Mick Jagger “Solo Mixes” [SODD 135]
Hard Woman (New version from ‘Hard Woman’ single) / Just Another Night (Extended Version) / Lucky In Love (Extended Version) / State Of Shock ( with Michael Jackson, Dance Mix ) / Throwaway (Remix) / Let’s Work ( Dance Mix from ‘Let’s Work’ single) / Say You Will (Remix) / Catch As Catch Can (From Let’s Work single) / Memory Motel (Solo Recording [Unreleased] / Sweet Thing (Mick’s mix from ‘Sweet Thing’ single) / Blue (from God Gave Me Everything single) / If Things Could Be Different (from ‘Visions Of Paradise’ single) / Miracle Worker ( Ashley Beedle’s Warbox remix ) [77:08]
A cute little brother to their “Keith To The Highway” comp, “Solo Mixes” focuses on various oddities pulled from Mick’s solo singles, drawn from his solo albums released between 1985 and 2001. Bearing in mind tat these mixes were mainly created towards the nightclub market that Rock’s musicians forced themselves into in the 1980’s and 1990’s after disco had faded and the rest of fashion had succumbed to the electronic form. Once again, as with the Keith release, all of the tracks here are in excellent quality having been taken from official releases.
“Hard Woman”, “Just Another Night” and “Lucky In Love” were all released from the celebrated ‘She’s The Boss’ LP of 1985 as Mick took advantage of the clause in the Rolling Stones contract with CBS. Not a move that would engender positive feedback from his lead guitarist and paved the way for a good few years acrimony. The sound of the LP was of a few thousand others. A blanketed, over produced, synthesised and smooth blend – something that wouldn’t sound as threatening in your flashy car as much as it would at a party as you show off your brand new Sony stereo and the CD’s you were slowly replacing your vinyl with.
The “Hard Woman” featured here is suggested to be a new version but sounds pretty much as the single version does anyway. “Just Another Night” suffers again from the extended format that was popular with the 12″ buying public and DJs who needed extra time for toilet breaks on their sets but virtue of a long saxophone solo in the first half then a guitar and bongo battle later in the second half. If you’re a fan of all this, it lasts for over 7 minutes.
“Lucky In Love” is infinitely more entertaining, a Chic-ish guitar competes with a rolling and rumbling bassline.
Mick’s collaborations didn’t just stop with Peter Tosh or David Bowie, up and comer, solo star Michael Jackson along with his brothers also joined Mick on the single “State Of Shock”, a track that was to include Freddie Mercury of Queen but the job instead to Jagger. A thundering electronic beat box, the type of slick riffed guitaring that littered Jacko’s “Moonwalker” album and a duel of vocal yelps grace the track. “Dancin’ In The Street” it ain’t but the sparse production is a great relief to hear after the clutter of the last productions.
“Throwaway”, “Let’s Work”, “Say You Will” and “Catch As Catch Can” all come from the ‘Primitive Cool” era, Mick’s second solo album. The LP rode a tougher transition than “She’s The Boss” and suffered commercially possibly due to the hammering “Dirty Work”, the Stones latest album, got as well as the public friction that was coming off of Keef.
The fact that Mick’s album bore more of a thicker skin than his previous release is great – a much rockier edge forms on the bones of the tracks ( He was obviously taking tips from the Wacko Jacko production ) – the thunder of the newer is still there but the execution still hints at earlier works.
The “Throwaway” remix is much more club like, a stronger basis for Jeff Beck’s guitar for one, a bassier chug underneath too. The whole thing is drawn out to over 7 minutes long but never feels too long.
“Lets Work” gets the same treatment – it’s ‘can do’ message pushed by Jagger’s roar, the nagging chant and calypso rhythms of the song carry on for longer than a regular radio play would allow but one could still imagine the power that it might have under a mirror ball and ultra violet lights.
A switch from the furious clubber treatment, “Say You Will”, comes off as a lot more AOR. A boundlessly optimistic and romantic lighter-lifter it was surely aimed at the middle of the night while people were propositioning their intended before the slow songs were slipped on. Speaking of which, “Catch As Catch Can” would have been one of those slower songs. A slushy, countrified closer from the B-Side of “Let’s Work”, a perfect counterpoint to the giddy hubris of the A-Side.
From the recording of the TV show “Beyond The Groove” in 1990, Jagger recorded a solo version of the Stones ‘Black And Blue’ track “Memory Motel”. It’s not too far removed from the original apart from being a couple of minutes shorter, still acoustic, still mournful. It’s very essence remains as is and it’s a beautiful rendition.
“Sweet Thing” would be the only single from 1993’s “Wandering Spirit”, pre-released in 1992 the single was well set for the club push and numerous mixes were employed over the various formats that were released in various continents. Realising that they didn’t have the space to fit on to a single CD all of the mixes, SODD have elicited to add just “Mick’s Mix” to this comp. Another extended, noodling, rumbling take on the single, it again bows to production values from the 90’s, saxophones abound, a ticking drum track along sampled beats, it might as well sound like most of it’s ilk also produced at that time.
The final three tracks are pulled from Jagger’s last solo album to date, “Goddess In The Doorway”. Also, alas, his biggest flop as Jagger was derided as a laughing stock, the Stones rising ticket prices and Mick’s perceived aloofness not quite endearing them to a ruthless media.
At least the sounds of the album still sound fresh – an amalgamation between dirty 60’s rock and the spit ‘n’ polish of a ’00’s rendering.
“Blue” is a new Americana based track that missed inclusion on the album, nothing that wouldn’t have featured on heavy rotation on MTV in the early part of the millennium along with the sax of the new decade, a swirling electric organ with grungeish guitars. Certainly one of the stronger pieces of this compilation, it’s inclusion is worthy of a listen.
If there was another sound that exemplified the turn of the century is was the jangle of the ‘Friends’ theme and musicians such as Deep Blue Something, Sixpence Non The Richer and Hootie And The Blowfish were all to blame for this transition. Jagger, to be fair, was only riding the crest of this wave with “If Things Could Be Different”, the B-Side to “Visions Of Paradise”. One can, with hindsight, see why this one might be a fashion filler of a B-side to address the matter of needing an extra song to bulk out the space of a single and justify selling an extra to an unloved piece.
“Miracle Worker” closes the compilation and was given a Ashley Beedle facelift for dance floors. It so happens that by adjusting the song and dropping it onto a reggae and drum and bass pattern almost manages to almost eradicate Jagger’s part altogether. Maybe it was decided that rather than upset the equilibrium of the night Jagger’s voice was kept to a minimum (As happened with a few of Paul McCartney’s own dance mixes and Fireman project.)
It’s a mixed bag of tricks this one. The 80’s mixes do nothing for me but fans of the genre may lap up the pieces here while the 00’s tracks, while hit and miss, spread themselves thickly between themes and find an audience where they can. Not just for completists.