I Feel Like Playing – Ronnie Wood
First published August 2010
You could reasonably expect that Ronnie’s first solo recording since his high profile marriage break up and the resultant media attention would be rueful, angry, thoughtful, regretful, vicious, heartbroken or jubilant. Sadly it is none of these things but is instead Professional. Each of the 12 tracks is competently written, produced to give a contemporary rock sound and effectively played by an assortment of high-profile Famous Friends. What the record lacks is a raison d’etre. Lyrics have never been Ronnie’s forte (one of the reason why Stewart-Wood or Wood-Lane credits were always so welcome) and the words here are Dull.
Generally the soul-influenced slowies (Catch Me, Tell Me Something) come off better than the Modern Riff Rockers (Thing About You, I Don’t Think So). Willie Dixon’s Spoonful is taken a fraction too fast, keeping the rock but losing the roll. The Eastern guitar effects on the track 100% stands out – playing electric sitar on Paint It Black every night has clearly left its mark. The final track Forever will be of interest to the Ronnie Wood completist, if such a thing exists. Originally written and recorded for ‘I’ve Got My Own Album To Do’ in 1974 but not included, a live version was included on the First Barbarians Live At Kilburn DVD from the same year. Re-recording the song 36 years later suggests either that it has emotional significance to Ronnie, or that he has run out of songs.
What this record demonstrates in spades is that at least in the studio Ronnie Wood can come up with a thoroughly well-played and competently assembled record, which may just be the point As Mick Jagger plans the inevitable Stones 50th Anniversary world tour the news that Ronnie still feels like playing will come to many as a great relief.