Ronald David Wood is closing in on the 50-year mark in his long and distinguished career. From the humble beginnings of the long forgotten Birds to such groups as Faces, The Jeff Beck Group, and since 1975 The Rolling Stones, he has become recognized as one of the premier guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll.
Despite being a part of three legendary bands, he has managed to find the time to issue over a dozen studio albums. His latest solo offering, I Feel Like Playing, has just been released.
He has surrounded himself with a well known and stellar group of supporting musicians. Guitarist Slash plays on five of the tracks and is an excellent partner for Wood. Billy Gibbons and Waddy Wachtel also contribute to two tracks apiece. Other musicians of note are Rolling Stones bandmate and bassist Daryl Jones, old Faces bandmate Ian McLagen, bassist Flea, and drummers Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty fame, and studio drummer deluxe Jim Keltner, who has played on hundreds of albums with the cream of rock ‘n’ roll for over 45 years.
Wood’s alcohol problems have been well documented but when he is well, he is an artist of the highest caliber. He wrote ten of the twelve tracks, which speaks well for his health. The lyrics are introspective and thoughtful as many of them focus on the problems that have plagued him. He does not give in to his weaknesses but faces them bluntly through this music. There is sorrow, bitterness, criticism, and a little triumph mixed in for good measure. His raspy voice remains an effective instrument to interpret his songs.
“Why Do You Wanna Go And Do A Thing Like That For” is the lead track and establishes the tone and style of the album as rock/blues at its best. “Forever” contains some creative playing from Slash and a nice vocal partnership between Wood and Bernard Fowler. Songs such as “Thing About You,” “I Don’t Think So,” “100%,” and “Tell Me Something” would have fit nicely on a Rolling Stones album. He even manages to pull off Willie Dixon’s oft recorded blues classic, “Spoonful.”
I Feel Like Playing is Ronnie Wood’s most consistent album to date. Hopefully he will feel like playing again soon.