RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

The Magpie Salute – The Magpie Salute
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: B+

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the release of this album, mostly centered around the reunion of The Black Crowes alum Rich Robinson, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien.

On the surface this is enough to get one’s attention.  Once the music comes on, however, and you hear the reimagined Crowes tracks, as well as this groups take on songs by Delaney and Bonnie, War, The Faces, Pink Floyd and others you will see just how damn special this band really is!

The two best songs are the Robinson penned “Omission” and the Pink Floyd tune “Fearless.”  The original number has a killer guitar rhythm and the song is both rockin’ and soulful at the same time.  “Fearless” is a track only the Floyd Faithful know from their classic album Meddle…but man, oh man, it is a killer tune! Even if everything else on this record sucked these two tunes would make it worth buying the album.  Thankfully, that is not the case.  Every song stands on its own.

The performances have a live energy about them because they were recorded before a live audience at Robinson’s Applewood Studio in Woodstock, New York (other than “Omission” making it a true omission indeed!).  On  a sad note, the album features the last recordings of Eddie Harsch, the late keyboardist for The Black Crowes.   This makes the album both special and bittersweet.

The band is rounded out by Joe Magistro and guitarist Nico Bereciartua, lead singer John Hogg, former Crowes singer Charity White and background singers, Adrien Reju and Katrine Ottosen.

The talented musical tribe sails through The Black Crowes “What is Home” and “Wiser Time.”  They breathe new life into “Comin’ Home” by Delaney And Bonnie.  The Faces “Glad and Sorry” will be a live favorite for sure.  The band cover “Bob Marley’s “Time Will Tell” as well, showing the diversity they encompass.

At times the jamming is amazing as heard on “Comin’ Home.”  Other times they pull out CSN&Y sounds as they did on “Wiser Time.” They throw down some ABB style blues riffs as heard on War’s “War Drums.” The pull off tradition folk meets The Grateful Dead on “Ain’t No More Cane.”  Hell, every song on the album is done very well…still…that damn Floyd song… YOWZA!  This band is fearless indeed!

Don’t be scared away thinking this is a meandering, jam band wankfest either.  Sure, there is plenty of jamming but this is jamming done right!  It is not just a batch of endless solos.  The backing band guides the mood allowing the soloists to reach amazing heights.  Each note has a purpose and the vocal performances, both lead and background, are outstanding.

The only reason this one does not have an “A” rating is because it is mostly covers.  If this group can write like they reinterpret, across an entire album, holy smokes, the future for real music may be brighter than most think!

Pick this one up…as it is definitely worth double the sticker price!

Track List
Comin’ Home
What is Home
Wiser Time
Goin’ Down South
War Drums
Ain’t No More Cane
Glad And Sorry
Time Will Tell

By Jeb “Let Me Light Your Candle” Wright