The Black Crowes: Wiser For The Time

The Black Crowes Wiser for the TimeThe Black Crowes
Wiser For The Time
(Silver Arrow Records)

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Recorded from the band’s five-night set of NYC shows in 2010, Wiser For The Time is a two-disc set containing 26 songs of Black Crowes classics.

The first disc opens with the Robinson brothers’ duet, which is the slightly too bright, acoustic guitar-led “Cursed Diamond.” The album then leads into the slightly more funky “Sister Luck” from their debut album, where the full band – Steve Gorman (drums), Sven Pipien (bass) and Adam MacDougall (piano) – do their best Stones imitation. There’s some ill (and I mean that in a great way) country blues rompin’ on this first disc. “Downtown Money Waster” is stompin’ fun, with Rich R. enjoying slide and MacDougall some tickling keys equally. “Garden Gate,” from 2009’s Before the Frost…Until the Freeze double album, sees Robinson wailing on mandolin. Chris kicks out the harmonica over his brother’s slide on “Hotel Illness,” which is one of the best here. “Oh The Rain” and “Soul Singing” both see Chris singing his heart out, though the band lightly handles “Soul Singing” really nicely behind him (with added great female vocalists).

The band gets loud, chunky and electric on “Exit,” the third song on the second disc and stays plugged-in from that point. Robinson wails on “No Speak No Slave” and “Only Halfway To Everywhere” equally. I’m especially fond of the clear cutting single-note feedback lead on “Title Song.” “Make Glad” sees MacDougall leading the band with his funky keys and Gorman’s tom work right behind him. This is probably the best tune on the second disc for me. The pretty “Willin’” ends the proceedings, again showing off MacDougall’s piano playing.

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