Posts Tagged ‘Ronnie Wood’

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The Rolling Stones – Goat’s Head Soup & It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll Outtakes ft. Mick Taylor Rare Solo Tracks Full Album (2019) In November 1972 The Rolling Stones relocated to Kingston, Jamaica’s Dynamic Sound Studios. Keith Richards said in year 2002: “Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! By that time about the only country that I was allowed to exist in was Switzerland, which was damn boring for me, at least for the first year, because I didn’t like to ski… Nine countries kicked me out, thank you very much, so it was a matter of how to keep this thing together..

Of the recording process, Marshall Chess, the president of Rolling Stones Records at the time, said in 2002, “We used to book studios for a month, 24 hours a day, so that the band could keep the same set-up and develop their songs in their free-form way, starting with a few lyrics and rhythms, jamming and rehearsing while we fixed the sound. It amazed me, as an old-time record guy, that the Stones might not have played together for six or eight months, but within an hour of jamming, the synergy that is their strength would come into play and they would lock it together as one…”
Jagger said of their approach to recording at the time, “Song-writing and playing is a mood. Like the last album we did (Exile on Main St.) was basically recorded in short concentrated periods. Two weeks here, two weeks there – then another two weeks. And, similarly, all the writing was concentrated so that you get the feel of one particular period of time. Three months later it’s all very different and we won’t be writing the same kind of material as Goats Head Soup.”

On the sessions and influence of the island, Richards said, “The album itself didn’t take that long, but we recorded an awful lot of tracks. There were not only Jamaicans involved, but also percussion players who came from places like Guyana, a travelling pool of guys who worked in the studios. It was interesting to be playing in this totally different atmosphere. Mikey Chung, the engineer at Dynamic, for example, was a Chinese man — you realise how much Jamaica is a multi-ethnic environment.”

The first track for Goat’s Head Soup that was recorded at Dynamic called “Winter”, which Mick Taylor said started with “just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there.” The album’s lead single, called “Angie”, was an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, “wanted another ‘Brown Sugar’ rather than a ballad.” Although the song was rumoured to be about David Bowie’s first wife Angela, both Jagger and Richards have consistently denied this.

In 1993, Richards, in the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back: The Best of The Rolling Stones, said that the title was inspired by his baby daughter, Dandelion Angela.  However, in his 2010 memoir Life, Richards denied this, saying that he had chosen the name for the song before he knew the sex of his expected baby: “I just went, ‘Angie, Angie.’ It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like ‘ohhh, Diana.’ I didn’t know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote ‘Angie’. In those days you didn’t know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a ‘proper’ name be added.” According to NME, the lyrics written by Jagger were inspired by Jagger’s breakup with Marianne Faithfull. This was the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who’d worked with the band since 1968’s Beggars Banquet sessions. Unfortunately, Miller had developed a debilitating drug habit during the course of his years spent with the Stones.

Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and Ian Stewart. Recording was completed in January 1973 in Los Angeles and May 1973 at London’s Island Recording Studios. The song “Silver Train” was a leftover from 1970s recordings at Olympic Sound. Goats Head Soup was also the band’s first album without any cover songs since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967.

The album It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from the Stones‘ European tour while the other side was to be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band’s favourite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Jimmy Reed’s “Shame Shame Shame,” and The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favour of an album with all-new material. The cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was the only recording to make the cut, while the “Drift Away” cover is a popular bootleg. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll marked the Stones‘ first effort in the producer’s chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins.”

On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time: “I think we’d come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it’d got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He’d got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn’t turned out as we wanted to – not blaming Jimmy or anything like that… But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records.”

Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by themselves or in collaboration with an outside producer. Most of the album’s backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland; solo vocals were recorded later by Jagger, about whom Richards would say, “he often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.” The song “Luxury” showed the band’s growing interest in reggae music, while “Till the Next Goodbye” and “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” continued their immersion in ballads.

Seven of the album’s 10 songs crack the four-minute mark, a feature that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s. Ronnie Wood, a long-time acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to the Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood’s house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood’s wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist’s home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood’s guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album’s lead single and title track, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”, was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album.

The released version of this song features Wood on 12-string acoustic guitar. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the 10 tracks (he did not play on tracks 2, 3 or 6). Due to Taylor’s absence, Richards is responsible for the brief lead guitar break on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” the distorted electric guitar on the title track (which includes the solo), and played both rhythm and lead guitar tracks on “Luxury.” However, on the occasional live performances of “Luxury” during the Tour of the Americas 1975, lead guitar was provided by Ron Wood. Even though Taylor is present on “Short and Curlies,” his slide guitar playing panned onto the right channel/speaker is mostly buried underneath Richards’ own lead guitar throughout most of the track, which is panned to the left channel/speaker. Similar to receiving no writing credits on the Stones‘ previous album, Goats Head Soup, Taylor reportedly had made song writing contributions to “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One,” but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997: “I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren’t really working together as a team so I’d spend a lot of time in the studio.” Taylor’s statement contradicts Jagger’s earlier comment concerning the album. Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about “Time Waits for No One” that Taylor “maybe threw in a couple of chords.” Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Elton John sideman Ray Cooper acted as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and mixing were performed at Jagger’s home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974.

 

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The Rolling Stones have released a new song. It’s titled “Living in a Ghost Town” and it marks the first single from the band since the release of the covers record Blue & Lonesome way back in 2016. In a press release, Mick Jagger said the band began working on the single before the coronavirus spread rapidly across the globe. “We thought would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now,” he said. Have a listen to this classic Stones track “Living in a Ghost Town,” which was completed in isolation.

The mid-tempo number written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards finds the veteran rock band grappling with an isolation that hits all too close to home amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. “I’m a ghost, livin’ in a ghost town/ You can look for me, but I can’t be found/ You can search for me, I had to go underground/ Life was so beautiful, then we all got locked down/ Feel like a ghost, livin’ in a ghost town,” Jagger sneers over a steady drumbeat and electric guitar line and the haunting harmonica sound.

“So the Stones were in the studio recording some new material before the lockdown and there was one song we thought would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now,” the frontman said in a statement about the song’s prescient timing. “We’ve worked on it in isolation. And here it is — it’s called ‘Living in Ghost Town.’” the surprise track marks The Rolling Stones’ first proper studio single since their 2016 cover album, which featured takes on blues classics such as Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra’s 1953 hit “Just Your Fool,” Little Walter’s “Hate to See You Go,” Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down” and more.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Stones were scheduled to tour North America this summer. They recently gave a remote performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” during the One World: Together at Home broadcast.

The official video for Living In A Ghost Town by The Rolling Stones

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“Bridges To Buenos Aires” is the latest concert film release from The Rolling Stones’ archive. The full-length show from their five night sell-out residency at the River Plate Stadium in Argentina’s capital city has been restored in full, and features a very special guest appearance from Bob Dylan.

Filmed on April 5th 1998, by this point, the band had played to over two million people on the first two legs of the tour in North America and Japan. Amongst many highlights in this show, special guest Bob Dylan joins the band onstage at River Plate for a unique performance of his classic ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

Filmed on April 5th 1998, by this point, the band had played to over two million people on the first two legs of the tour in North America and Japan. Amongst many highlights in this show, special guest Bob Dylan joins the band onstage at River Plate for a unique performance of his classic ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

A new trailer for Bridges to Buenos Aires features a few snippets of Dylan’s appearance, while it also teases renditions of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Flip the Switch” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Bridges to Buenos Aires is to be released as a two CD set with either a DVD or Blu-ray. It will also be issued on digital video, digital audio and a limited edition translucent blue, 180 gram triple vinyl LP. The concert film was restored from the original master tapes, while the audio was remixed and remastered from the live multitrack recordings.

The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

I already knew about Page and Keith and Clapton but…?! ,Those were the questions going through my head when I discovered this record. I was blown away. I picked this record up on recommendation in my local record shop because the guy who owned the shop—the older, wiser, connoisseur of rock ‘n’ roll vinyl—told me that I must have it.

Put on “Let Me Love You” at a loud volume, and you are instantly a cooler person. It’s just true. I don’t know the science, but it adds up, And Jeff Beck’s solo in that tune… still one of the very best.

Beck, fresh out of the Yardbirds, released his first solo album in 1968 with help from Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. They weren’t yet christened the Jeff Beck Group, but they were clearly a band at this point. (Other luminaries like Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Keith Moon also help out.) But most of the flash is provided by Beck, who slings his guitar into some new territory on ‘Truth,’ firing up old traditional and blues numbers with instrumental tricks.

By 1968, Jeff Beck had become a major pioneering force on the electric guitar, following Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, before clocking up two pop hits with Tallyman and Hi-Ho Silver Lining. By the time he was assembling the band for “Truth” he determined to make an album for himself.

With Beck having established himself as a guitar player of the first degree on a quartet of bold and wickedly wonderful Yardbirds albums in 1965 and 1966 (For Your Love, Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds, The Yardbirds [Roger The Engineer] and Over Under Sideways Down), producer/manager Mickie Most, thinking to capitalise on the guitarist’s visibility, conceived the notion of turning Beck into a pop crooner. All but forgetting that Beck was first and foremost an instrumentalist, Most shackled him with a series of less-than-guitar-focused songs.

“I always kept my fingers on players,” Beck commented in the 70s. “Every musician around London always knew what the other one was doing. All groups used to come and see each other play, and it was really nice. There seemed to be a purpose. It was like a competition: ‘They’re doing that in their act, so we’ll have to cut that out’. It was great fun; nice, hot competition. I really liked the scene then.

“I had to round up a singer,” he continued. “I couldn’t think of who to get. I always liked Rod [Stewart], I dug him, with the teased hair and all the rest of it. “He was out of work at the time. He was hanging around a [London] club called The Cromwellian. I asked him if he wanted a job and [thinking Beck was drunk] he said: ‘Yeah, but I don’t believe you. Ring me tomorrow’. And I was more sober than I’ve ever been that night. And I couldn’t believe that he said yeah, because I thought he was a snob.”

With a singer in tow, Beck then set out to look for a bass player. Ronnie Wood continues the story: “I knew Jeff, but I’d never had a chance to go and sit through a whole show. I’d just heard little bits of him when he used to play with a band called The Tridents [Beck’s pre-Yardbirds band]. I suppose Jeff was one of my best friends, even though he was in another band.”

After the relative ease of getting the first two band members, finding a drummer was a nightmare. Beck went through Ray Cook, his former bandmate in The Tridents, the Pretty Things’ Viv Prince, ex-John Mayall drummer Mickey Waller (we’ll come back to him), Rod Coombes (later of The Strawbs), and another former Mayall graduate, Aynsley Dunbar. Although the last named held real promise, it resulted in yet another drum debacle. “I played with Jeff for four months,”.

“He was a bastard,” Dunbar complained of Beck. “He was so loud I couldn’t hear. I didn’t have any mics on my drums; the band had 100-watt Marshall amplifiers blaring; no monitors. With drummer Mickey Waller re-hired, and after several months of gigs, the quartet went into Abbey Road Studios on May 14, 1968, to begin recording an album. The material the group recorded was a combination of the live set, reworkings and some odds and ends. The album opens with a devastating slow version of the Yardbirds’ hit Shapes Of Things, with Beck turning in a virtuoso performance. Let Me Love You was part of the stage set and one of the few self-written pieces, setting up the call-and-response sequence between guitar and voice that Beck and Stewart had perfected live.

On July 29, 1968, Jeff Beck, along with a kick-around vocalist, a future Rolling Stone, and a drummer with a lot of bash released Truth. The album was a miracle of fury and berserk beauty, a testament to the jaw-dropping chops of a 24- year old guitarist who, over the course of 10 tracks and around 40 minutes, ran the gamut from electric blues and modified R&B to psychedelically influenced rock, classical, and even a little heavy-metal instrumentalism. With Truth, released just months before Led Zeppelin’s debut  album release – and with songs and personnel in common.  Jeff Beck, vocalist Rod Stewart, bassist Ronnie Wood, and drummer Mickey Waller (the core band) made an album that would become every guitar player’s bible and every hard rock band’s Holy Grail.

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With Ronnie Wood on bass, Rod Stewart on vocals and guests like Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Keith Moon Nicky Hopkins, Aynsley Dunbar and Madeline Bell.  popping up for guest spots on Beck’s Bolero, it was an album that not only helped establish the British blues rock sound, but featured many of its best exponents. Audacious and experimental, it smashes genre conventions at every turn.

Morning Dew, another song from the touring circuit, is a pulsating interpretation of Tim Rose’s classic, and it’s given a dirge-like solemnity from Beck’s breathtaking mastery of the wah-wah pedal. Here (and on closer I Ain’t Superstitious), Beck demonstrates amazing prowess with the then-new effects pedal.

Then there is the great catastrophe of You Shook Me, the old blues chestnut written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Muddy Waters. The song was on Truth, and was then re-fashioned by Led Zeppelin for their debut album some months later.

Ol’ Man River, the Oscar Hammerstein II/Jerome Kern standard is an odd little creature. With Beck on bass, John Paul Jones on Hammond organ, and tympani by ‘You Know Who’ – actually Keith Moon – it is one of the album’s lesser moments. But it did prompt Truth engineer Ken Scott to recall The Who’s drummer living up to his ‘Loon’ nickname. “One has to remember Mr Moon playing tymps.

On vinyl, side two of Truth opens with Beck having picked up an acoustic for a shaky but stirring version of the classical… er, classic Greensleeves. “It was just an idle mess around in the studio while I was waiting for Mickie,” he said. “Why not? It was the vital last track of the album, and nobody could think of what to play, so I just played it. That’s why there’s all the plinking and plonking and bad notes in it. I can’t play acoustic guitar very well.”

Rock My Plimsoul is a track Beck recorded back during his Mickie Most/solo career period. That staggered little drum lick from Aynsley Dunbar (who is uncredited) sets the song in motion, and provides a rhythmic trampoline on which Beck’s guitar jumps and twirls.

Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me and I Ain’t Superstitious are masterfully reinvented, even Broadway hit Ol’ Man River and the Henry VIII-authored Greensleeves are dragged into Beck’s musical vision.

And then there is the timeless and epic instrumental Beck’s Bolero. Recorded in May 1966, this rendition of Ravel’s famous Bolero was the B-side of Hi Ho Silver Lining and was meant to serve as the launching pad for Beck’s idealised supergroup. Players include Jimmy Page on electric 12-string, Keith Moon on drums, John Paul Jones on bass, and Nicky Hopkins on piano.

‘Truth’ is surely one album to consider as a forward thinking, Blues Rock to Rock Metal template for the future of guitar music. Some of the tracks were written as early as 1966, which just makes you realise how cutting this album is for something released in 1968.

Truth is the debut album by Jeff Beck, released in 1968 released on Columbia Records and in the United States on Epic Records. It introduced the talents of his backing band the Jeff Beck Group, who were specifically Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, to a larger audience.

After leaving the Yardbirds in late 1966, Jeff Beck had released three commercial singles, two in 1967 featuring Beck on lead vocals, and one without vocals in 1968. All had been hits on the British singles chart, and all were characterized by songs aimed at the pop chart on the A-side at the request of producer Mickie Most. Harder rock and blues-based numbers were featured on the B-sides, and for music on the album, Beck opted to pursue the latter course.

Recording sessions for the album took place over four days, 14th–15th May and 25th–26th May 1968. Nine eclectic tracks were taken from these sessions, including covers of “Ol’ Man River” by Jerome Kern, the Tudor period melody “Greensleeves”, and Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew”, which had been a 1966 hit single for Tim Rose. Beck acknowledged two giants of Chicago blues in songs by Willie Dixon – Muddy Waters’ “You Shook Me” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”.

The album started with a song from Beck’s old band: “Shapes of Things”. Three originals were credited to “Jeffrey Rod”, a pseudonym for Beck and Stewart, all reworkings of previous blues songs: “Let Me Love You” the song of the same title by Buddy Guy; “Rock My Plimsoul” from “Rock Me Baby” by B.B. King; and “Blues Deluxe” similar to another song by B.B. King, “Gambler’s Blues”.”Plimsoul” had already been recorded for the B-side to the 1967 single “Tallyman”, and the tenth track, an instrumental featuring Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon, and future Beck group pianist Nicky Hopkins, “Beck’s Bolero”, had been edited and remixed for stereo from the earlier B-side to “Hi Ho Silver Lining”. Due to contractual conflicts, Moon had been credited on the original album as “You Know Who”. This album was Rod Stewart’s first-ever album-length lead vocal showcase as an artist, and is regarded, along with ‘Beck-Ola’ as a musical touchstone for hard rockers in the years that followed.

Truth is regarded as a seminal work of heavy metal because of its use of blues toward a hard rock approach.

On 10th October 2006, Legacy Recordings remastered and reissued the album for compact disc with eight bonus tracks. Included were two earlier takes of “You Shook Me” and “Blues Deluxe”, the latter without the overdubbed applause, and the six tracks making up the three singles by Beck. The B-side to the 1968 single “Love Is Blue”, “I’ve Been Drinking”, was another “Jeffrey Rod” special, this time reconfiguring the Johnny Mercer song “Drinking Again”

  • Jeff Beck – electric guitars, acoustic guitar on “Greensleeves”; pedal steel guitar on “Shapes of Things”; bass guitar on “Ol’ Man River”; lead vocals on “Tallyman” and “Hi Ho Silver Lining”,backing vocals on “Let Me Love You”
  • Rod Stewart – lead vocals,
  • Ronnie Wood – bass guitar
  • Micky Waller – drums
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar on “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and “Beck’s Bolero”; Hammond organ on “Ol’ Man River” and “You Shook Me”; arrangements on “Hi Ho Silver Lining”
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano on “Morning Dew”, “You Shook Me”, “Beck’s Bolero” and “Blues Deluxe”

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During rehearsals, I draw up set lists on big canvases, putting down the songs and the keys they’re in. We hang these set lists on the rehearsal room walls so we know where we’ve been and where we’re going.’ – Ronnie Wood

Over the last two decades, each song the Rolling Stones have played in rehearsals has been recorded by Ronnie Wood in a series of hand-painted set lists. The result is a unique collection of canvases that document sell-out tours across the globe, such as the band’s landmark 50 & Counting tour, historic concerts such as 2016’s performance in Havana, as well as closed-door sessions for their latest album, Blue & Lonesome.
Now for Genesis subscribers and for all fans of the Rolling Stones, we are delighted to present Ronnie Wood’s painted set lists for the first time. Choose from three new limited editions, each signed by Ronnie Wood.
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I illustrate the band’s set lists, sometimes Keith and Mick add little doodles, and they become works of art in their own right.’ – Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood has chosen nearly 100 painted set lists to be published for the first time. Presented in chronological order, the collection follows the group’s travels to foreign rehearsal locations that were kept secret at the time. They reveal the songs rehearsed for historic performances, such as the Rolling Stones‘ 2014 inaugural concert in Israel, as well as documenting the shows as eventually played. The colourful hand-lettering recalls Wood’s early art school days when he worked as a sign writer. The set lists are visually eye catching and filled with fascinating details. Wood’s calligraphy is interspersed with his own illustrations, doodles by fellow band members, and jotted notes that all add up to paint a picture of life on the road with the Rolling Stones.

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‘It could be somebody coming in at the wrong moment, or forgetting the arrangement and suddenly going to the middle eight, when you can see Keith mouthing, “What the hell is he doing?” It’s all part of what keeps the band vibrant.’ – Ronnie Wood

In a new manuscript spanning 212 pages, Wood offers a glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most famous rock bands in the world. Through Wood’s artwork and his personal reflections, the reader is given an insight into the band’s touring over the years.

Throughout the book, Ronnie Wood brings the story of the set lists to life, as he discusses the band’s creative process, learning up to 80 songs per tour; personal highlights, such as Valentine’s Day 2014, when a small group of fans were invited into rehearsals; collaborations with fellow musicians such as The Black Keys, Eric Clapton, Florence Welch and Jeff Beck; and the band’s various reunions with former Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.

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The Set Pieces book is limited to only 1,000 numbered copies, each signed by Ronnie Wood.

Presented in a cloth-bound slipcase, the 212-page volume is quarter bound in burgundy leather with purple and gold screen-printed covers – emblazoned with the lizards that feature on one of Ronnie’s custom-made guitar straps. Ronnie Wood’s large format Set Piecesbook (page size: 297mm x 420mm / 11 ¾” x 16 ½”) is hand-finished with gilt page edging and tooling.

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First Step

When vocalist Steve Marriott left to form Humble Pie, his three Small Faces bandmates regrouped with Jeff Beck Group axeman Ron Wood and singer Rod Stewart. With the name shortened to Faces, the U.K. quintet made an auspicious debut in 1970 with the album release “FIRST STEP”, a title that made sly reference to the beginner’s guide to guitar that Wood holds in the cover photo.

First Step was the first album by the then British group re named Faces, released in early 1970. The album was released only a few months after the Faces had formed from the ashes of the Small Faces (from which Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan hailed) and The Jeff Beck Group (from which Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood hailed.) The album is credited to the Small Faces on the cover , The album cover shows Ronnie Wood holding a copy of Geoffrey Sisley’s seminal guitar tutorial First Step: How to Play the Guitar Plectrum Style.

But there was nothing inexperienced about any of these musicians, and their chemistry and superb performances are evident on each of the 10 tracks. After an ace cover of Dylan’s “Wicked Messenger” the material is all original, with songwriting duties spread fairly evenly among the members; with a pair of instrumentals and such fine tracks as “Around the Plynth” Other highlights include Ronnie Lane’s folksy “Stone”, the hard-rocking “Shake, Shudder, Shiver”, “Three Button Hand Me Down” (on which both Lane and Wood play the bassline, affording the track a unique sonic quality in the Faces catalogue), and the soulful “Flying”.

it’s a consistently enjoyable collection. Faces were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, and the journey that brought them there begins with FIRST STEP.

In August 2015, the album was reissued in a remastered and expanded form, including two previously-unreleased bonus tracks recorded shortly after the album’s release, “Behind the Sun” and “Mona the Blues” (although the latter was remade by Lane and Wood in 1972 for their Mahoney’s Last Stand film soundtrack).

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This week in 1974: The Rolling Stones scored their 5th US chart topping album with their 12th British & 14th American studio release, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll’, released on Rolling Stones Records (it peaked at #2 in the UK); the LP’s success was fueled largely by its two main singles the title track & a cover of the 1966 Motown hit for The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”  it was the first album that Keith Richards & Mick Jagger produced together for the band, under their adopted moniker of ‘The Glimmer Twins’

Recorded in the 1970s, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’ is as iconic a Rolling Stones song as any that the band cut in the 1960s. It is a song with a tangled web of a history having first been recorded on 24th July 1973, not in a traditional studio but at The Wick, Ronnie Wood’s home in Richmond. According to Bill Wyman, who admittedly wasn’t there, “On Tuesday 24th July, Mick and Keith went to Ronnie Wood’s house, the Wick in Richmond, and recorded a version of ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’, with Ronnie, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan.” Ronnie, Jones and McLagan were all in The Faces along with Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart. Other reports have David Bowie at Ronnie’s house, but that Keith was not there.
Whatever the truth that has been long forgotten, as to who was there and who wasn’t, this was the genesis of the song. Sometime later in the year Willie Weeks, an American session musician who worked with both George Harrison and David Bowie around this time, added bass to the song. In April 1974 the basic track that was recorded at Ronnie’s house was used to finish the song, at this time Ian Stewart added his distinctive piano to the track.

According to Mick, “The idea of the song has to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, ‘oh, it’s not as good as their last one’ business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a light hearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing.”

The song became the title track for their 1974 album and was released as a single on 26th July 1974, three months before the LP came out. But the record company at the time were not sure it was a single, According to Keith there was opposition to it, but as he said at the time, “That song is a classic. The title alone is a classic and that’s the whole thing about it.”

The Rolling Stones‘ official promo video for ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’. The track is the title single from the album It’s Only Rock and Roll (1974). Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and produced by the Glimmer Twins, the song went straight to number one in the US charts when it was released.

The video features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor dressed in sailor suits performing in a circus tent that fills with bubbles  that features the band in sailor suits, playing in a tent which gradually filled with bubbles. The froth was detergent and the reason they wore the sailor suits was because none of them wanted to ruin their own clothes. According to Keith, “Poor old Charlie nearly drowned… because we forgot he was sitting down.”

The video was directed by filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also directed the promo videos “Neighbours”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Child Of The Moon”. Lindsay-Hogg also directed promos for the Beatles and the Who.

It went top 20 in both America and the UK and has been played at just about every live show ever since.

There are very few albums which are indispensable. The Beatles Revolver, Stones Exile on Maine Street and the like. For me, truly great records capture a moment.

The Faces‘ third album from 1971, came in the middle of a whirlwind year for singer Rod Stewart.  In the mere months that separated the album “Long Player” and “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink” Stewart had a huge hit with “Maggie May” and his first No. 1 solo album (‘Every Picture Tells a Story’) his third solo album was something that would soon irreparably damage the band, but at the time it was mere good fortune, helping bring them some collateral success that they deserved. Certainly, it didn’t change the character of the album itself, which is the tightest record the band ever made. Granted that may be a relative term, since sloppiness is at the heart of this band, but this doesn’t feel cobbled together, (which the otherwise excellent Long Player did).

‘A Nod Is as Good as a Wink .finally gave the group their long-awaited hit single in “Stay with Me,” . Loose, bluesy and boozy, rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t get more natural than this. The Faces and solo Rod Stewart were never as good as this before or since. From the opening ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’ which is awesome, the songs just get better and better. Their interpretation of Chuck Berry’s Memphis Tenessee followed by ‘Too Bad’ will make you feel grateful that you’re alive. Ending with the rampaging good times of “That’s All You Need.” In between, Ronnie Lane serves up dirty jokes the exquisitely funny “You’re So Rude”  and heartbreaking ballads (the absolutely beautiful “Debris” , and generally serves up a nonstop party. There are few records that feel like a never-ending party like this seventies album , the slow moments are for slow dancing, and as soon as it’s over, it’s hard not to want to do it all over again. It’s another classic –

They were helped in that respect by new co-producer Glyn Johns, who came in as an impartial outside set of ears while helping to wrangle the unruly band members into recording shape. It couldn’t have been the easiest gig, but it’s easy to understand why Johns was attracted to it — aside from Stewart’s formidable vocals, the group boasted the prodigious talents of keyboardist Ian McLagan , drummer Kenney Jones and perpetually underrated bassist and great songwriter Ronnie Lane .

With Johns helping the Faces were brought more attentively to bear on some of their finest material. While public perception was increasingly focused on Stewart, the new album titled A Nod Is As Good As a Wink … to a Blind Horse — presented the band at their creatively democratic best. Of the eight originals they lined up for the LP, the majority were co-written, with Lane, McLagan, Stewart and Wood all having a hand in the record’s compositional makeup. As Lane recalled in the years after its release, Nod captured a group firing on all cylinders.

Side One
1. “Miss Judy’s Farm” (Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) – 3:42
2. “You’re So Rude” (Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan) – 3:46
3. “Love Lives Here” (Lane, Stewart, Wood) – 3:09
4. “Last Orders Please” (Lane) – 2:38
5. “Stay with Me” (Stewart, Wood) – 4:42

Side Two

1. “Debris” (Lane) 4:39
2. “Memphis, Tennessee” Incorrectly titled on original US pressings of the album as simply “Memphis” (Chuck Berry) – 5:31
3. “Too Bad” (Stewart, Wood) – 3:16
4. “That’s All You Need” (Stewart, Wood) – 5:05

PERSONNEL
ROD STEWART – vocals
RONNIE LANE – bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals
RONNIE WOOD – lead, slide, acoustic and pedal steel guitars, backing vocals on “Too Bad”, harmonica
IAN McLAGAN – piano, organ, backing vocals “Too Bad”
KENNEY JONES – drums, percussion
HARRY FOWLER – steel drums on “That’s All You Need”
GLYN JOHNS – co-producer, engineer
PRODUCED BY FACES AND GLYN JOHNS