Ron Wood

Slide on This

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Six years after its initial appearance, Ronnie Wood's fifth solo album, Slide on This, is reissued by KOCH International in a deluxe package. There is one bonus track, a remixed version of the leadoff song, "Somebody Else Might," but the real draw to this version of the album is the 56-page booklet packaged with it, which contains examples of Wood's painting. He takes as his subjects his fellow members of the Rolling Stones, along with other musical peers such as Pete Townshend and Keith Moon of the Who, the Edge from U2 (who contributes some guitar work to the album), and Bob Dylan, as well as music legends like Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, and even a few animal portraits. As a fine artist, he has talent and a certain flair, although it's hard to imagine that these paintings would be represented by prestigious galleries if it weren't for his musical career. Wood has been in one band or another since his teens, and his solo recordings have tended to rely heavily on his friends and associates. This one does, too, particularly on Bernard Fowler, long a backup singer on Rolling Stones tours, who co-wrote most of the material and also sings, plays keyboards, and does the drum programming. (Other name guests include drummer Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones; drummer Simon Kirke of Bad Company; Stones keyboard sideman Chuck Leavell; singer Joe Elliott of Def Leppard; pianist Ian McLagan, a bandmate of Wood's from Faces; and Hothouse Flowers, who back Wood on the song "Like It.") With Fowler, Wood tends to set up a groove over which the two sing, although the songs sometimes seem half-finished and tend to go on too long. Tracks such as "Josephine" and "Like It" are typical Rolling Stones rockers, while the acoustic ballad "Always Wanted More" also suggests the Stones of "Angie" or "Beast of Burden." The traditional tune "Ragtime Annie (Lillie's Bordello)" is a change-of-pace country fiddle number on which Wood apparently plays acoustic bass. As a singer, Wood as usual sounds like he took voice lessons from Bob Dylan, which makes the appearance of Fowler welcome, even if he tends to take over the tracks on which he sings. So, as a solo album, Slide on This is another busman's holiday for Ronnie Wood, something to do while waiting for the next band project to materialize.

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