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:: The Black Crowes - Cabin Fever

Following on from the critical acclaim and success of their double album set ‘Before The Frost…’ and ‘…Until The Freeze’, it’s not surprising to see Atlanta based southern/blues rock act The Black Crowes have put together a companion piece in the way of a new DVD entitled ‘Cabin Fever’. Given the rather experimental nature surrounding the recording of the last pair of albums, I was half expecting ‘Cabin Fever’ to be nothing more than a compilation of some of the best songs from the albums. But to my surprise, ‘Cabin Fever’ is nothing of the sort, and yet something infinitely more than at the same time.

Essentially, ‘Cabin Fever’ is primarily a documentary, which doesn’t so much cover the writing of the songs from the albums, but rather captures the recording process of the journey. Running for seventy-five minutes, the DVD is a little on the short side of things, but the footage captured of the band (Who are currently made up of vocalist/guitarist Chris Robinson, guitarist/vocalist Rich Robinson, guitarist Luther Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Sven Pipien, keyboardist/vocalist Adam MacDougall and drummer Steve Gorman) both on and offstage (Especially the band’s interaction with each other, and Chris’ connection with the audience on the live material) is definitely captivating and engaging.

Aside from the various insightful interviews with the band members into their mind-set behind the recording of the pair of albums and the other random pieces of footage, it’s the live footage that really stands out most of all. Tracks such as the instrumental ‘Aimless Peacock’, the rocking ‘Good Morning Captain’, the laid back ‘Appaloosa’, the energetic ‘Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)’ and the touching ‘What Is Home?’ (Beautifully sung by Rich) are definite stand out cuts. But outside of those, ‘Cabin Fever’ also boasts a couple of previously unreleased gems as well, with tracks such as The Velvet Underground’s ‘Oh Sweet Nuthin’’ (Again, handled perfectly by Rich. So perfect in fact that it makes you wonder why it didn’t make it onto either of the albums!) and the up-tempo ‘Little Lizzie Mae’ making this particular DVD a worthwhile purchase.

In terms of extras, there’s not a great deal on offer apart from live versions of ‘Shady Grove’ and the band’s cover of Fred Neil’s ‘Dolphins’ (Which is previously unreleased). But when you take into account how good ‘Cabin Fever’ is as a whole, it’s only a minor issue. ‘Cabin Fever’ in no way replaces either ‘Before The Frost…’ or ‘…Until The Freeze’. But what it does do is compliment the albums with its insight into the atmosphere surrounding them, and their eventual recordings. And it is that valuable insight that makes ‘Cabin Fever’ a must for fans of either of The Black Crowes’ last couple of releases.