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Music Review: Counting Crows – Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

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MEDICAL WARNING! Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings is more than an hour of pure listening pleasure. If you’re in ill health I suggest you have a doctor accompany you on your first listen. And for those who need that stiff caffeine jolt to get your hearts started in the morning, forget it,  Just turn on this CD. If your heart doesn’t start then, it never will. And what about those in perfect health? This CD is so good that you should allow at least twenty-four hours to recuperate after listening to it.

Even though this CD is not scheduled for release until March 25th, many people have heard a part or all of it, due to leakage. That won’t hurt sales much, if at all, when the 25th rolls around, coming from perennial favorites Counting Crows. They’re one of a select few groups who haven’t faltered after a strong jump out of the gate with their first album 14 (14??) years ago. They made a big splash then, and they’re still on a roll. Of course, success was signed and sealed, simply waiting for delivery by having T-Bone Burnett produce their first CD. If he’s ever produced anything but a megahit, I’m not aware of it. But even if he has produced a dud somewhere along the line, I daresay it wasn’t due to his Midas touch, but a fault with the group or the record company.

The idea of splitting media releases such as DVDs and CDs between more than one producer or director seems to be catching on just a little, as was done with this CD. The CD gets its name from the two halves of the CD done by two different producers. This CD splits into the Saturday night rock orgy and Sunday morning paying the piper, which are two of the four main food groups of just about any party person under the age of thirty today. What are the other two? Sex and drugs, of course.

Counting Crows cemented their eventual inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, if not before, when one of their songs was included in the move Cruel Intentions. The inclusion of their cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” in the movie Two Weeks Notice put “Sealed” to their HOF induction. Still another accolade came with the Academy Award nomination for still another of their songs being included in the soundtrack to the movie Shrek 2.

Last year, VH1 included “Mister Jones” as number 27 on their list of 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's, capped by a live performance video of the song. The band has a reputation of mounting energetic, electric live performances every bit as good as the Rolling Stones, considered by most to be the quintessential rock and roll band. Lead singer Adam Duritz is known to do one thing that very, very few groups or singers do, and that’s to add verses made up on the fly. As a concert is underway, Duritz is known to add or change verses, or inject parts of one song into another, all unrehearsed and unplanned before the actual execution during a performance. He’s also known to pay homage to other musicians by using some of their lyrics in Counting Crow songs. Don’t try these things at home kids, because it’s a sure recipe for disaster in anything less than an expert’s hands.

Counting Crows is also part of a small minority of musicians who encourage taping bootleg copies of their shows, to the point of setting up a separate section of the group’s website to allow bootleggers to trade with other bootleggers. Selling is strictly prohibited, other than to cover the cost of postage and the recording medium used.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest record shop and snag this CD. On a scale of one to ten, I’d have to rate this at eleven.

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About Lou Novacheck

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/eric_whelchel Eric Whelchel

    Nice review. For my personally, this band has lost something in the last few years. Kinda seems like they rehash the same sound and themes every release, after Recovering at least.

    But now you’ve confused me :-)

  • Paul Roy

    I loved their first two albums, but have pretty much hated everything they put out since, other than a few individual songs. I hope you are right about this one.

  • Lou Novacheck

    Believe me, I sure as hell hope I’m right, too!

  • Jann

    as a hard core Counting Crows fan, I understand the comments of “not so much” after their first 2 albums.

    But this album is special. They’re back…and it’s damn good!

  • Lonnie

    The only album the band released that I thought was subpar was their third album. All others including the VH1 double live album were great. I look foward to hearing the new album.

  • JC Mosquito

    Pretty good band overall – never made a bad album – even the third was decent, although they hid Kid Games at the end. Hope this is a knockout album, tho’ – we need more good rock albums in the world these days.

  • abI

    Trust me, this is ace, a real return to form and well worth the wait! I am a real hardcore crows fan and have to agree that the third album was below par. However, this will not disappoint!