Review: Black Crowes’ Welcome Return

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Black Crowes/1972/Silver Arrow Records
3.5 Out of Five Stars

It’s wholly appropriate that the Black Crowes, now reformed and apparently in one another’s good graces, opt to set their sights on music that’s now some 50 years removed. After all, they were spawned from purely retro influences, the Stones, Zeppelin and the Faces having made the most obvious impact on their efforts. In a very real sense then, 1972 effectively sums up their stance, allowing the Brothers Robinson to come clean and effectively revel in their roots. There’s hardly any mystery when it comes to their choice of covers, although one might imagine narrowing the setlist down to six songs was more of a challenge than the actual undertaking itself.

Likewise, their reverence has no limits. For the most part, they adhere to their seminal templates, albeit with their trademark edge and agility, and as a result, it becomes clear that they’re paying homage with humility and respect. The Stones’ “Rocks Off” and T-Rex/ Marc Bolan’s “The Slider” are delivered with added intensity while Rod Stewart’s “You Wear It Well” rocks with the earnest emotion implied in the original.“Easy To Slip” provides a driving delivery only hinted at in Little Feat’s original, and as a result, comes across as far more fluid. So too, the exhilarating take on the Ziggy Stardust standard “Moonage Daydream” and the Temptations’ equally emphatic “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” offer further examples of Black Crowes’ exceptional combination of flash and frenzy.

As a result, 1972 becomes a flashback of sorts, a stunning opportunity to revisit a past perfect radio playlist that’s both retro and relevant in equal measure. Ultimately, it becomes clear that 1972 was a very good year indeed…and remains so even now. Consider any time spent listening well worth the reminiscing. 

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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