Graded on a Curve:
Ron Wood,
Gimme Some Neck

Celebrating Ron Wood, born on this day in 1947.Ed.

If your idea of heaven would be a cross between the Rolling Stones and the Faces, then Ronnie Wood’s your man. He’s done stints in both bands after all, and while I infinitely prefer his work with the Faces (he kinda disappeared into the Stones machine, in my opinion) you can hear echoes of both bands in his 1979 solo LP Gimme Some Neck, which boasts a mix as dirty as Rod Stewart’s mind and lots of Wood’s jet engine of a guitar, the one to be heard on the immortal “Stay With Me.”

The only problem is Wood’s vocals; at best he sounds like a Dylan imitator, at worst his voice is as thin as cheap toilet paper. He’s at his best when he’s joined by the LP’s backing vocalists, who include some bloke named Mick Jagger, some other bugger named Keith Richards, and the legendary Jerry Williams, aka Swamp Dogg. Other notables on the LP include Mick Fleetwood, Dave Mason, Charlie Watts, Bobby Keys, and former Faces’ band mate Ian McLagan, whose keyboards give such songs “We All Get Old” an indisputable Faces feel.

But as I said previously, it’s the gritty mix, reminiscent of the Faces’ best music and the Stones’ Exile on Main Street, that makes this LP special. No polish here, thank you very much. Instead the best songs almost sound like demos, albeit good ones. Wood has his limitations both as a vocalist and a songwriter, but he sure knows his rock’n’roll, which means he’s well aware that it’s best left unvarnished, like a coat of primer on an old muscle car.

Songs like “F.U.C. Her” (which features Dave Mason on both acoustic guitar and drums) and “Infekshun” (great drumming, C. Watts, and keyboards by who knows who!) make up for what they lack in political correctness with a raucous sound that takes you all the way back to the invention of the duckwalk; “F.U.C. Her” features bona fide decent vocals by Wood and doesn’t sound like either the Faces or the Stones, while Wood’s wild and wooly guitar on the latter tune definitely makes up for his limited vocal range. And both he and McLagan dirty up the big sound of the Bob Dylan tune (Bobby wrote it for Eric Clapton, but dummy turned it down) “Seven Days.” Kudos to Wood’s pedal steel guitar, as well as to Mick Fleetwood’s tight drumming.

The best of the tunes (“Worry No More,” which boasts some great piano by Jerry Williams, and “Breakin’ My Heart”) on Gimme Some Neck have a tossed-off quality to them that recalls the best of the Faces and the Stones’ Exile, and even the songs I’m not crazy about have something to offer, such as Wood’s big bad guitar sound in “Buried Alive,” which features (as does “”Breakin’ My Heart”) Jagger on backing vocals.

It’s interesting, as well, to pick out the songs on which the Stones’ influence predominates. Take “Come to Realise,” which features Watts on drums and Richards on backing vocals, and sounds like it could have come straight off Some Girls. The same goes for “Buried Alive,” thanks in part to the contributions of Richards, Watt, and Jagger.

And then there are songs, such as the rip-snorting “Don’t Worry,” (which features some great tenor sax by Bobby Keys and one great guitar solo) that sound like Faces/Stones hybrids, Meanwhile, I only hear one song (“Lost and Lonely”), a ballad with some really awful backing vocals that remind me of the Eagles at their worst, that is beyond redemption.

An LP that opens with a song called “Worry No More” and ends with a song entitled “Don’t Worry” could be accused of trying to hard to sound relaxed, but these sessions WERE relaxed, as their raw as steak tartar sound attests. I’m not going to lie to you; this LP is not essential to anyone but diehard Faces and Stones enthusiasts, and to people who like their albums rare done. In other words, this ain’t no great statement or anything. But its simplicity and humility speak well for its maker, whose songwriting may not be for the ages but who plays one mean, mean guitar. And whose taste in band mates has guaranteed him a place amongst the immortals.

GRADED ON A CURVE:
B

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text