Stray Cats (Random Music Notes) – Keef, The Faces, Rod and JT

Keith-Richards-Cross-Eyed-Heart

As I mentioned in the ‘Mission Statement’ for Bourbon And Vinyl, I am very focused on older artists making new music. These older “classic rock” artist’s new music tends to get overlooked or ignored completely these days. I have already tried to shine a light on the amazing Fats Domino tribute album, Goin’ Home and will from time to time try to throw some light on other newer music from the artists who have meant the most to me. Occasionally this will take the form of what I call “Stray Cats”, named for the great Rolling Stones tune, which is my way of organizing a few random thoughts.

Keith Richards has a new album coming out in September, Crosseyed Heart. Keith’s first solo album, Talk Is Cheap was a tour de force. It’s been described as the best Stones album not made by the Stones. His follow-up Main Offender didn’t quite have the same energy as Talk, but still had some great tracks like, 999 and Demon. I don’t know what the new album will hold but I can not stop listening to the first track, Trouble. It’s a classic Keith riff. He’s working with his old buddy and X-Pensive Wino partner Steve Jordan on the production. Jordan also provides some great drumming on this track. Intrepid studio guitarist Waddy Watchel (Steve Nicks, Don Henley, Warren Zevon) provides some Mick Taylor-esque guitar solo’ing. This tune is just fun to turn up loud. It doesn’t hurt that it could be the theme song for my wife’s cat, but that’s another story and I don’t want to get off topic.

One of rocks greatest and most overlooked bands, The Faces, has finally answered my prayers and will reunite. Well, I should say partially reunite as Ian MacLagan sadly passed away last year and Ronnie Lane passed away quite a long time ago. The Faces boasted Rod Stewart as their front man, Ronnie Wood (later of Stones fame) on guitar, Kenny Jones (later of the Who) on drums, with MacLagan on keyboards and Lane on bass. The period of 1970 to 1975 when the Faces were together were not coincidentally the time period of Rod’s greatest solo work. These guys have been rumored to be getting back together for years but it always gets scuttled at the last minute. Rod didn’t even show up when they were inducted to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. I tend to agree with Ronnie Wood that Rod’s money guys and handlers don’t want him doing anything where he has to split the check. So we have to settle for a one night, one-off reunion for Prostate Cancer in the UK on Sept 5th. Lets hope a) someone has the sense to tape these guys and b) that this might spur on some further Faces activity in 2016.

Speaking of Rod Stewart, he also has a new album coming out in October, Another Country. Have no fear Rod isn’t going country music on us. Many of us had given up on Rod Stewart when he quit writing his own songs and then started doing those awful American Songbook schmaltzy, crap records. While writing his autobiography Rod apparently became inspired to write again and released the album Time a few years ago. Well, I’d given up on Rod but since I’d been publicly bitching about him not writing his own stuff any more, when he finally did, I felt obligated to buy the album. And I’ll tell you what, I was damn surprised. It was a solid record. Now, apparently inspired by current events, Rod wrote a collection of songs from the view point of soldiers who are away from home, in “another country”, hence the title. Rod has always been a fan of the “letter to home” style songs, just put on You Wear It Well as a refresher. His first single from the song is another tune that’s in high rotation at the house. Its a Mumford-y thing called Love Is. You can find the video on YouTube. I shouldn’t like this song as much as I do, but damn is it catchy. It’s a very folky tune, back to his roots. I have no idea what the album will be like, but this catchy Love Is has me hopeful.

Finally, James Taylor has also returned to writing his own music. He hadn’t released an album in like 10 years but returned recently with Before This World. Now, James isn’t exactly rock ‘n’ roll, but the guy sings like an angel. I used to put on his Greatest Hits album, and it was money with the ladies… of course, those records are sealed. The new album is brief at only 10 songs, and it sort of quickly glides by but its a solid effort. It’s nothing earth shaking but its a pleasant album for a hungover Sunday. And I will admit, my daughter came in the room while I was playing this album and said, “I feel this is a guy we only listen to at Christmas…” Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.

Thus concludes the Stray Cats for today. My advice is check out a few of these tunes. You may find something you like. Enjoy!

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