Yeah, you read that right. The ex-Rolling Stones bassist will be releasing his forth studio album on June 22nd, his first release in 33 years. Since quitting the Stones in 1993, Bill Wyman has been very busy indeed. He’s written seven books, founded the succussful Rhythm Kings, become a globally exhibited photographer and even a metal detecting expert with his own brand of metal detector (didn’t see that one coming, but sure). Now, he’s back with another music venture in the form of his brand new solo record, Back to Basics.
Opening track What & How & If & When & Why is already enough to transport you back to 1960’s America, yet somehow bears a resemblence to American Analog Set’s Hard to Find. Tracks such as I Lost My Ring and Love, Love, Love hint towards that 50s rockabilly sound, while Stuff (Can’t Get Enough) is so accidentally disco that it almost hurts. Throughout tracks such as Seventeen (the sickly-sweet toe-tapper) and I’ll Pull You Through (the seemingly heartfelt love song of the record), you can hear the country-esque influences, mashed together quite brilliantly with the simplistic rock ‘n’ roll of the 70s. Just A Friend Of Mine, probably the best track on this record, takes a summery approach with an acoustic guitar and an up-tempo drum beat to back it up, while album closer I Got Time takes us back to that country-blues atmosphere again.
Consider Back to Basics the musical equivalent of a time machine, taking us back to experience some of the best in 60s & 70s rock ‘n’roll. Nostalgia-fuelled, upbeat and packed with meaningful lyrical content, there are some notable moments on this record, but it’s Wyman’s vocal work that really lets him down. Granted, the guy is 78 now. However, while (musically) nothing has changed about that original Stones’ talent, perhaps four solo records is enough.