Last week Guitar George went to the other side of the planet for a lively acoustic guitar performance in Botswana Africa, so this week I decided to bring it back home to Atlanta. Although the rapidly expanding fan base of Braves General Store has gone far beyond the Peach State, its humble beginnings were right here in the ATL: home of Coca Cola, The Varsity, The Ramblin’ Wreck, and The Black Crowes—the band that answers the question “What do you get when you cross Rod Stewart-era Faces with pre-plane crash-Lynyrd Skynyrd ?”
The band’s founders Chris and Rich Robinson, sons of musician/singer Stan Robinson who had a modest hit in 1959, grew up in suburban Marietta where they formed their first band while still in high school. Then they migrated to the bohemian Little Five Points area of Atlanta, the South’s version of Greenwich Village or Haight-Ashbury. Next thing you know, Chris and Rich and their bandmates have established a faithful following to their live shows and have recorded a demo that quickly led to their signing with Def American Records. The Black Crowes 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker, which churned out hit after hit after hit, became a huge success, and suddenly the dudes from Little Five Points are international rock stars.
Chris and Rich Robinson are an addition to the long line of rock brothers who often argued with each other, sometimes to the point of physical altercation: Phil and Don Everly, Ray and Dave Davies (The Kinks), Mark and David Knopfler (Dire Straits), Liam and Noel Gallagher (Oasis), etc. While the fraternal dichotomy made life on the road difficult and frustrating, it was the ideal formula for a live rock and roll band, with singer Chris’s frenetic flamboyance offset by guitarist Rich’s laconically serious demeanor.
I wish I could say that in keeping with this week’s theme, tonight’s video was taped in Atlanta. While the studio version was indeed recorded in the ATL, this live performance was actually filmed in Germany on the Crowes’ 1992 tour. There are other videos from this tour on the internet that are as good, if not better, but I chose this particular song because of Rich’s badass monster riff that opens it, and Marc Ford’s nifty slide work on the Gibson.
The Black Crowes were once voted “The most rock-and-roll rock and roll band.” This video will show you why.