I've never really been into the Black Crowes, but I picked this their first album up on a whim, seeing it on sale, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The Robinson brothers have written nine out of the album's ten songs, and "$hake Your Moneymaker", with its gritty, rootsy rock n' roll sound, is certainly more than good enough for a debut album.
The Black Crowes' sound is a tough amalgam of rock n' roll, blues and a little bit of soul, not unlike the Faces or the Rolling Stones. The arrangements are lean, yet muscular, with bluesy guitar riffs that leave room to breathe for the excellent rhythm section of Steve Gorman and Johnny Colt, and superb blues-and-boogie piano by the Rolling Stones' keyboardist, the great Chuck Leavell.
"$hake Your Money Maker" eventually sold millions of copies (more than three in the US alone), and the semi-acoustic ballad "She Talks To Angels" was a sizeable hit. The quality of the Robinson brothers' songwriting is consistently high almost all the way through, from the hard rock of "Twice As Hard" and "Jealous Again" to the swaggering, mid-tempo shuffle "Sister Luck" and the poignant "Seeing Things".
They also throw in a good cover of Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle", but the original songs are so good that the Crowes really don't need to rely on covers.
This fine album is for anyone who likes classic, Stonesy rock n' roll with a bluesy slant, and it's the Black Crowes' grittiest, bluesiest album.