keith richards

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The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light (Universal)

The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light (Universal)

Some might say that the last thing the world needs right now is another live Stones collection. After all Get Yer Ya Ya's Out (released a whopping 38 years go!) is the hardcore fan's classic, and we've had Love You Live, Still Life, Flashpoint, Stripped and No Security since. And it was only four years ago that we had Live Licks, a...

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

The intersection of highways 61 and 49 near Clarksdale in northwest Mississippi doesn't look particularly special: there's a car yard, a service station, a couple of kids listlessly kicking a ball outside Abe's barbecue shop . . . Just the usual stuff. The only thing to distinguish it from hundreds of other such intersections in the state is...

PIANIST JAY McSHANN: From Charlie Parker to Keith Richards . . .

PIANIST JAY McSHANN: From Charlie Parker to Keith Richards . . .

About 20 years ago I interviewed the legendary Kansas City pianist, Jay McShann, in an Auckland bar. He’d flown in late the previous afternoon, had a “talk-rehearsal” with the local rhythm section, and that night played two exceptional sets of good-humoured Kansas City boogie and blues, sometimes sounding like he was coming at...

CAN'T BE SATISFIED, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUDDY WATERS by ROBERT GORDON

CAN'T BE SATISFIED, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUDDY WATERS by ROBERT GORDON

When McKinley Morganfield’s grandmother named him Muddy after the nearby Mississippi and he later took the surname Waters, there seemed something oddly symbolic in it. Here was man who wasn’t born in the year he said he was, claimed a town he wasn’t born in as his birthplace and carried a name he wasn’t born with....

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

More than four decades after one of the family first scored a hit, and 25 years from the first Neville Brothers album Fiyo on the Bayou, you could almost forgive the brothers Aaron, Art, Charles and Cyril for slowing down a little.  The oldest, keyboardist Art, is 68 and had a close call with death after back surgery in late 2001. And...

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

The cracked and distinctive vocals of Faithfull have, as with Leonard Cohen, a devoted following -- and this double album which sounds typically whisky'n'smoke-cured is perhaps for longtime loyalists. Helmed by producer and musical conceptualist Hal Willner (who did, among other fascinating albums, the Charles Mingus tribute Weird Nightmare),...

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SEVENTIES: The decade of decadence

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SEVENTIES: The decade of decadence

When Virgin Records paid about US$50 million for a slice of the Rolling Stones back in 1991 they were investing in the past more than the future. That’s with all due respect to the legend that is Jagger-Richards -- a collective proper noun appropriate given their separate solo careers have been abject commercial failures and largely...

THE ROLLING STONES; THE SIXTIES: Through the past darkly (again)

THE ROLLING STONES; THE SIXTIES: Through the past darkly (again)

Quite when pop became rock is difficult to pinpoint. It is possible to argue that dark, dense and adult rock has been around for more than 50 years. Think of Ronnie Hawkins' threatening delivery of Who Do You Love with these hard edge lyrics: "I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire, got a cobra snake for a necktie". That doesn't...

THE ROLLING STONES; 1981 TO NOW: On with the show . . .

THE ROLLING STONES; 1981 TO NOW: On with the show . . .

The Rolling Stones stumbled out of the decadent decade of the Seventies into the uncertain Eighties which kicked off with post-disco dance, post-punk, New Wave and other styles which they weren't familiar with. But what else could these rich boys do but play in a rock'n'roll band? Not a lot as their career from '81 to the present day...

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

The Rolling Stones have had quite a marketing profile in their 40th-anniversary year: the reissue of all their early albums through to the mid 70s; the 40 Licks double-disc hit-stacked compilation; the 40 Licks global jaunt (billed as their "farewell tour" in some circles) which has been more musically and financially successful than...

ROLLING WITH THE STONES by BILL WYMAN: Every picture tells a story

ROLLING WITH THE STONES by BILL WYMAN: Every picture tells a story

There's a widespread belief - peculiarly pervasive among rock writers, oddly enough - that Bill Wyman's Stone Alone autobiography of the Rolling Stones was boring, as if this was a surprise. Wyman, the bassist who quit in late '91, was always the odd man out. Seven years older than Mick Jagger and born with the superbly Dickensian...

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SIXTIES (Chrome Dreams DVD/Triton)

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SIXTIES (Chrome Dreams DVD/Triton)

We have been down this occasionally interesting path previously with the Chrome Dreams label which has delivered DVDs about bands such as the Small Faces, the whole German electronic movement (Kraftwerk, Can et al) and Frank Zappa, as well as CDs of Bob Dylan's jukebox and a compilation of his Radio Hour music (no intros by Bob though). None...

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

The live album -- or double live as was standard in the days of vinyl -- has had a chequered history in rock: some live albums defined an artists career (Frampton Comes Alive, Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous) and others added little to the sum of our knowledge (most of Dylan's). Some artists regularly drop live albums (Paul McCartney, who...

The Quireboys: White trash rhythm'n'booze

The Quireboys: White trash rhythm'n'booze

The press didn't rate them at the time, they had a solid and loyal following of largely uncool fans, and they themselves seemed to take it all as a joke. It was only rock'n'roll, but they liked it. My friends either didn't know of them and didn't care to, or did and hated them. I liked 'em. They were the Quireboys and we met in a...

Ronnie Spector: Girl from the Ghetto (2006)

Ronnie Spector: Girl from the Ghetto (2006)

Revenge is a dish best served cold -- and with a pointed, fuckin' still-angry-at-you-bastardfucker lyric. And Ronnie got her chance when her former husband Phil Spector was facing a murder charge. Ronnie Spector, the voice of the classic girl group the Ronettes of the Sixties which Phil produced, married the mad boss and spent years as a...

THE ROLLING STONES; TRUTH AND LIES (Eagle Media DVD)

THE ROLLING STONES; TRUTH AND LIES (Eagle Media DVD)

While it may have been possible to make an even more superficial DVD of the Stones' career than this, it would take a bit more laziness. Relying on newsreel footage, a few talking heads and with no access to their music, what you get here is a fast trip through their fortysomething year career with most of the emphasis on the Sixties and...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aerosmith; Toys in the Attic (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aerosmith; Toys in the Attic (Sony)

There's a fairly lazy shorthand about Aerosmith, they are the band that so wanted to be the Rolling Stones that over time frontman Steve Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry started to look like Mick and Keith. That is sort of true, but --  especially in their early days -- they had a rock momentum and sound of their own. They did however draw...

Deadstring Brothers: Sao Paulo (Bloodshot)

Deadstring Brothers: Sao Paulo (Bloodshot)

With the impending 40th anniversary re-issue of the Stones' Exile on Main Street, the time might be right to rediscover rootsy, toxic, blues-driven rock'n'roll which slews sideways out of the speakers fueled by whisky and weed. If that's the case, then this album is neatly timed to anticipate the Stones. On their fourth album...

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

Few albums in rock have been so surrounded in dark mythology as this sprawling double album which was the last great gasp of the Rolling Stones. Certainly subsequent albums -- Goats Head Soup, It's Only Rock'n'Roll and Black and Blue particularly -- had their great moments but (aside from Jagger's embrace of New York dance and Richards'...

STONES IN EXILE, a documentary by STEPHEN KIJAK

STONES IN EXILE, a documentary by STEPHEN KIJAK

Keith Richards once offered a neat observations of Mick Jagger: "Mick's a lovely bunch of blokes." Jagger, by all acounts, has that uncanny ability to switch his langauge and accent depending on who he is talking to: with the turn of his head he can go from plum-in-mouth when chatting with a lord or lady to a Jamaican accent if the...

The Flying Burrito Brothers: Wild Horses (1970)

The Flying Burrito Brothers: Wild Horses (1970)

Few Rolling Stones songs have had such an interesting history -- right up to Susan Boyle's recent interpretation -- as this one. Keith Richards has always claimed the title was his; Mick Jagger insists the song came from the first words Marianne Faithfull said when she came arround from a failed suicide attempt in '69: "Wild horses...

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union (Mercury)

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union (Mercury)

The story of how much Elton has admired Leon Russell for many decades (and who was a profound influence on his playing in the early Seventies) is well known, as is how Russell's star fell slowly from that peak when he was helming Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, then appearing with George Harrison, Dylan and others at the concert for...

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2006): Stone Survivor

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2006): Stone Survivor

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, in a hotel in Tokyo, calls an hour after the appointed time but his manager has previously been full of apologies, and fielding three phone calls simultaneously. Richards is polite, friendly and his conversation is peppered with laughter which sounds like marbles rattling around in the bottom of a muddy...

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

Most reviews of this frequently funny, sometimes insightful and too often rambling autobiography -- Keith + tape recorder + ghost writer Fox -- have concentrated on the obvious: the sniping at Mick Jagger which occurs a little in the first three-quarters but reaches a peak in the final throes where the autobiography/chronological account runs...

Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight: Hush Now (1965)

Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight: Hush Now (1965)

It's well known that Jimi Hendrix didn't have much business sense, but he sure knew how to play guitar. This track -- one of about 60 recorded with the little known singer/guitarist Curtis Knight at a small studio in New York -- is a measure of both. Hendrix -- at that time Jimmy James -- had recently been fired from Little Richard's touring...

Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy; The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony)

Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy; The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony)

In 1964 the Isley Brothers – a doo-wop/r'n'b outfit from Cincinnati who had scored a hit with Twist and Shout – were playing a show in a baseball stadium in Bermuda. They had their own in-built support act, they simply sent their band out to warm up the crowd. But on this night there was whooping from the audience and a guy came...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

Aside from the obvious reason (40th anniversaries), there is another explanation for some much Stones stuff from the late Sixties/early Seventies: that was when they became the bad boy phenomenon which most people associate with them. There is also a lot of footage and music, and by the late Seventies and early Eighties things were less...

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

This too slight, slightly self-justifying, frequently honest and altogether typically disappointing rock autobiography has taken on much more meaning since its 2008 publication, especially with Ronnie's new solo album in late 2010. In the closing chapters here especially he spends a lot of time proffesing his love for his wife Jo, how she...

Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

Standing between metal-edge country-rock and disheveled Keith Richards riff-hard rock'n'roll blues, Social Distortion don't exactly reinvent the wheel, but they do enjoy burning rubber on this 11-song set which invites you to roll down the window, rack up the volume and point the bonnet down a strip of empty highway. For an American...

THE ROLLING STONES, AN ESSAY: Living in Memory Motel

THE ROLLING STONES, AN ESSAY: Living in Memory Motel

If memory serves me still, it was schoolmate Chris Gilbert and I who went to see the Stones together at Auckland's Civic Theatre on March 1, 1966. I know I wore a black polo-necked sweater (of the kind that Stones Brian Jones and Keith Richard favoured), and that the show, while not actually changing my life, had a profound --and not...

LEON RUSSELL INTERVIEWED (2011): Ever the journeyman

LEON RUSSELL INTERVIEWED (2011): Ever the journeyman

When Leon Russell left his home in Tulsa for Los Angeles after having played in teenage rock bands, a career in music wasn't what he was expecting. But in a couple of months he will receive two major awards: he will be inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Russell – now 68 -- spent time as...

THE ROLLING STONES LIVE IN CHICAGO (2002): Men of Stone

THE ROLLING STONES LIVE IN CHICAGO (2002): Men of Stone

From the back row of Chicago's United Centre, about four storeys above the stage, Mick Jagger - not the biggest of men anyway - is the size of a matchstick held at arm's length.But even without his roadmap features projected on the screen behind him, this is undeniable Mick. He struts'n'thrusts across the stage and still possesses that animal...

The Rolling Stones: Child of the Moon (1968)

The Rolling Stones: Child of the Moon (1968)

Although the Stones' psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request of late '67 has taken a bad rap, they didn't entirely abandon the trippy sound even as they put it behind them and moved into a more blues-based rock for their next single Jumpin' Jack Flash and the album Beggar's Banquet (which had Street Fighting Man on it). They might...

BEN WATERS INTERVIEWED (2011): One more time for the boogie woogie man Ian Stewart

BEN WATERS INTERVIEWED (2011): One more time for the boogie woogie man Ian Stewart

When he was just nine – 26 years ago – Ben Waters briefly saw something in a pub which changed his life. He was at his auntie and uncle's 25th wedding anniversary in the Wynyard Gap in Somerset, just across the border from his home county of Dorset, and the great pianist Ian Stewart was a family friend who sat down and played...

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

At a first glance this lavishly illustrated and beautifully presented book -- with dozens of relevant, interesting and never before seen photos of the bands, and of period-piece memorabilia, movie posters and the like -- looks fairly lightweight. But fun. A quick read and you've got it: the two authors posit a rivalry between these two...

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

Rock critic, writer and most recently university lecturer Jim DeRogatis doesn't pull his punches, but keeps a sense of humour, about his music and its stars. With Gregg Kot, he has hosted Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio since '99 (“the world's only rock'n'roll talk show”) and they banter about fallen heroes,...

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

In June 1964, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still only 20, the Rolling Stones took time out from their short American tour to head into the famous Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. With famed engineer Ron Malo, who had worked with many of the blues giants who had walked through Chess, they recorded five songs...

WILLIE NELSON ALBUM REVIEWS 2000 - 2005: What a long strange trip

WILLIE NELSON ALBUM REVIEWS 2000 - 2005: What a long strange trip

He smoked a joint on the roof of the White House, sang with Julio Iglesias and on We Are The World, and he's still here. And still great -- sometimes. Willie Nelson, much like Dean Martin, has an effortless approach to life -- and recording. He could, as they say, sing a telephone directory and make it sound intersting. But latterly it is...

BILL WYMAN, STONE ALONE REVIEWED (1990): Insider looking out

BILL WYMAN, STONE ALONE REVIEWED (1990): Insider looking out

It’s probably a bit cruel to destroy people’s faith in myths -- like telling a six-year old the truth about Santa Claus -- but the reason there are so few decent autobiographies and biographies in rock music is simple: the central characters aren’t that interesting. Being a musician at that fascinating interface of low art...

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

Director Martin Scorsese might have his name large on the credits of this 2006 Rolling Stones concert but it is clear from the opening scenes just who is in charge: it is the Stones, and Mick Jagger in particular. During hilarious opening scenes which recall Spinal Tap and the pilot for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jagger is seen rejecting a model...

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2013): Coming down again

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2013): Coming down again

A few minutes before the appointed time the phone rings and a scratchy voice wheezes, “Hello man, s'Keith”. And it is. No intermediary, no international call connection through a third party, just Keith Richards laughing down the line. Which is unexpected in a world where stars have minions to connect calls (and sometimes...

THE LATE, GREAT KEITH RICHARDS: an early obit

THE LATE, GREAT KEITH RICHARDS: an early obit

When Keith Richards fell out of that palm tree -- or fell off a stump as we later heard -- he was hospitalised in Auckland and underwent brain surgery. Given the seriousness of his condition and his age it was widely anticipated at the Herald that he might not survive, so in addition to having the "official" obituary ready to go I was...

RONNIE SPECTOR INTERVIEWED: Time has come today (2006)

RONNIE SPECTOR INTERVIEWED: Time has come today (2006)

Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band said it best: " 'Everybody love Ronnie.' It's the first bylaw of rock'n'roll." Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the archetypal 60s girl-group the Ronettes, defined the exuberant spirit of pre-Beatles American rock'n'roll through the alchemy of a street-wise image adopted from...

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The early albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones appeared in different versions in Britain and the States. New Zealand being a colony thankfully got the UK versions for the most part, just as the gods intended. But in some instances we got something different from both -- and in this case, better. The album The Unstoppable Stones...

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

If you want to capture the essence of the 70s in a word it's "hair". At the start of the decade there were Afros and cascades of curls halfway down backs (that's the men) and the long straight stuff with fringes (the women -- and Noddy Holder from Slade). By mid-decade there were dreadlocks, moustaches and big sideburns...

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (2011 reissue)

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (2011 reissue)

Those who were there say everything changed when he walked in the room and started to play. He’d been away a long time -- learning guitar was what they said -- but the last time anyone had seen him he was an uppity kid and not that good. You can imagine how it must have been that Saturday night in a small run-down club in Banks,...

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