CD Review of The Very Best of Mick Jagger by Mick Jagger
Recommended if you like
Peter Wolf, David Bowie, Rod Stewart (pre-Great American Songbook)
Label
Atlantic/Rhino
Mick Jagger:
The Very Best of Mick Jagger

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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I
n the liner notes for Roger Daltrey’s Martyrs & Madmen: The Best of Roger Daltrey, Chris Charlsworth indicates that most of Daltrey’s solo work was un-Wholike because Daltrey didn’t want to do material that was even close to his band’s, out of respect and reverence to the Who. Jagger made music that didn’t sound like the Stones in order to satiate his ego. He wanted to compete with the Stones, which opened up some great public feuds with his glimmer twin, Keith Richards (culminating in Richard’s cutting “You Don’t Move Me,” from 1988’s Talk Is Cheap).

It was very chic to criticize Jagger’s slick pop-oriented output while embracing Richards’ gritty efforts. What gets lost in all this nonsense is that Jagger’s output was tasty like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – not a whole lot of nutrition there, but man, do they hit the spot. Rod Stewart made some great music in the ‘80s when he was hopping on trends and synthesizers, hijacking a sound and making it his own. “Young Turks” and “Infatuation” are great tunes. The Best of Jagger is full of material similar in scope.

The music culled from his solo career was played by some of the best and most recognizable musicians in the world of rock and pop. Jeff Beck, Vernon Reid, Jim Keltner, Dave Stewart, Steve Winwood, Ry Cooder, Peter Tosh, David Bowie and Benmont Tench are a few of his collaborators on these songs. From the funk of “Sweet Thing” to the swagger of “Just Another Night,” this is a fun collection of pop/rock craftsmanship in which Jagger sings his balls off. “Old Habits Die Hard” won Dave Stewart and Jagger a Golden Globe from the soundtrack to the very forgettable Jude Law remake of Alfie. The three previously unreleased tracks are as fabulous as they are different. “Charmed Life” is an uptempo groove featuring a splash of Spanish guitar and a brilliant remix by Ashley Beedie. “Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup),” recorded in 1973, has a Sam and Dave feel, and “Checkin’ Up On My Baby,” recorded with the Red Devils, is a soulful blues romp.

The liner notes offer insight into to the making of the material. A full list of the credits for each song is also included. Jagger’s solo stuff is not the Stones, but it has a great swagger and style all its own.

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