"This is the only disc by Joe Henry that I don't like. I'm a huge fan of this guy, but this; his second release, is a dud. While being overproduced, the material is bland and just doesn't have anything that grab's you. He's changed styles a few times over the years, and I've liked the variety, but this one has no personality, so to speak."
David Perry | Long Valley, NJ United States | 09/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I stumbled across this and felt compelled to defend this man's work. I saw him in Hoboken with the Jayhawks and this was the first music of his I ever heard. I'm almost 50 now and have never been quite struck by an artist as I was by this cd...I own thousands of LP, cassettes and CDs and at one time 8 tracks. I agree that his growth has rivaled any artist that I have been acquainted with...there is no genre that can hold this man. Be that as it may these songs seem to bubble up from the subconscious and will intrigue me for the rest of my life much like difficult poetry would if I let it and had the time...sorry James Joyce etc. I cannot imagine how Drummond, Taylor, Leavell,Bromberg, Fisch, Parks etc. coalesced to present these songs in the incandescent manner that they did. Just another gig I guess to them....mind numbing. Well I am no Rhodes scholar but this fellow occupies the vast no man's land between Ronnie Lane and Miles Davis in my listening experience and has no equal. There I wrote it! Dave Perry."
Joe has come a long way since then!
Daniel Ellis-Green | Santa Fe, New Mexico | 12/18/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's impossible for me to judge this CD without applying the very high standars that Joe has set himself on his best efforts. When I listen to Murder of Crows, I mostly end up thinking what a shame the production is. There are some fine songs here, but as someone who admires and enjoys the warm, organic (dare I use that adjective?) HUMAN sound of his other great works (Shuffletown, Short Man's Room & Kindness of the World) I find it difficult to get past the vaguely 80's slickness here. I think that if you are a dedicated Henry fan you will still find things to enjoy. I hesitate to recommend it beyond that. Joe took a huge leap forward when T-Bone Wolk produced the splendid Shuffletown and then later with Brian Paulson assisting (presumably, although he's never listed as producer.) Beyond my complaints regarding Anton Fier's heavy-handed polish job, I must say that Joe's song-writing muscles seem to have developed quite rapidly following these recordings as well. Again, just reference any of the above mentioned titles. All of them are superior to this in every way."
One of the best records of the 80's
Daniel Jones | Hilo, HI United States | 02/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I picked this up in '88 because I had read a positive review of it in "Rolling Stone" (recall the saying, "give 100 monkeys each a typewriter...?"), where it was mentioned that former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor was on these sessions. I was then blown away by this record, and listened to it *constantly* during that era. The songs are lyrically Dylan-esque, the band is musically a "who's who", the production has that "analog tape" warmth, and to me...is satisfying on many levels. It has more of a rock production vibe that I think Joe later stated he was unhappy with - his more recent material is certainly more jazzy. If you got onto Joe *after* this period, you may find this record a little too song oriented and it does sound like the record company may have been pushing to get something out of Joe that could get picked up on radio (I think an MTV-style video was directed by Sean Penn, Joe's brother-in-law at the time). But hey, it's a tough business and this was what he could do at the time with the tools and support he had at his disposal. It's not Ray Charles, but when you heard it in the context of that which was current at the time - it had a more sincere, timeless element to it than say, Don Henley or REM or The Bangles (nothing against those fine artists, who almost *have to be* better than I think they are). I recall the sticker on the CD said "A&M Records 'developing artist' Series" - and that may say it all...it was the guys 2nd record and it showed both growth and potential. If you like Joe, you may appreciate this for what it is - an inspired fellow trying to sort himself out in the music business. He came across with a highly enjoyable record that has some depth, that may have left you with a desire to hear more of what he would be doing in the future."