Before the Frost/Until the Freezeby The Black Crowes
Revitalized by their 2008 reunion, the Black Crowes decided to take a genuine risk, recording a double-album's worth of new material in front of a live audience at Levon Helm's barn in upstate New York...and then release the second half, Until the Freeze, as a free download-only. To a certain extent, such formal experiments are where the Crowes can really stretch, as they're so devoted to rock & roll roots from Southern England to South Georgia, they can't add new wrinkles to old traditions. But that's not exactly right: they're willing to stretch until at least the late '70s, offering their spin on a Rolling Stones' disco on the album's first single, "I Ain't Hiding." As true as that may be, it's too snide and easy, and does a disservice to what the Crowes pull off with aplomb on this rather remarkable record, a record that has all the easy interplay of a road-tested band but none of the weariness. The Crowes play with muscle and grace, easing into the rustic ramble of "Appaloosa" or getting dirt underneath their fingernails on the stupendous opener "Good Morning Captain," a song that sets the keynote for the rest of the record both in its sturdy construction and enthusiastically ragged performance. More than anything, it's the kineticism that captivates, how the band deepens their already-strong songs with muscle and blood, sounding alive in a way that they never quite have in the studio. No longer young upstarts, they wear their years proudly on this terrific album, sounding like the veteran roadhounds they've always aspired to be.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsBlack Crowes Primary Artist
Larry Campbell Banjo,Fiddle,Pedal Steel Guitar,Guest Appearance
Steve Gorman Percussion,Drums
Chris Robinson Guitar,Harp,Vocals
Joe Magistro Percussion,Guest Appearance
Luther Dickinson Guitar,Mando
Sven Pipien Bass,Vocals
Adam MacDougall Keyboards,Vocals
Technical CreditsJustin Guip Engineer
Chris Robinson Composer
Paul Stacey Producer,Engineer
R. Robinson Lyricist
Alan Forbes Artwork
Rich Robinson Composer
Chris Edwards Engineer
Arik Roper Illustrations
R. Robinson Lyricist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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So Josephine has twin sisters... The Best album of 2009? The Crowes have just RAISED THE BAR to say the least. To put out a double album of brand new songs for the price of a single album is one thing. But another is that it is played to perfection straight out of the box, no overdubs, no backup singers, no nutin' honey. When I first heard the talk about the new album being the album of the year I felt it was the same old talk that always comes up. But now after hearing it over and over, I would have to say that THEY ARE RIGHT. These are NOT songs that have been played 600 times in concert. These are 20 brand new songs that are played flawlessly live. I have not heard even one mistake; they seem to be played perfectly. And these songs are like pure poetry, it is easy to tell what instrument is doing what. And there are songs on it that I would normally never listen to, but they are so well done that I can't help but listen to them. And I think Chris really likes to say Locust. Well this is Locus Street the album. From Amorica to Americana, these guys have really gone country. The whole country. This is American music. And this is classic rock at its best. A song for everyone to sing. There is a lot of variety to the tunes here. `Exile On Main Street' is considered one of the greatest rock albums ever and I would not be surprised if `Before The Frost... ` is considered as the Crowes Exile. In hindsight one can see where this album is coming from: Thunderstorm, Tornado, Wyoming And Me, My Hearts Killing Me, Josephine, There's Gold In Them Hills, Whoa Mule and of course Locust Street. All those songs sound like they could be on this double album. Now take a deeper look. If you take away the brass balls production values from `Side' and `Lions', and replace them with the hickory hewn values we have on the new one, then you have another series of songs that seem to be leading up to this one: Welcome To The Good Times, Go Tell The Congregation, Miracle To Me, Soul Singing and Greasy Grass River all seem to fit in this pattern. Greenhorn even has touches of Miracle in it. Maybe all that is hard to see at first glance, but it is pretty easy to see that Goodbye Daughters and Good Morning Captain certainly go together, as well as the rest of the last album,`Warpaint'. And pay close attention to my favorite, I Ain't Hiding. People are calling it disco. Well it has a couple spots that might remind you of Emotional Rescue, and it does mention dancing, and you can dance to it... but it is much too rocking to really be a disco song. I don't think KC and the BG's ever had a cranking guitar solo like that. Get Cabin Fever and watch this album performed live ~ and note the "Birds" type opening. I leave you with this thought... The Birds meet Hitchcock SHAKE ~ The grave flying doves And nobody laughing SOUTHERN ~ Who killed that bird out on you window sill AMORICA ~ Do you know when to freeze or take flight SNAKES ~ He had twenty-nine blackbirds But only one flew SIDE ~ It needs no explaining 'cuz we both felt it go south LIONS ~ Now I've traded my black feathers for a crown LOST ~ If I found you a floating feather I would be amazed WARPAINT~ My wounded bird There's nothing for you're here FROST ~ Then what sent those blackbirds on the wing FREEZE ~ Aimless Peacok So like Hitchcock, who appeared in each of his movies ~ the Crowes seem to have a bird reference in each of their albums.
This album (actually a double album because you get an extra download of 'Until the Freeze' with purchase) is the Crowes playing what they know best....down home rock and roll roots music. One of the best records to get you thru the autumnal/winter solistices year after year.