Keith To The Highway (SODD 104)
(75:35): The Harder They Come (Solo Single 1979), Run Rudolph Run (Solo Single 1979), Pressure Drop (with Toots and the Maytals 2003), You Got The Silver (Stuttgart 1999), Get Off My Cloud (Alexis Korner Album Get Off Of My Cloud 1974), Let’s Go Steady (Emotional Rescue session 1979), Sure The One You Need (Ron Wood album I’ve Got My Own Album To Do 1974), Before The Make Me Run [Live] (from UK Single “Biggest Mistake” B-side), Key To The Highway (Main Offender additional track For Japan Only), Can’t Be Seen [Live] (Atlantic City 1989), Slipping Away [Demo] (Steel Wheels Session 1988), Happy [Live] (Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988), Gimme Shelter [Live] (Town & Country, London, England December 1992), Take It So Hard (from limited 3X3 CD single, Virgin UK), Little T & A [Live] (Hampton 1981), The Worst [Live] (Rio de Janeiro 1995), Connection [Live] (Rio de Janeiro 1995), Wanna Hold You [Live] (Buenos Aires 1998)
Keith To The Highway is a nicely compiled collection of Keith Richards singles and rarities gathered over a twenty-five year period. All of the tracks are sourced from excellent sounding professional sources except for “You Got The Silver,” which sounds like an excellent audience recording. SODD want to highlight not only his contribution to The Rolling Stones, but his merits as a solo artist. His two solo albums Talk Is Cheap and Main Offender were both a critical and commercial success.
Richards’ first commercially released single was in December 1978 where he covered Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” and Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder The Come” and displays the two major styles he is fluent in and dominate his songs. Much of the Rolling Stones’ output can be seen as a variation on Berry and this single is a faithful rendition of the track.
And the B-side “The Harder They Come” comes out of Richards (and, it seems the entire British musical establishment’s) fascination with reggae music in the seventies. It is significant that he covered this particular tune since it was written, and gave the title to, the important Jamaican film The Harder They Come.
“Pressure Drop” is a cover of the Toots and the Maytals hit. This version features Richards on vocals playing with Toots and the Maytals. It ws recorded in 2003 and released in December 2007 as the B-side of Richards’ iTunes re-release of “Run Rudolph Run.” The following track “You Got The Silver” sounds like an audience recording. It dates from the May 29th, 1999 Rolling Stones show at Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Germany, the first show of the 1999 Bridges to Babylon/No Security European Tour.
“Get Off Of My Cloud” was recorded in late 1974 for Alexis Korner’s LP Get Off Of My Cloud released in March 1975. It features Richards narrative the lyrics in a strange, aggressive voice throughout. This is certainly one of the strangest tracks in this collection. “Let’s Go Steady Again” is an Emotional Rescue outtake recorded in Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas in January 1979. The Sam Cooke cover was left off the album and never included on any Rolling Stones compilation, but it was included in the New Barbarians setlist when they toured later in the year and many live recordings circulate.
“Sure The One You Need” is a Jagger/Richards song given to Ron Wood for his first solo album I’ve Got My Own Album To Do in 1974. This is an outtake recorded at Wood’s home with Keith on vocals. “Before They Make Me Run” is a live recording from the Olympia in Paris on July 11th, 2003 and was included as a bonus track on the “Biggest Mistake” single released on August 21st, 2006.
“Key To The Highway” is a bonus track on the Japan release of his last solo album Main Offender released in 1992. “Can’t Be Seen” is taken from the Atlantic City Pay-Per-View broadcast and found on countless titles including Terrifying (SODD-064/65/66). “Slipping Away” is the same alternate version that surfaced several years ago on the Steel Wheel monitor mixes and has been pressed many times.
The following two songs are taken from Richards’ rare solo tours. “Happy” is taken from the official release Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988 which originally was issued as A Stone Alone (Swingin’ Pig TSP 085-2). “Gimme Shelter” dates from the Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos short tour, recorded on December 17th 1992. The rest of the disc is occupied by various live tracks of his songs written for the Stones including “Connection,” one of his earliest songs (released in 1967) and resurrected for both the Voodoo Lounge tour in 1995 and the Bigger Bang tour in 2006. The artwork is very clean and SODD utilize several interesting Richards photographs from his career. Overall it’s a good compendium of Richards’ talent and career.