Counting Crows gets emotional
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 17:11
These two women have seen better days going into their respective releases and one has stepped up their game while the other is sorta floundering about. Bonnie Raitt has always been a killer guitarist and underrated vocalist but mismanagement and silly career decisions have had her leave two record labels.
So she did what any other artist with the smarts upstairs would do – start her own label. Bonnie Raitt Slipstream (Redwing) really hits the spot and is proof and returns her once again to the top of her game.
Maybe it was motivation, maybe it was the choice of material but on her previous couple releases, the fire was missing.
While first single “Right Down The Line” with it’s reggae influence is a good indication of something special, one listen to her front porch foot stompin’ rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Million Miles” will seal the deal.
Eight of the albums’ 12 tracks were self-produced by Raitt with Joe Henry managing the other four. Raitt has made great decisions on what material to use on this effort. It’s a great cross between upbeat rockers and gorgeous ballads, showcasing her brilliant guitar work or her poignant vocals.
Standouts include the above mentioned as well as “Not Cause I Wanted To,” “Down To You,” “Split Decision,” another Dylan gem with “Standing In The Doorway” and “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go” is an amazing example of Raitt’s guitar work.
Not so good is Joan Osborne’s Bring It On Home (Saguaro Road) and this is a drag. Osborne’s latest is an album of covers… again! In 2002 she released How Sweet It Is, in 2007 we got Breakfast In Bed and now 2012 rings in Bring It On Home. At this rate she’s gonna run out of other peoples hits to sing.
I try not to complain but really? REALLY? There’s nothing wrong with covering others material but when you tackle other’s hits, the songs that are ingrained into our psyche, it’s an almost impossible task to give them a fair shake.
Here she pretty much does these songs note for note, why would anyone be interested in this if the artist won’t (or can’t) add their own unique stylings. Hey Osborne can sing, she’s one of the best out there but offers nothing here, which is such a disappointment.
She stays busy by working on an album of new material and working with a band called Trigger Hippy, which is good news. Well it’s good news as long as they don’t release an album of covers.
A while back I mentioned that The Rolling Stones have a web site StonesArchives.com that releases full length concerts and merchandise from past tours. There third release is L.A. Live, a show recorded at the Forum in Los Angeles on July 13th 1975 from their acclaimed Tour of The America’s, they played the old County Stadium on June 8th 1975 of that year.
It’s pretty noteworthy in that it was the first Stones tour for Ron Wood who replaced guitarist Mick Taylor who left on his own accord; it also featured keyboardist Billy Preston.
The Stones at the time of this tour had no album to support, this was between their It’s Only Rock and Roll and the yet to be released Back and Blue albums.
As great as Taylor’s stint as a Stone was, Wood matches up much better with guitarist Keith Richards. They formed a guitar duo that was heavily blues based and switched off between rhythm and lead guitar in a flash. They created the sound that kept the Stones musically relevant from the 80’s to today.
Standouts include “If You Can’t Rock Me,” “Fingerprint File,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” the very bluesy “You Gotta Move” and the Stones backing up Billy Preston on his, at the time single, “Outta Space.”
Counting Crows latest release is Underwater Sunshine (Collective) and it’s an album full of… you got it, covers. Of their twelve official album releases, only half are of new material. With two hits compilations and four live efforts, it almost seems like the band is shying away from their own stuff. This shocks me as lead vocalist Adam Duritz is one heck of a writer.
The Crows though take a pretty unique approach to their craft by encouraging their fans to trade bootleg live and studio recordings. That being said it’s not so much of a surprise that they take an unconventional approach to their official releases.
You got to give them credit though; at least they did a covers album of songs that have moved them emotionally and not by popularity. A lot of stuff here are by bands that I never heard of before like the albums opener “Untitled (Love Song)” by The Romany Rye. In the liner notes Duritz simply says when hearing it ‘I wanna spend five minutes doing this myself.’