Rich Robinson stands alone on two solo releases

By Ricky Flake

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 flakericky@gmail.com