This week's column involves consideration of two of four Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson's "solo" recordings, followed by another chapter from the "House Of Soul."
'Through A Crooked Sun,' Rich Robinson (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH)
'Woodstock Sessions: Volume 3,' Rich Robinson (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH 1/2)
These two April 15 CDs, which are also available on colored vinyl and digital formats, are Part II of the back catalog of solo releases from Black Crowes guitarist/co-founder Rich Robinson.
The first two discs, "Paper" and "Llama Blues" (red and blue vinyl) were re-released Feb. 26. All were originally put out during various dissolutions of the Black Crowes. These two are available in white and brown vinyl; and a new Rich Robinson album will be available in late June.
"Through a Crooked Sun" is Rich's second solo album, originally released in 2011. "The Woodstock Sessions" was originally released in late 2014. Both show the guitar-playing half of the brothers Robinson is as important to the Crowes' success as brother Chris' voice.
"Crooked Sun" is very much a "solo" album, though Rich has drummer Joe Magistro, keyboardist Steve Molitz and others on board. My favorites include the layered "Hey Fear," the throbbing "Gone Away," the Crowes-flavored "Lost and Found" and the alt-countryish "All Along The Way."
There's lots of good songs across many musical genres found here.
"The Woodstock Sessions" is different in concept: Rich and his band played for two days (two sets per day) in front of a studio audience, revisiting solo album material. That band consists of Rich (guitar/vocals), Joe (drums/backing vocals), Matt Slocum (keyboards), Ted Pecchio (bass/backing vocals) and Dan Wistrom (guitar/backing vocals).
"Gone Away" is even more rousing live; "Laila II" allows the band to stretch out in an Allmans-like jam that segues into another instrumental. Other faves include the rocking "I Know You," a rawer version of "Lost and Found" and the beautiful "Oh Sweet Nuthin'."
Some jams go on too long for this listener, but this is an excellent collection and a preview of what Rich and his band will sound like on tour.
'Live From the House of Soul,' Antibalas (Daptone/MVDvisual, HHH 1/2)
This chapter of Daptone's series features Afrobeat pioneers Antibalas, who use three guitarists, a drummer, a keyboardist and numerous horns to set up a perfect storm of rhythm. The lyrics aren't understandable at times, and the songs go on; but for percussion lovers, this chapter of the series is wonderful, especially "The Ratcatcher," which crackles with gang backing vocals and rousing horns.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com