Def American 26976

Producers: The Black Crowes and George Drakoulias

Track listing: Sting Me / Remedy / Thorn in My Pride / Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye / Sometimes Salvation / Hotel Illness / Block Moon Creeping / No Speak No Slave / My Morning Song / Time Will Tell

Black Crowes Southern Harmony

May 30, 1992
1 week

In 1990, the Black Crowes came from nowhere to deliver Shake Your Money Maker, the first hit album for the Def American label, which was helmed by Rick Rubin, who’d been known as a hot rap producer before becoming a record mogul. With a sound reminiscent of the Rolling Stones and the Faces, Shake Your Money Maker became a sleeper hit. After 54 weeks on the chart and hundreds of live dates, the album reached number four.

When the madness of non-stop tour¬ing and so-called overnight success sub¬sided, the Crowes flew home to Atlanta to record their follow-up album. Original guitarist Jeff Cease bowed out, to be replaced by Marc Ford from Burning Tree, a band that had opened for the Crowes on the road.

“We spent so much time on the road after Shake Your Money Maker, we just wanted to go right back into the studio,” says singer Chris Robinson. The band’s success allowed the group more musical freedom. “The first album was more sort of George’s production, whereas the second record was more what we want¬ed to do. We added some gospel singing elements and more percussion without anybody saying no.”

The album was recorded in a mere eight days at Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta, as Ford’s addition to the band raised its confidence. “All of a sudden we had these new tools,” says Robinson. “We were confident and competent enough to say, ‘This is a take, let’s move on.’ There was no plan to record so quickly — it just happened. “Everyone showed up on a Monday and by Wednesday, Steve [Gorman] was finished with his drum tracks, because we did all the live tracks and then we started overdubbing. Steve came back on Saturday, we cut three songs over, and then it was done,” says Chris Robinson. “It was one huge emotional — but hilarious — drunken blur.”

When the Crowes first blasted onto the scene, the band attempted to distance itself from the South. Yet with their second album’s title, taken from an old book of religious songs, they played up the connection. “For a long time, it was a weird concept for us to be considered Southern, because we never left. But once we went around the world and came back home,we knew, we couldn’t escape it. It was sort of owning up to our roots.”

The inclusion of a cover of Bob Marley’s “Time Will Tell” as the album’s finale may have caught some by surprise. “Actually, the recording is us learning the song,” says Chris Robinson. “All the lyrics are wrong, but it came out pretty good. The choruses are right.”

With “Remedy” riding high on top of the Album Rock Tracks chart for five consecutive weeks, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion debuted at Number One on the album chart. “Being the sort of cynic I am, I said, ‘Oh great, what’s next, number two?’ says Robinson. “But I dug it and my parents have the chart on their wall.”

Week of May 30, 1992

1. The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, The Black Crowes
2. Totally Krossed Out, Kris Kross
3. Adrenaline, Def Leppard
4. Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. Ropin’ the Wind, Garth Brooks