Daily Archives: March 14, 2009

69. The Black Crowes – “By Your Side”

Things that put me off in the rock world part 1 – backing singers.

the-black-crowes-by-your-side-album-coverI don’t mean a bit of harmonising (or not quite harmonising) by the guy on rhythm guitar, or the drummer piping up during the chorus. 

I mean a line of formation-dancing, gospel choir-trained ladies providing soaring arias alongside the less capable lead singer and clogging up space on stage when they go on the road.  Such additions are the start of the slippery tide towards decks of synths, a second “percussionist”, and as I saw at a recent Ani Di Franco show, a xylophonist. 

It just aint rock.  It’s fine if your a funk or soul act.  Or, indeed, a do-wop group.  Then you can have as many Joanie Cunninghams as you like.

So rant over.  The Black Crowes engage such choristers to excess on this album, and push it dangerously close to Mellencamp territory.

Coupled with misdemeanour against humanity 2, the ugly Perry Farell-imitating overblown band photo, it pushes what is an otherwise promising release into irritating land. 

It’s a damn shame too because the boogey-influenced bluesy rock here is still better than most.

File under: No need for back up