Talk is Cheap
Legendary Guitarist Gets His ‘Funk On’ and Finds His Voice.
I actually remember this on it’s original release in 1988. My mate Malcolm bought it and brought it straight round to my house for us to listen together; as you did in the olden days.
We played it twice and I doubt he ever listened to it again.
We just didn’t get it.
Fast forward 30 years and it’s now been on auto-repeat for three days in the RMHQ office…….. and I ‘now get it!’
It’s been difficult listening without remembering that day when we both had long hair and droopy moustaches, vaguely remembering my ‘thoughts’….. but today; I’m taking it at face value and it’s fair to say, TALK IS CHEAP may actually have been ‘before it’s time’ in 1988.
If this was a brand new release, opening track Big Enough would be a cool Rock-Reggae hybrid with a funky back-beat, mostly supplied by Maceo Parker on saxophone and a bit of an edge to the singer’s brusque singing style (that’s Keef, that is btw).
Track #2 Take It So Hard features some really chunky guitar, the kind we normally associate with the Stones; but the mood is a lot more New York Eastside than it is South East London; which is probably why I’ve been tapping my fingers to it this week, and thirty years ago I was mystified!
Keith’s signature guitar licks are littered throughout every song; but the album is much more about the actual songs; and there are quite a few ‘keepers’ among them.
Make No Mistake is on the mellower side of Rock, and is more akin to Hall & Oates than anything Muddy Waters ever recorded as Richards’ almost croons a lovely song alongside the delightful voice of Sarah Dash.
With a lot of water flowing under my musical bridge since I first heard Whip It Up; it’s now a song that fits perfectly into the burgeoning Alt. Country canon; especially the bands who’s Roots are in Exile on Main Street as opposed to Bakersfield!
Kieth actually goes back to his own Roots on the fiery and eminently danceable Rock & Roller Could Have Stood You Up; and it’s worth checking out if only to hear the dual between Johnnie Johnson on piano and Chuck Leavell on organ; which mesmerised me so much it made me miss Mick Taylor’s astonishing solo half way through!
I’m going to take a deep breath and say that TALK IS CHEAP has aged a lot better than anyone could possibly have expected; which brings me to the two songs that tie for Favourite Track Status……. the final track here It Means a Lot is one helluva Funk-Rocker, and bizarrely Keith’s vocals and guitar playing actually remind me of Johnny Winter somehow! But the song itself has all the hallmarks of being a crowd pleaser if ever played live. The other ‘winner’ is the straight-up ‘four to the floor’ How I Wish, which is just a certified doozy! No more and no less.
That’s the ‘normal release’ but I urge you to splash the cash and invest in the Deluxe 2 x CD release with a superb booklet and another disc of unreleased tracks.
The first time I played this album I skipped over track #1 Blues Jam but as I type and listen on headphones, it’s obviously a bunch of Master Musicians ‘getting their groove on’ akin to that Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield album and I’d love to be in a cafe when it comes on over the speakers.
Would it have been fair to have selected a song from the rarities as my Favourite? I think not; but this sparkling version of My Babe alongside a coolly rambling take on Big Town Playboy has gone onto three ‘playlists’ on my trusty I-Phone!
The finale, Brut Force starring Keith and Bootsy Collins is smouldering, fascinating, intriguing and well worth the record company dusting it off for this release.
My initial expectations weren’t very high; as I said at the beginning, but honestly and truthfully TALK IS CHEAP in either or both formats has certainly aged very well indeed; and is well worthy of your hard earned cash over the coming weeks (the LP will be available around Record Store Day coincidentally!).
Released March 29th 2019
‘Talk Is Cheap’ Deluxe Box Set also comes with
– 180g LP album &180g LP bonus material
– the 7” Single (Take It So Hard / I Could Have Stood You Up)
– the 7” Single (Make No Mistake / It Means A Lot)
– CD album & CD containing bonus material
– 80 page hardback book featuring Anthony De Curtis essay, new interview with Keith Richards and extensive photos,
– Memorabilia: 1x tour laminate, 2x lyric sheets, original ‘Talk Is Cheap’ playback invite, tour guitar pick and 2x posters
– Housed in a folio pack wrapped in Fender guitar case material
‘Talk Is Cheap’ Super Deluxe box set
– Limited & Numbered
– All content matches the Deluxe Box set
– Comes with added special feature, a one-of-a-kind exclusive casing replicating Keith’s favourite Fender Guitar ‘Micawber’
– Features hand-relined ash wood with original Fender guitar elements, handmade at the Fender Custom Shop in California