Jagger distilled to raw essentials
Mick Jagger: Wandering Spirit (Atlantic Records).
MICK Jagger's latest solo effort, Wandering Spirit, is proof Jagger - he of the enthralling performances (on and off stage) and angry rhetoric - is more than a showman.
Jagger had a little help along the way from hard rock producer Rick Rubin, whose recent credits include bands such as The Cult and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Rubin's control permeates the album. He guided the production, he even chose the songs, going so far as to make Jagger compose new four songs to replace some that did not meet his exacting standards.
To give the album a funky '90s feel, Courtney Pine on sax and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers were brought in. The overall sound is rock stripped down to the raw essentials.
While Jimmy Rip was co-writer, guitarist, arranger and musical director for the album, it was Rubin who accomplished the feat of capturing Jagger's wild delivery.
The album has a breadth and variety that can only be hailed as a watershed for Jagger. The title track verges on country and western, while Wired All Night and Put Me in the Trash are blistering tributes to his rock 'n' roll roots.
Jagger has admitted his early solo albums deliberately steered away from the trademark Keith Richards' style. However, rather than continually try to prove himself, Jagger has finally thrown pride to the wind, saying he does not care anymore. He is happyto copy Richards and believes he can do it as well as his bandmate.
Besides, Jagger has bigger fish to fry. He is writing material for yet another Rolling Stones album, the first since 1989's Steel Wheels. And another Stones tour will begin soon after its release.
With this and other commitments - Jagger plans to continue his acting career and spearhead a charity project in which British bands will cover the classic Gimme Shelter - promotion for Wandering Spirit has been kept to a minimum.
It is ironic Jagger has insisted the Stones take precedence over his solo projects when he is finally coming into his own without them.