The Black Crowes, "Before the Frost...Until the Freeze"

73 Billboard Rating

It took the Black Crowes seven years to release last year's "Warpaint," but now that the Robinson brothers are back in the studio album business, they're making up for lost time. Fans who buy "Before the Frost . . ." will receive a digital password entitling them to a free download of the companion album ". . . Until the Freeze." Both sets were recorded before a live audience at Levon Helm's Woodstock, N.Y., compound and the sound of applause punctuates many tracks, reminding listeners of the fans' presence when the crisp arrangements don't. The material spans the Crowes' usual blues-rock spectrum-the opener, "Good Morning Captain," rides a roadhouse-worthy slide-guitar groove, while gorgeous harmonies enrich a cover of the Stephen Stills/ Chris Hillman gem "So Many Times." But one highlight, "I Ain't Hiding," suggests that the band's Rolling Stones worship has reached a new level: It's an unlikely disco-boogie jam a la "Miss You."-Mikael Wood