BY WALLY SCHNALLE & ERIC KAMM
The Black Crowes hit the mainstream in the early ’90s with a vintage aesthetic that was reminiscent of rock and roll from the late ’60s. “Hard To Handle” was released in 1990 on the band’s major label debut, Shake Your Moneymaker. The song was originally written and recorded by Otis Redding but not released until 1968, a year after he passed away. The Black Crowes’ version begins with drummer Steve Gorman laying down the groove that the song’s melody is built upon. Gorman’s ability to create an addictive and moving pocket, to set up the band, and to supply that perfect fill definitely took The Black Crowes’ music up the charts.
Compare and contrast the two-bar phrases in the verse and chorus. Notice how Gorman employs the musical tool of tension and release, where he sometimes plays through the bands punches, and sometimes plays the accents with the band on the turnarounds. The tune gains forward momentum as the music pushes and pulls at different places in the song.