|1. Big Enough|
|2. Take It So Hard|
|4. I Could Have Stood You Up|
|5. Make No Mistake|
|6. You Don't Move Me|
|7. How I Wish|
|9. Whip It Up|
|10. Locked Away|
|11. It Means A Lot|
"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.
The whole incident was, and there's no other word for it really, "very Keith".
Richards confesses he had not considered a solo album before, and it wasn't until Jagger announced that he was dropping Stones commitments for a while to put his first album out that Richards found himself at a loose end for the first time. Probably a little miffed that he'd be temporarily dropped by his band mate, he started working with a new band and "Talk Is Cheap" slowly came together.
For those who have not heard "Talk Is Cheap" and might be considering picking up a copy I can say that some 13 years later the album still sounds absolutely fantastic. One of the finest things about it is that it is exactly like what you would expect a solo Keith album to be like: the riffs are mighty, the vocals like sandpaper and the rock and roll definitely in check and in place. Perhaps Keith's best idea on this record was to hook up with an especially fine rhythm section, which gives the album some great variety and flexibility.
"Take It So Hard" is absolutely awesome, "How I Wish" grooves wonderfully, "You Don't Move Me" is not only a great swipe at Jagger but a fine tune too and "It Means A Lot" has one of those fantastic Keith Riffs to fall in love and play air guitar with (sad, but true).
On the flip side? Well, the 80's production is quite noticeable at times (especially with the drums) and there is the odd filler ("Whip It Up" and "Struggle"), but I really am nit-picking. It's the finest Stones solo album and, ironically, one of the finest Stones albums. Definitely worth checking out.
What that man gets out of a guitar (and vice versa) is legendary, of course, so I'm not going to struggle to find words for it - just hear, people, and be blown away. How Keith takes that beautifully ragged instrument of a voice he's blessed with to show us the beauty of the melodies he's hearing is a marvel and a joy.
The X-Pensive Winos are a great and valiant band rocking the master to his heart's content. The album's a gem. Keith's a treasure, bless him!
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