Sunday, December 26, 2010

Keith Richards 2: Main Offender

Another Stones lull made way for the return of the X-Pensive Winos. While Main Offender offered more of the same formula as Keith’s first, and best solo album — plus or minus some reggae and R&B — for some reason it just doesn’t have the breadth, excitement and enjoyability as Talk Is Cheap.
Not to say it’s bad, in the least. Mick’s desire to keep the Stones hip and contemporary only kept Keith true to his roots and the guitar. The first three tracks alone are excellent; “999” is nice and dirty, “Wicked As It Seems” would be reworked as the opener of the next Stones album, and “Eileen” makes for one peppy love song in the mode of “She’s So Cold”. But things slow down big time on “Words Of Wonder”, six-and-a-half minutes of lazy reggae, and “Yap Yap” doesn’t quite catch either.
What we’d call side two is competent, nbut not stellar. “Bodytalks” compiles some stray riffs, and is mostly notable for Sarah Dash’s sultry cooing just under the mix. “Hate It When You Leave” extends the soul feel of “Make No Mistake” with some vintage-sounding horns and winds, just as “Runnin’ Too Deep” and “Will But You Won’t” are from the same cloth as “Take It So Hard”. “Demon” limps along to a close.
Main Offender was not a big seller, and while Keith would always get a song or three to sing on future Stones albums, here on out he limited his solo work to the occasional guest appearance. (Many years later the Vintage Vinos collection would serve to sum up these albums, leaning heavily on Talk Is Cheap, with only three songs from Main Offender. While also tying in with his autobiography, by then the big draw was “Hurricane”, a short acoustic tune credited to Jagger/Richards previously available as a giveaway.)

Keith Richards Main Offender (1992)—3
Keith Richards Vintage Vinos (2012)—

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