by Derrick Lord
Old sayings get to be old sayings for a reason: There is usually a good bit of truth in them. I gave Sheryl Crow’s album C’mon, C’mon a spin based on the single “Steve McQueen” and I thought: “Yup, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.” Crow plows the same orchards as the California rock legends she grew up, groups like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Finally, she seemed to have learned how to do it right more often than not.
You can sure hear vintage Buckingham Nicks in this album, in fact it’s likely what Stevie Nicks would be sounding like if she hadn’t gotten lose in those 80’s pop/dance blues and went back to her roots. Sure enough, both Nicks and Don Henley showed up on schedule here with guest vocals as did Liz Phair, (where the hell had she been?) Lenny Kravitz, (him too?) Emmylou Harris and Gwyneth Paltrow (huh?). Occasionally, you might hear a nasty little lick and think “damn that sounds like Keith Richards,” and it might be since he is thanked in the liner notes — as is Steve Earle, but I couldn’t find them credited in any of the song info.
The album kicks off with the previously mentioned “Steve McQueen.” I’d have to say I like it almost as much as my favorite Crow tune “My Favorite Mistake.” It’s a first-rate, put-it-in-your-car-and-drive tune, complete with Steve Miller-style woo woos. What’s not to like about that? Next is “Soak Up The Sun” with Phair, and I loved the nifty bass work by Jeff Trott, co-writer of a lot of the songs with Crow. With “You’re An Original,” at first, I thought it was with Henley, but it turned out to be Kravitz.
Things chill out a bit with “Safe And Sound” and here you can really hear the Nicks influence. Stevie is right there on the next one with vocals on “C’mon, C’mon” — and to tell you the truth, the two do sound good together. It’s Henley’s turn next on the ballad “It’s So Easy,” which would fit in nicely into the friendly neighborhood Eagles concert coming soon to an outdoor amphitheatre near you. “Over You” is an enjoyable song followed by another, “Lucky Kid.” If Kiss is smart — and billions of bucks in the bank say they are — they would cover this tune on their next “farewell tour.” I thought of them for some bizarre reason during the song.
Nicks returns on “Diamond Road,” which does exactly what the Bangles were trying to do before they got mixed up in that Egyptian stuff and self-imploded. The guitar work by Wendy Melvoin (of Prince and the Revolution fame) and John Shanks on the country rocker Abilene was first rate. “Hole In My Pocket” is followed up by the fine “Weather Channel,” which features Harris and closes out what turns out to be a very enjoyable album.
I wasn’t a big Sheryl Crow fan going into C’mon C’mon, but I quickly began to get with the program. Those who hadn’t cared much for her work before may want to give this one a go; it might change your mind, as well. By this point, her songwriting had really matured, and she surrounded herself with an excellent cast. I’d have to say that all 13 cuts are strong without filler, and that’s rare enough these days to recommend an album wholeheartedly.
I liked it the first time out, which I don’t often do. Better yet, it’s stood the test of time.