Black Crowes: Before The Frost

Mid 70’s southern blues rock isn’t as fashionable now as it was in say, the mid ‘70’s, so kudos indeed to the Black Crowes for refusing to kowtow to current vogues.

There is not a single sound bite on “Before The Frost” that would identify it as a contemporary album. Recording the album in Levon Helm's Woodstock barn before a special selected close audience may well sound like a simple marketing gimmick, but it adds a cosy feel, hearing a small enthusiastic crowd in between tracks. Unless that was just a way of masking the in between track brawling noises of brothers Chris and Rich Robinson going at each other like, well two brothers in a rock band.

“Good Morning Captain” gives us a boogie-woogie piano intro into a blues rock standard that sets the scene for the entire album.

My favourite track of the album, “Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)" is a lengthy piece that gives the band the room to stray into something that sounds like a live jam with guitar, Hammond organ and harmonica taking it in turn to play the lead.

“Appaloosa” has the slow sliding guitars of an Eagles classic that slows things down again.

It may sound a little dull to the modern rock fan used to more speed and gusto, but to my ears this is perhaps their best album.