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Album Review

The Black Crowes, ‘Croweology’

By Zeth Lundy
Globe Correspondent / August 9, 2010

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On the cusp of their second indefinite hiatus (oh, the tenuous fraternity!), the Black Crowes reflect on 20 years of music with a two-CD set of newly recorded, mostly acoustic renditions of songs from their back catalog. It’s their second consecutive double-disc release, and while it’s not as essential as last year’s career highlight “Before the Frost . . . Until the Freeze,’’ “Croweology’’ serves as a reminder that the Crowes may be one of the country’s most underrated and misunderstood bands. Too often pegged as a Stones-ian retro act, the Crowes simply value old-school musicianship over fickle trendiness: the front-porch stomp of “Hotel Illness,’’ the saloon funk of “Downtown Money Waster,’’ and the wicked gospel breakdown inside “Morning Song’’ are but a few of the instances where the band locks into heavy grooviosity. The band’s current lineup is arguably its loosest and most face-melting, and lead guitarist Luther Dickinson helps take a number of near-10-minute jams (“Ballad in Urgency,’’ “Wiser Time,’’ “Thorn in My Pride’’) to neo-hippie cosmic bliss. This likely won’t be the last time we hear from the Crowes, but it makes for a splendid intermission. (Out now)

The Black Crowes play the House of Blues Oct. 22 and 23.

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The Black Crowes, ‘Croweology’
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ESSENTIAL “Thorn in My Pride’’