Sound — 10
It's almost hard to believe that this album was recorded by the same band that put out Shake Your Money Maker just two years before. Where Shake Your Money Maker may seem to be a little on the sterile side in both composition and sound mix, Southern Harmony is astoundingly raw and full of life. Rich's riffs are fresh and inventive and the rhythm section of Johnny Colt and Steve Gorman hold down the fort exceptionally well. While the whole band was clearly at the top of their game, the two new additions at the time- Marc Ford on lead guitar and Eddie Harsch on piano/keyboards -helped add a depth to the music that separated this band from being just another Stones/Faces ripoff. Ford's solos in particular are absolutely blistering, whether it be the frenzied explosion of sound in Sting Me or the laid back free-form improvisations of Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye, the lead guitar work on this album still remains as the best Marc Ford has ever put to record in my opinion, with the Black Crowes or otherwise.
Lyrics — 10
On this album, Chris Robinson proved what was hinted at on Shake Your Money Maker- that he was indeed a very good lyricist. Lyrical highlights include Thorn In My Pride, Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye, and most importantly, Sometimes Salvation. In addition to the strength of the lyrics, Chris Robinson's vocals on this album are absolutely top notch. The one vocal track that can be considered sub-par if you purely at the clarity and strength of the vocals would be Sometimes Salvation, but it's that hoarseness paired with a stellar delivery that actually make it my favorite vocal performance on this album.
Overall Impression — 10
The Southern Harmony and Musical Commpanion established The Black Crowes as a legitimate rock and roll band and provided a sound that the band ran with over the next three albums. Compared to the rest of their catalog, this album is unquestionably among the top, and a strong case can be made as to why it is indeed the best album the Crowes have ever put out. Nearly every track is an instant Black Crowes classic, with My Morning Song in particular being one of those songs that defines this band's sound. Time Will Tell is the only exception, but I feel that even that song has it's place on this album, serving as a sort of cool-down after the sonic fury that preceded it.