Tag Archives: Ronnie Wood

Rocks In The Attic #358: The Rolling Stones – ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out’ (1970)

RITA#358If nothing else, this album’s worth having just for the between-song banter.

Mick Jagger: “I think I bust a button on me trousers, hope they don’t fall down…you don’t want my trousers to fall down now, do you?”

Female audience member: “Paint It Black!……Paint It Black!……Paint It Black!………Paint It Black, you devil!”

Mick Jagger: “Well alright! Well alright! Well alright!…Charlie’s good tonight, ain’t he?”

The record also serves as living evidence that the Stones are the sloppiest live band around. Do they all need to play in tune? Nah. Does it matter? Probably not. It’s the moments of magic that count, when they finally hit the same groove. This might not happen on every song, but when it does, it’s well worth the wait.

I finally got to see the Stones recently (in Auckland on the last night of the 2014 tour, wrapping up the 50th anniversary celebrations nicely) and they didn’t disappoint. As I expected, they were shabbily fantastic. Nearly every song was started in a ‘name that tune’ manner, as Keith played something that approximated the start of a Rolling Stones song. Then the rest of the band come in, all disjointed, until the song actually starts to sound familiar midway through the first verse.

They’ve earned the right to do this. The very fact that Keith Richards is still alive, ducking and swooping around the stage at 71 means he can do whatever the fuck he wants. Charlie Watts is, and always will be, a machine. You could set your watch by him. Ronnie Wood seems to be the happiest man in the world, and nothing ever looks better than somebody who seems to be having a laugh, all the time. Finally, Mick Jagger never stops. He swaggers around the stage, throwing moves only he could get away with. I was really surprised to hear him blow some mean harmonica, when we say him. I knew he could play but…I don’t know…I just wouldn’t have been surprised if he had someone else to do that for him. I was also lucky to see my favourite Stones guitarist, Mick Taylor, join the band for a couple of numbers (Midnight Rambler and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction).

For me, one of their rare flashes of brilliance is Honky Tonk Women. When they played this in Auckland, I could have died right there and then. Boom. Thank you. Good night.

Hit: Jumping Jack Flash

Hidden Gem: Live With Me

Rocks In The Attic #274: The Who – ‘My Generation’ (1965)

RITA#274It’s funny that on most of the debut albums by the ‘60s bands that have endured, there’s not much of a hint of how the band will end up. Here you have the odd bit of feedback across opener Out In The Street, the wig-out of closer The Ox, and of course the rousing and frantic My Generation, but the rest of the album doesn’t sound too much like a band that would go on to be such an important rock band of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.  There are two James Brown covers on this record, and that choice of artist doesn’t fit entirely well with the band that would go on to produce the glorious eight-and-a-half-minutes of Won’t Get Fooled Again.

The same goes for the Beatles – who would have thought the same voice that sang A Taste Of Honey would go on to rip through the lyrics of Helter Skelter. Or the Stones, when you compare the simplicity of their debut’s Route 66 cover, with the rawness and sleeze of later songs like Brown Sugar.

Speaking of the Stones, I was watching the Some Girls Live In Texas show the other day, and it’s such a contrast when the band play an early rock n’ roll cover. They’re a sloppy live band at the best of times, always sounding like they’re playing different songs, especially after Ronnie Wood joined their ranks; but on a cover of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, they gel together like a well-rehearsed group of 18-year olds.

The Who’s debut is very similar to a lot of those albums – solid, probably groundbreaking for the time, but quaint and quite dated when you compare it to their later albums.

Hit: My Generation

Hidden Gem: I Don’t Mind

Rocks In The Attic #270: The Rolling Stones – ‘Some Girls’ (1978)

RITA#270There’s something eternally embarrassing about the Rolling Stones from this album and onwards. They had started as the young rebels, turning into world-conquering rock stars as the ‘60s blended into the ‘70s. From this point on, the band started to struggle to appeal to younger audiences again. A whole new generation had come along, and they weren’t interested in Jumping Jack Flash. The new breed were interested in disco, punk and (very soon) new wave.

I saw the Stones’ concert Some Girls Live In Texas the other day (which pronounced incorrectly sounds like a line from the song Some Girls itself – ‘Some girls live in Texas / Some girls live in France…’). It was pretty hard to watch. Jagger strutting around in a garish yellow jacket, and trying his damndest to appeal to a much younger – and from the looks of the crowd, a much more female – audience. You could try and pin all of this on Ronnie Wood – this album is his first as a full-time member of the group – but that theory doesn’t stack up. He’d been on the fringes of the band for a while now, and while the energy of having somebody new along for the ride would revitalise the group, it seems more likely that the change in direction was down to external influences.

While their stage show to support the album looks like a band struggling to change direction, the album itself manages to do this far more effectively. The guitar-work on the album is not as accomplished as the Mick Taylor years (obviously!), but the biggest difference is that now you get Ronnie Wood running around the stage with Jagger and Richards, with Wyman remaining the only on-stage statue with Taylor out of the picture). Wood’s style of guitar playing does sound more like Richards’ much more than Taylor’s ever did, but it’s far too similar and so that crucial element of complimenting styles is now missing, and always will be.

Hit: Miss You

Hidden Gem: Before They Make Me Run

Rocks In The Attic #84: Led Zeppelin – ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1969)

Rocks In The Attic #84: Led Zeppelin - ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1969)Although this is only (only!) the 84th entry in the Rocks In The Attic blog, this is actually the 100th disc I’ve reviewed, taking into account all the double- and triple-albums that I’ve wrote about so far.

A few weeks ago I covered the Truth album by Jeff Beck – released prior to this debut by Led Zeppelin, and an album Jimmy Page must have had at the front of his mind when planning and arranging this.

This was a very cheap album to make. Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant paid for the 36 hours of studio time himself, and then sold the tapes to Atlantic Records. A studio cost of just £1,782 led to the record grossing more than £3.5 million. Not a bad return for a record company.

If I had to choose one album over the other, I’d go with Zeppelin’s debut, only because the songs fit together that little bit better. Led Zeppelin and Truth are very similar though. They even share a cover – You Shook Me – but the majority of the songs could be interchangeable. Both albums have soulful vocals, by Robert Plant and Rod Stewart respectively. The guitar work on each album (both players are ex-Yardbirds) is of a higher quality than most players at the time (and more in line with the likes of Hendrix and Clapton); and the bass is top-notch (by John Paul Jones on Led Zeppelin, and future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood on Truth).

The real point of differentiation is the percussion. There’s nothing wrong with the drums, by Mick Waller, on Jeff Beck’s album. They keep time, as they should. But they’re not a patch on Bonzo’s debut. The opening track on Led ZeppelinGood Times Bad Times – could almost be renamed How To Play Drums by John Henry Bonham. You can ignore everything else about that song and just concentrate on the drums – they are the very definition of a perfect drum track.

Hit: Dazed And Confused

Hidden Gem: Black Mountain Side

Rocks In The Attic #61: The Jeff Beck Group – ‘Truth’ (1968)

Rocks In The Attic #61: Jeff Beck - ‘Truth’ (1968)It took me a long time to track this down on vinyl. If Led Zeppelin albums are numbered, this could almost be titled Led Zeppelin 0.

Released a couple of months before Led Zeppelin (I) was recorded, this also features heavy blues arrangements by an ex-Yardbird (Jeff Beck), and a soulful white singer (Rod Stewart) providing vocals. It also features a reworking of the Willie Dixon song You Shook Me, which would also grace the first Zeppelin album.

Apparently Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page fell out over that one – with Beck claiming that Page stole his idea to do a heavy blues version of You Shook Me. You can understand this – even if Jimmy Page did come up with that idea first, Beck beat him to the punch and Page simply shouldn’t have put it on the first Zeppelin album.

Rounding out Beck’s  band are Ronnie Wood on bass, and noted blues explosion drummer Mick Waller.

You can’t help but compare the two albums – they’re very similar – but for me the first Zeppelin album is slightly more cohesive, but only just. Page even features on the Truth album, credited as the writer of Beck’s Bolero – an instrumental with Beck and Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on bass, Keith Moon on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano.

At the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of either album. There’s something very dirge-like about both albums, as though both architects are trying to outdo each other with a (very) heavy blues album, and without the adequate quantity of light (to balance out the shade), they can both be very hard to listen to.

Hit: Shapes Of Things

Hidden Gem: Beck’s Bolero

Rocks In The Attic #8: Rod Stewart – ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (1971)

Rocks In The Attic #8: Rod Stewart - ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (1971)I don’t know why I have this record in my collection. I certainly don’t remember buying it, and I don’t remember inheriting it. Presumably it was given to me. I mean, who would buy a Rod Stewart record, unless you were stuck for something to buy your Mum on Mother’s Day?

It’s a shame really, because Rod seems to have started off with good intentions. Lead singer with The Faces, lead vocals on that great Truth album by Jeff Beck (also in my collection), and then a solo a career which started off strongly and descended into Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? Ugh, even the spelling of that song makes me want to vomit.

It’s odd that this is Stewart’s third solo album, but all five members of The Faces appear on the record.  Kind of pointless, if you ask me. There’s some very nice guitar work on this album though. Worth a listen just for that.

Hit: Maggie May

Hidden Gem: Amazing Grace