The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion [German Live]

by: The Black Crowes

Though it was recorded in just eight days, over the years The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion has proven to be the Black Crowes' most consistent and well-loved album (though hard core fans may prefer the more versatile Amorica). Its merits and highlights are well known by now, but here's a short recap. Songs like "Remedy" (the band's strongest single ever), "Thorn in My Pride," and the frantic "No Speak No Slave" encapsulate everything that is urgent, striking, and instantly familiar about great rock & roll. In 1992 as the album entered number one on the U.S. charts, the German Phonogram label would re-release Southern Harmony as a double CD containing a value-added bonus disc of live tracks taken from a gig at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, TX, on February 6, 1993. Over the years, this show has been bootlegged to death, most recently showing up on Napster in its entirety. But new technologies aside, leave it to the Germans to entice the band's fans to repurchase the record as this bonus CD that contains four excellent live tracks. First, there's an expanded version of "Remedy" (replete with a long-winded Chris Robinson story about applying for a job painting prisons), quickly followed by a straight read through Faces-influenced charmer, "Jealous Again." But the real highlight is an 11-minute-plus version of live favorite "Thorn in My Pride," which only falls rather flat when the band attempts to go funky here and there. Fortunately, the band raises the stakes once again by launching into a full-on "Midnight Rambler" bit; only upstaged by some excellent fretwork courtesy of Marc Ford. The disc is put to bed by a rocking version of "Sting Me," which in all honesty has always sounded better live than its album counterpart. Taking a cue from its original version (titled "You're Wrong"), the track is a scorcher and one which sees Marc Ford laying down perhaps one of the finest leads of his Crowes career. ~ John Franck

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