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Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ‘Betty’s S.F. Blends Volume One’ – Album Review

Silver Arrow Records

When word got out that the Black Crowes would be reuniting in 2013, fans were unsurprisingly excited by the news. But that meant that singer Chris Robinson would have to put his solo project, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, on hold. At least temporarily.

On the ‘Big Moon Ritual’ and ‘The Magic Door’ albums, Robinson and his band revealed their deep listening habits, which include everything from Hank Ballard to the Grateful Dead to Ricky Nelson.

But before closing down the Brotherhood, Robinson took the band on the road for a five-show run at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall in December 2012. The eight sides of the vinyl-only ‘Betty’s S.F. Blends Volume One’ tumble and flow into each other while effortlessly bobbing in and out of cover tunes, tracks from the group’s two albums plus a few from Robinson’s solo records. There’s some Black Crowes material in there too.

This is real music — not something you put on your laptop while pulling together your grocery list for the week. The exquisite packaging – complete with trippy artwork and ranting liner notes – and the sounds are something that needs to be experienced in one sitting as a whole.

But who has the time to listen to eight sides of cosmic boogie and gaze upon eye-pleasing psychedelic imagery these days? Well, if you have to make time to listen to a record as beautiful as ‘Betty’s Blends,’ then maybe it’s not for you. But give it a chance. You might find out that it’s the music fix you’ve been looking for.

Next: Shocking Album Covers - The Black Crowes

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