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The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson Talks ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ Deluxe Edition

Reunited Robinson brothers will reissue their band’s 1990 debut album with unreleased tracks, covers, and an Atlanta concert recording

The Black Crowes circa 'Shake Your Money Maker'


The Black Crowes will mark the 30th anniversary of their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker with a deluxe reissue. Set for a February 26th release, the package arrives in multiple formats, including a “super deluxe” edition with unreleased songs, demos, and a raucous concert recording from the band’s early days that finds singer Chris Robinson breaking up a crowd fight mid-song.

In 2019, Chris and his guitar-playing brother Rich Robinson patched up their own notoriously volatile relationship to reform the Black Crowes with new members for a 2020 summer tour. The Shake Your Money Maker reissue was slated to arrive at the same time, but like the tour, it was delayed by the pandemic.

“Looking back, the funniest thing is it’s a very sober record,” Chris Robinson tells Rolling Stone of the Shake Your Money Maker sessions, which began in 1989 in their hometown of Atlanta with producer George Drakoulias. “We hadn’t any money even for a 12-pack. We ate off of George’s leftovers. We didn’t have food budget. We didn’t have money for weed or anything, you know? So it’s all going into the work.”

Aside from money, the Black Crowes — then made up of drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Johnny Colt, and guitarist Jeff Cease — were also light on experience. Chris says it was his first time in front of a studio microphone, and his brother had just two guitars and shared an amp with Cease (now a member of Eric Church’s band). Gorman had never kept rhythm by playing to a click track.

“George had to curtail some of our indie-punk vibes. ‘Can we try it with a click track?’ Like, what? Joe Strummer never used a click track!” Robinson says. ” ‘Twice As Hard,’ we probably played that song 40 times to get it right.”

But when they did, “Twice As Hard” and tracks like “Jealous Again,” “Seeing Things,” and a rambunctious cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” successfully reconnected rock & roll to its primal energy. In an era of overblown pop-metal bands, the Black Crowes stood out for their rootsy, Southern take on the Faces. Even if the group’s knowledge of Rod Stewart up to that point was limited to New Wave fare like “Young Turks.”

“I wasn’t really feeling that. But [Drakoulias] sat down in my apartment and played me ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’ and I can remember my mind blowing out of my skull,” Robinson says. “It all starts to come together … As long as it’s soulful and as long as it’s sincere, that was really the electricity and the inspiration of that kind of music.”

The Faces vibe is unmistakable in “Charming Mess,” one of the previously unreleased tracks on the reissue. Originally recorded for Shake Your Money Maker, the barroom-piano tune was left off the album. Robinson doesn’t recall why exactly — “We had plenty of hit songs on that record; I guess we didn’t need it” — but he alludes to its Rod Stewart similarities. “The beginning of that song really sounds like ‘Hot Legs,’” he says. “Thank goodness Mr. Stewart has given us his blessing to release it after all these years.”

Along with “Charming Mess,” the anniversary set includes the full album remastered, covers of Humble Pie’s “30 Days in the Hole” and John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” and a demo of “She Talks to Angels” from when the band was still known as Mr. Crowe’s Garden. But the high point is a 1990 live concert from Center Stage in Atlanta that captures the group on the rise.

“We just sold our first million copies of [Money Maker]. We were in our hometown, seeing old friends,” Robinson says. “We were hardly the most popular band in Atlanta, so for us to start to achieve that kind of commercial success, it alienated us from the other bands. But everyone in our scene, from Drivin N Cryin and Mary My Hope, got major deals. For us to kind of supercharge it up like that, it was just super magical. Youth, man; it was all about youth.”

With the Shake Your Money Maker reissue on its way, the Black Crowes have announced the rescheduled dates for their reunion tour. It’ll now kick off June 25th in Tampa, Florida, and run through August 30th in the U.S. before heading overseas in the fall. Robinson is optimistic it’ll happen and that audiences will show up.

“[2020] might have been a fuckin’ shit year for everyone, but … I don’t think people’s love and devotion to music is going to go away,” he says. “It’s not just the Black Crowes. Our whole industry, our whole world, every musician I know, we’re all sitting around, waiting to do our thing. And I think the fans are the same way.”

Alongside the four-LP Deluxe Reissue, the album will be released in a two-disc format with the bonus studio songs and a single CD or vinyl version of the original.

Shake Your Money Maker Deluxe Reissue

LP 1: Shake Your Money Maker (2020 Remaster)
Side One:
1. “Twice As Hard”
2. “Jealous Again”
3. “Sister Luck”
4. “Could I’ve Been So Blind”
5. “Seeing Things”

Side Two:
1. “Hard to Handle”
2. “Thick N’ Thin”
3. “She Talks to Angels”
4. “Struttin’ Blues”
5. “Stare It Cold”
6. “Mercy, Sweet Moan”

LP 2: More Money Maker: Unreleased Songs and B-Sides
Side One:
1. “Charming Mess”
2. “30 Days in the Hole”
3. “Don’t Wake Me”
4. “Jealous Guy”
5. “Waitin’ Guilty”

Side Two:
1. “Hard to Handle” (With Horns Remix)
2. “Jealous Again” (Acoustic Version)
3. “She Talks to Angels” (Acoustic Version)
4. “She Talks to Angels” (Mr. Crowe’s Garden Demo)
5. “Front Porch Sermon” (Mr. Crowe’s Garden Demo)

LP3 and 4 The Homecoming Concert: Atlanta, GA December 1990
Side One:
1. Introduction
2. “Thick N’ Thin”
3. “You’re Wrong”
4. “Twice As Hard”
5. “Could I’ve Been So Blind”
6. “Seeing Things for the First Time”

Side Two:
1. “She Talks to Angels”
2. “Sister Luck”
3. “Hard to Handle”
4. “Shake ‘Em On Down/Get Back”

Side Three:
1. “Struttin’ Blues”
2. “Words You Throw Away”

Side Four:
1. “Stare It Cold”
2. “Jealous Again”

From Rolling Stone US