Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 79
Wed. April 17, 2013
“The Ballad of Urgency/Wiser Time”
The Black Crowes
but I bet you
When I think of The Black Crowes, I hear loud guitars with bluesy riffs and loud Southern vocals that created some of the most dynamic and memorable rock songs of the 1990’s and beyond. Did you know in 2010, Black Crowes recorded a hits heavy and all encompassing acoustic album? Croweology but lead singer Chris Robinson wanted to warn you that this isn’t just another stripped down, unplugged affair, when he said; “It’s not just an acoustic album, though. Not at all. Thorn In My Pride is 18 minutes long on there, the Ballad Of Urgency/Wiser Time segment is now a 22-minute piece. And those are things that we’ve been doing for years live with our improvised sections, but we’ve never made records that incorporated that part of who we are.” It’s like these classic songs from The Black Crowes are expanded, giving room to breath, to jam, to funk, to rock and to roll in this acoustic setting.
How could the riff and Southern rockin Black Crowes thrive in this acoustic situation, it all came down to song selection as Chris Robinson told Black Book magazine when he explained, “Well, I’m not a nostalgic person. Did I know that when I was 20 writing the song? No, I had a more of a romantic vision of what that is then. I’ve lost friends to drugs and we’ve seen the madness and the chaos that self-destruction can cause. In one way, I like to maintain the innocence of something that I wrote back then, and that continues on. Now, I’m a 43-year-old man and when I wrote it, I was a boy. That’s the true test: Do the lyrics and the song grow with you? I’m proud to be older. I like my gray hairs, I don’t want plastic surgery, and I don’t care about youth like I used to. I care about youth again in a poetic structure, but I don’t have to relive it and to be honest, I can only connect with it in the sort of purity of what you’re doing, as opposed to bending down and trying to be something that I don’t have a part of.”
Like really good Southern Whiskey, two Crowes songs that have aged perfectly with time are Amorica’s “Ballad of Urgency” and “Wiser Time.” Originally placed back to back on their very controversial 1994 album, setting their fate for The Crowes to join these two vintage cuts as a dramatic medley that die hard fans crave in experiencing the Brothers Robinson and co in concert. “To me, a lot of these songs are written acoustically, so it was interesting to see them as they are and to have all these songs be more organic. Sometimes with songs like Ballad In Urgency with all the effects, it’s cool but you get kind of get out there and it’s atmospheric. To bring it down to acoustic guitar is very grounded. Hearing these songs in this setting is very pleasing to me.” Chris Robinson said, talking about re-recording classic cuts on Croweology.
Robinson couldn’t forget about “Wiser Time,” Chris reminisced about one of the most popular Amorica tracks when he explained, “To do an acoustic version of Ballad with the Ballad/Wiser jam we’ve done for many years was really cool for me. I think the whole thing clocks in around 22 minutes. Wiser Time kind of says it all in the lyric: “Ask me why another road song/ Funny but I bet you never left home.” We left home a long time ago and this song represents our commitment to the adventure after all these years. It also provides a place to spotlight Adam and Luther and Rich when we play it. It’s a fan favorite and one I never get tired of singing, especially to all the folks traveling around watching us. I feel a connection with these people. When I’m in a field with a bunch of people tripping and having a good time, well, I have a good time.”
You may wonder why very electric Black Crowes decided to record the very acoustic gem of an album Croweology. “Before the band that dares dream out loud puts it down for a while, we are proud to give you our Croweology. And celebrate what has been, what is now and whatever will be.” Chris Robinson’s gift to The Black Crowes faithful is a lyrical souvenir to the fans that have followed and supported the Brothers Robinson; After all these years, why not unwind with the majestic Croweology? Who says you have to bury bluesy epic medleys like “Ballad of Urgency” and “Wiser Time” in the past. Relive the tall tales of The Black Crowes, you may experience some contact high, but these “Ballad of –Wiser Time” lyrical reverberations are worthy of your curiosity. Go ahead take a hit of Croweology— You may just enjoy it!