By Your Side (The Black Crowes Album) - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Daily Mail
The Florida Times-Union B+
The Globe and Mail
Houston Chronicle
The Knoxville News-Sentinel (A−)
The New Zealand Herald
Rolling Stone
Toronto Sun
Wall of Sound (83/100)

By Your Side was generally well received by critics. Regarding the songwriting, most reviewers praised The Black Crowes for returning to the straightforwardness of Shake Your Money Maker (1990) following the more adventuresome Amorica (1994) and Three Snakes and One Charm. Gemma Tarlach of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel welcomed the album "because it represents a great band's return to what it does best", calling it "45 minutes of good, dirty fun". Wall of Sound's Russell Hall found that the band's emergence from "the jam-band haze that's infected" their recent work resulted in a "laser-sharp focus". Mark Falkner of The Florida Times-Union said that beyond the band's mastery of their influences' musical styles, what prevents them "from being just another tribute act is that they have (also) mastered the power, the passion and the fun that made the mix work". Some critics, also noting the change in approach, derided the band for returning to mine the same influences perceived in their debut album. Jim Farber of the Daily News thus described By Your Side as "a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy" and marked "Go Faster" a sped-up version of Humble Pie's "Hot 'n' Nasty". The Times' Nigel Williamson called "HorseHead" "Zeppelinesque" and labeled "By Your Side" "a kicking boogie half way between 'Cindy Incidentally' and 'Tumbling Dice'". Steve Dougherty of People summed up by commenting, "Purists will wonder why to buy this album when 1972 Exile on Main Street or Stewart's 1970 Gasoline Alley exist on CD."

On some tracks, the influence of soul music was perceived. Richard Harrington of The Washington Post wrote that "Only a Fool" "conjures '60s-era Stax-Volt passions while Robinson's jubilant vocals evoke Redding's rough-edged insistence" and compared "Diamond Ring" to Al Green's work. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's playing on "Welcome to the Goodtimes" was called "infectious" by Wayne Bledsoe of The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

"Virtue and Vice" Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser. Dan Aquilante of the New York Post found "Virtue and Vice" to be the most unusual song on By Your Side and reminiscent of Traffic as Eddie Harsch's "jazzy piano with Rich Robinson's fat guitar work".

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