Twice As Hard or Twice As Nice?


Photo from Spotify

Mike Singer, Music Manager

On Friday, March. 17, the Black Crowes released their first record of 2023, a live record documenting their anniversary tour celebrating 30 years of their debut record, “Shake Your Money Maker.”

The live record runs a total of one hour and 44 minutes of Black Crowes’ rock and roll. On top of the original 10 songs that were featured on the debut record, nine other songs from their discography can be found on the record as well as a Velvet Underground cover and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ song “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

I am so happy that the Crowes released a live record from this tour. It’s been two or so years since the Robinson Brothers reunited and the tour kicked off after breaking up in 2015 and they did not disappoint.

It’s clear that this is a genuine live record because of how Chris Robinson sings. There are two different types of ways that Robinson sings, the first one is how you hear him in the studio, pitch-perfect, matching whatever the band is playing. The second is his live version where he maybe sings in a lower register and or has a different pitch or tempo to the beat of the rest of the band.

My two favorite songs off the first half of the record (the original 10 songs) are “Twice As Hard” and “Hard To Handle.”

What I love about the live version of “Twice As Hard” is the outro where the band just jams out while the rhythm guitarist, Rich Robinson plays a sleazy slide guitar as the band wraps up the song.

As for “Hard To Handle,” what isn’t there to love? It was originally sung by the legendary Otis Redding and The Crowes made it a more southern rock style and it’s pure awesome. The version of the band that’s recorded on this live record is one of my favorites and the way that lead guitarist, Isaiah Mitchell plays the solo is pure gold.

Some of the other gems that appear on this live record include “Wiser Time,” “Sting Me,” and my favorite Crowes song of all time “No Speak No Slave.”

When I saw The Black Crowes, I remember seeing a hungry band that was having fun playing their music again. You can tell by listening to this live record that they are in the same mindset.

It’s been 10 years since The Black Crowes last live record, 2013’s “Wiser for the Time” and a new, updated live record has been long overdue. In all honesty, this is their best live record to date. The recordings are crisp and the band sounds extremely tight and is firing on all cylinders.

What I love most about this live record specifically is the power that comes from this record.

After the extended solo on “Wiser for the Time” the pure emotion and power in Chris’ voice as he sings the chorus is just awesome. I know there are 18 other songs to pick from the record but this song especially is one of the top examples of emotion that comes from live records and makes them so much better than studio records.

When there are good things to a record, there are usually bad things but these are nit-picky.

The one thing I wish the band would have included on the live record is Chris Robinson’s mini-stage banter. When I saw them in concert, Robinson would talk a little bit in between songs and do his thing. I would have liked to have seen that included on the record to truly make it “live” but it’s something I can live without. 

The last thing I would have liked to see is more of their own material. Outside of “Hard To Handle,” which appeared on their debut record, there are three other songs that are covered. To add to The Rolling Stones cover and the cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll,” the Crowes also have a cover of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” which was originally performed by The Temptations.

I would have liked The Crowes to add their own material to the live record. I know throughout the tour they performed songs such as “HorseHead,” or “Kickin’ My Heart Around,” and it would have been great to see them added onto the record instead of covers. Not that there’s anything wrong with those covers. In fact, The Black Crowes cover of “Rock & Roll” is one of the best on the record, it just would have been nice to hear more original Crowes music.

All in all, this was a solid live record and I highly suggest giving it a listen regardless of how you feel about the band. It’s a powerful, kickass record.


Finally, it’s time for The Singer’s Thoughts:

  1. This is a solid record to release after the “1972” EP. It’s kickass, in-your-face, classic rock and roll that would make any Black Crowes fan go wild. The next step is making a full-length record.
  2. Now that the Robinson brothers have released a traditional live record with the rest of the Black Crowes band, it would be awesome to see them release a live record that is from their “Brothers of a Feather” acoustic shows that include just Chris and Rich.
  3. It’s great that the Robinson brothers are as tight as they are and that they’ve kept the Black Crowes train rolling. It would be such a shame if they ended it now and the sky is the limit for the band at the moment.


Overall Grade: 8.5/10