You Will Know It's Good When You Hear It

| September 11, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Black Crowes

The dark horse favorites – Black Crowes “Before the Frost”, and “Until the Freeze”. If you want to see the ultimate in bootlegging the bootleggers, make sure you check this out!

PREFACE – Where to begin? Today is September 11. Before it was so famous, it was partly known as the release date for the Beatles “Love Me Do” in 1962. Maybe we should all think about that for a minute. Time is on who’s side?

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This is already a bumper crop year for music, even if it stopped today and there were no new releases. Now, we old guys know it’s not about quantity. Nowadays, just like in the fly world in which we live, it’s about quality. Sure, some dinks get in there, but it’s like the old Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said (paraphrased); “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it”. It’s impossible for me to define good music, but I know it when I hear it.

For example, I was mousing the new issue of This is Fly, and saw some bands on their player that I was curious about – hence a purchase of Band of Skulls is upcoming, as well as possibly the Band of Horses and Sleepy Sun. I see these on the shelves at Best Buy, but let’s just say they are never heard in this part of US Radioland. If you don’t click on their Fly player, you are missing something.

As for the music already in hand, let there be zero doubt that Bob Dylan has clearly defined a sound that never existed before and his release “Together Through Life” hones it to a fine point. I tried to describe this path he was heading down in reviews of his live show and releases immediately before seeing that show. It’s some kind of voodoo rhythm that you can’t turn away from, and you will be cursed if you do.

Then comes what is, so far, my favorite release of the year. “Electric Dirt” by Levon Helm is so good, so emotionally evocative, that it defies simple description. I’ll try anyway. If you don’t like bluegrass, roots music, Americana, you probably don’t like this site either, so you are not reading this anyway. Otherwise, it’s time to pony-up and purchase this disc. I don’t want to taint your opinions, so listen and get back to me on this one. Go ahead and try to find one flaw on this disc. For the music historians among you, maybe you remember “Electric Mud”, a Muddy Waters experiment about forty years ago?

Of course there’s a stringer full of other catch-and-keep releases, such as Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses – “Road House Sun”, Steve Earl – “Townes”, Slaid Cleaves “Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away …”, Son Volt “American Central Dust”, Wilco “(The Album)”, Joe Pug “Nation of Heat”, Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream”, U2 “No Line on the Horizon” and a new Drive by Truckers release out recently “Fine Print” (some rarities and hits disc), as well as the Black Crowes “Before the Frost … Until the Freeze”. There certainly will be more releases and contenders for top ten honors this year, but many of these will doubtlessly end up on that list. The Black Crowes are certainly the come-from-behind-dark-horse favorites as they come into the stretch.

It looks like there will have to be a category added for DVD releases as well – Wilco’s “Ashes of American Flags”, and the classic (easily number one for 2009) Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood “Live From Madison Square Garden” DVD. I also just finished the Jeff Beck DVD, and if you throw in Eric Clapton, Joss Stone and yes, Imogen Heap … somebody top that please.

Stay tuned.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, Music

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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