Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Betty’s Self-Rising Southern Blends, Vol. 3

Richard B. Simon on June 9, 2017

Hot, danceable and curated by Betty Cantor-Jackson, this 3-LP live set from the fall of 2015 features some of drummer Tony Leone’s first performances with the band, and some of bassist Muddy Dutton’s last. With this solid—if shortlived— backbone, Chris Robinson Brotherhood modulates among funk, Southern rock and soul flavors, and cosmic cowboy tunes, as well as between covers and their own complex numbers. The Black Crowes’ “I Ain’t Hiding” is a thumping disco track. Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It” is spare and swampy; his “The Music’s Hot” is cast here as a funk. The Brotherhood also put its groove on Leiber and Stoller’s “I’m a Hog for You,” Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me” (here, it’s bluesrock) and Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”—a wink to the Jerry Garcia Band. The old jukebox creates sonic context for the CRB tunes. “Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor” has an easy-rolling country groove, Adam MacDougall’s whistling synth melodies and an organismic meltdown, like poppies growing in a field; “Oak Apple Day” is a Northern California rolling-hills walking tune. This is cosmic California country. New Earth Mud’s “Ride,” a CRB live staple, makes its first Betty’s Blends appearance, a side-long funk cut in several modes. Neal Casal plays guitar hero across the album—his style is not flashy, but meaty. Though Chris Robinson’s rhythm guitar sometimes shadows MacDougall or Casal so closely that it’s hard to pick out, his singing shines. (Listen to him in the right channel—on “Clear Blue Sky,” strumming and picking a subtle texture around Casal’s lead.) Belting or scatting, Robinson’s the real deal—and his instrument gets deeper and deeper with time.

Artist: Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Album: Betty’s Self-Rising Southern Blends, Vol. 3
Label: Silver Arrow