint has everything a good Crowes record should be. It's not contrived, they still have their authentic classic rock/blues sound they have perfected over the years, and it's an album that grows on you through multiple listens. You notice something different each time. Overall, this is a flawless record in the sense that there are no bad songs on it, and it brings back redemption to a band who, for many, lost their way. Well, they've found it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have been disappointed with a number of new music releases in the last year. That being said, I was a little apprehensive about this release. I was excited for a new Black Crowes record, but I was sort of flinching at the potential to not impress me. I was primarily worried about the sound due to Eddie Harsch leaving the band. I expected his lack of presence to leave a huge void and along with a newcomer on lead guitar...I wasn't sure The Black Crowes getting back together was a good thing. Well, I was wrong...
This album is a strong release by the Robinson brothers and company. The sound is familiar being Black Crowes blues-rock, but the songs are rich and mature. There is more thought and sincerity to the lyrics. There is more complexity in the guitar playing and background vocals. The new lead guitar player (Luther Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-stars) has a nice sound that fits in well with the BC. He is fluid and melodic and fits in nicely following Marc Ford. The same can be said of Adam MacDougall on keyboards. I didn't sense a big difference between the sounds to notice that Eddie Harsch wasn't playing with them. You can tell that the Robinson brothers have aged well. They have figured out how to work well together versus fighting like they did previously.
I would agree with many other reviews that say this album will grow on you. It will indeed! However, I don't think it is one that you won't like at first listen. I think people will like it at first, but love it more and more with each spin.
Also, I saw The Black Crowes Unplugged on MHD (Music High Definition channel), and they played songs from the new album. The performance was really quite amazing! The songs on Warpaint will be great to see live. I hope they release the unplugged performance on DVD, because I will buy it in a New York minute!