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The Black Crowes – Lions

Review: 061
Date: 4 Feb 02


Rating: 5 Stars

Chris Robinson – Diva
Rich Robinson – The Prince
Steve Gorman – Drum Schtick
Eddie Harsch – Thirty-Nine?
Sven Pipien – Very Bass

Tracks Listing:
1. Midnight From The Inside Out
2 Lickin’s
3. Come On
4. No Use Lying
5. Losing My Mind
6. Ozone Mama
7. Greasy Grass River
8. Soul Singing
9. Miracle To Me
10. Young Man, Old Man
11. Cosmic Friend
12. Cypress Tree
13. Lay It All On Me


Chris and Rick Robinson of the Black Crowes have never been shy of wearing their hearts on their Rock ‘n’ Roll sleeves proudly showing off their influences. The Rolling Stones (Keith not Mick), The Faces (Ronnie Wood not Rod Stewart), Humble Pie (Steve Marriot not Peter Frampton), and now after touring the states with Jimmy Page they have released Lions with a heavy Led Zeppelin Presence era feel to it.

It may be clichéd, but for the Black Crowes it really has been a long strange trip. They completely startled the world with their 1990 debut “Shake your Money Maker”, and now in 2001 it looks like they are going to do it again with “Lions”. In the years in between they have released 4 very varied albums, both in critical acclaim and sales. They have been kicked off a worldwide tour with ZZ Top for not towing the Budweiser sponsorship line. Their story has ranged from the ridicules to the sublime, heady and dangerous, a line up of changing musician that would make Spinal Tap look stable, and sometimes thrillingly out of control. Musically it’s been peaks and troughs, but “Lions” finds them on the very crest of a wave.

On the opening track “Midnight from the inside out” Chris Robinson blares forth after the guitar feedback locks into a guitar chugging rhythm with an opening salvo of “Here where angels never sleep / The water’s dark and deep / and you breath molasses”. The effect is excruciating, clammy, sweaty, exhilarating - all rolled into one. It sounds like Walking Street should do at midnight.

For it’s part in the proceedings, “Lions” is a wholly remarkable C.D, mostly recorded in rehearsals, so it has a very live sound. Right up there in your face, it captures the Black Crowes vitality and indubitable spirit from the heavy imagery of its psychedelic third eye lion head cover artwork to the bold grooves of “Soul Singing”, the uplifting evocation of “Cosmic Friend”, or the lingering refrain of the anthemic closing ballad “Lay it all on me” where the Robinson brothers really stretch out. The whole album has a rock solid groove that locks you in at the beginning, and doesn’t let you out until the dying notes ripple from the guitars. It embraces the bands impure soul (in a very worts and all way) and gloriously ragged Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s full of fervor and heart, reminding you why everybody falls so heavily for them the first time you hear them.

Producer Don Was sprinkles his magic over the tracks, but never taking away the roughness which is all part of the Crowes charm.

Lions are kings of the jungle, how very apt. A great Rock ‘n’ Roll record, lets just hope that the Crowes stay on these rails.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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