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CHRIS ROBINSON ‘New Earth Mud’ (Wagram Music 3082062) (2002)

The Black Crowes’ vocalist’s solo album finally gets a UK and European release (on 28 April) after being out in the US since late last year. Joining Chris Robinson are Paul Stacey on keys/bass/guitars (he has worked with Oasis), drummer Jeremy Stacey and Matt Jones on keyboards. There are no Black Crowes rock ‘n’ rollers on here, instead it’s a mellow, soulful approach similar to ‘Southern Harmony’.

Highlights are many, with ‘Safe In The Arms Of Love’ setting out the stall nicely - lush backing and Chris Robinson’s vocals strongly to the fore. ‘Silver Car’ could do well as a single, it reminds me so much of the Stereophonics in ballad mode! Very mellow and features great guitar to give it a strong Americana feel. ‘Fables’ could have come from the late 60’s, with picked guitar lines and a touch of harpsichord. ‘Katie Dear’ is written for his wife, actress Kate Hudson. Obviously the lyrics are slightly cloying but the heartfelt vocal delivery makes-up for this and the chorus line sends shivers down your spine. Faces fans will enjoy this one. The most uptempo track, ‘Ride’ has Chris Robinson doing his best James Brown impression! Nice and funky backing to boot. Ending the album on a high is ‘She’s On Her Way’, bits of late-era Beatles appear throughout and a nod to Boston with the hand clap backing (or maybe not!).

Chris Robinson has created a masterpiece, plain and simple. The sort of album that has a timeless quality and definitely one for late night listening. Special mention to Paul Stacey who has arranged the tunes to suit Chris Robinson’s vocal strengths. Where this leaves the Black Crowes future is anyone’s guess.



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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