This blog is all about songs that evoke memories. So, in honour of The Black Crowes officially breaking up this week, these are not necessarily my favourite Crowes songs, but the ones that most vividly evoke memories. And I’m going to say I’d bet this breakup doesn’t last forever. This isn’t the first time Chris and Rich Robinson have butted heads, and they always come back to each other. Brothers will be brothers.
1. “Black Moon Creeping,” The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
This is my favourite for this list because it’s the stupidest Crowes-related memory I have. I would go to a lot of Jays games with my friend Sean and his friends. I knew this guy Mike was a big Crowes fan. These guys had a reputation for being a little weird. So I thought it would be cool if I asked Mike, one day while on the subway headed down to a game, “What secret do you sleep with when the black moon comes?” The look on his face confirmed that, no, it was not cool to ask that question; and it confirmed what I’d known all along: I’m one socially clueless dude.
2. “Go Faster,” By Your Side (1999)
Brings back the best, most energetic show I saw them play. And the girl I went with. It felt like new love was blooming. Springtime and awesome music have a way of doing that.
3. “Sister Luck,” Shake Your Moneymaker (1990)
Such a beautiful song. It takes me back to my Graphic Design class in high school. I’d become obsessed with this album and, for a project, decided to design a Black Crowes concert poster. I just remember there was a candle on it because I’d seen a bio of them on TV and they had candles on stage. One of my classmates, a girl I thought was super cool in a platonic kind of way but wasn’t necessarily friends with, saw it and was so excited because she was a Crowes fan, too. Knowing I played guitar (she did, too), one day she asked if I’d be interested in playing bass in a band with her. I declined because I didn’t want to be “typecast” as a bass player – I loved guitar too much. But, in hindsight, I was a doofus. It probably would’ve been fun. I also leant her a tape I’d made from a radio broadcast of a concert featuring this song and John Lennnon’s “Jealous Guy,” which she never returned.
4. “Remedy,” The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
After falling in love with the first album, then hearing this explosive first single from their second album, I was super psyched for this one. I bought it at the HMV in The Promenade mall in Thornhill and when I saw the cover, with Chris Robinson staring at me like some weird wizardly trickster imp, I knew it was going to be great.
5. “Gone,” Amorica (1994)
I remember buying this CD on a chilly autumn afternoon in ’94 on my way to a late Creative Writing class at York University. I got there a little early and sat in the parking lot and smiled as Chris Robinson screeched out this lead track. But I was also a little nervous in anticipation of discussing one of my pieces in class that night, as I always was when it was my turn. It’s never fun having anyone, let alone egocentric 21-year-olds, dissect your heart and soul.
6. “Lickin’,” Lions (2001)
Another great lead single. Lions was the follow-up to By Your Side, which I loved, so I was excited to see what would come next. I was a little disappointed by the album, though. And the show I saw on that tour was on a rainy May night at the Molson Amphitheatre, and the energy level just wasn’t there. Plus, it was a somewhat shortened set because they were the middle band on “The Tour of Brotherly Love,” which featured three bands with brothers: Spacehog as the opener, then the Crowes, and headlining were those pillars of brotherly love, Oasis.
7. “Blackberry,” Three Snakes and One Charm (1996)
I just loved figuring out this tune on guitar and playing along with it in my bedroom. So joyous and funky.