New Barbarians

Buried Alive: Live in Maryland

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A year after Some Girls, Keith Richard and Ron Wood set out on a brief, ramshackle tour as the New Barbarians, supported by Stanley Clark on bass, Ian McLaughlin and Bobby Keys. This was brief but legendary, since it could be romanticized as the Stones' Id unhinged -- the two hardest partiers in the band, out on their own, rampaging and pillaging, drinking and drugging, running wild. Apart from a single that was kind of released, but not really, there were no official recordings, but plenty of bootlegs circulated over the years, with no official release of the live material until 2006's Buried Alive: Live in Maryland appeared. This performance has circulated before, but never in such clear fidelity, or in such careful packaging, which is why this is worthwhile for those who already have the boots. But this is really for listeners (aka Stones fans) who have heard the legend of the New Barbarians, but not the band itself. And they'll find that the show may not quite be legendary, but it's sure a hell of a lot of fun. It's a little bit tighter than the band's reputation might suggest -- Richard and Wood may be a little ragged, but they're anchored by the rest of the band, which doesn't give this the sense of being a careening, glorious mess. And if Wood actually sings more than Richard, there's also little question who the real star is: whenever Keef steps to the mic, he pushes Wood to the side, and the encores are almost all his. But leadership doesn't quite matter here, since this is at its core just a guy's night out -- that the guys are pros means this isn't as loose as the Replacements, but it also means that they're tight enough to pull off an entertaining show while still seeming a bit wild. It's not quite a lost classic, then, but it's surely a great time and it's hard to imagine anybody who wants to hear this being disappointed by this two-disc set.

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