Some people may be turned off by the hoarse, sandpapery whisper that is Keith Richards' singing voice. To me, it is pure rock n' roll.
"Talk Is Cheap", Richards' first solo album, rocks harder than virtually every Rolling Stones album of the 80s. It is filled with Keith Richards' customary gritty guitar playing, and several guest stars lend their talents as well, including saxist Bobby Keys and ageing R&B pianist Johnnie Johnson who plays on the superb "I Could Have Stood You Up" (which has Mick Taylor sitting in on lead guitar as well).
The excellent duet with Sarah Dash, "Make No Mistake", benefits from a subtle horn arrangement (by the Memphis Horns), and other highlights include the tough, swinging rockers "How I Wish" and "Take It So Hard", and the melodious, yet gritty ballad "Locked Away".
All in all, "Talk Is Cheap" is a solid slice of muscular rock n' roll music, and even if every song isn't equally magnificent, there is still more than enough here to make it worth your while.
3 3/4 stars.