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Keith Richards

Regarded by many music pundits as the greatest rhythm guitarist on the planet, KEITH RICHARDS (born 18th December 1943, Dartford in Kent) has been at the heart and soul of the media limelight since his heady days in The ROLLING STONES as sidekick to lippy frontman and “Glimmer Twin”, MICK JAGGER – his childhood buddy. Fast forward five decades or so and “Keef” looks as if he’s still living the rock’n’roll lifestyle to the max; years of alcohol and drug debauchery making his prime target for the satirists and prophetic musos ready to write his obituary.
Inspired by the Delta blues artists and CHUCK BERRY, its been well documented of his times in the ‘Stones, all the hits (drugs and drug-busts included), the women (he was married to model/actress Anita Pallenburg up to 1979), although his children (two with wife from ’83 onwards, Patti Hansen) have been spared the media attention that seems to go with the territory.
A long time since his one-off Xmas flop 45 `Run Rudolph Run’ had hit the shops in 1978, and a more recent squabble with Mick after “the boss” promoted his own solo project rather than that of the ‘Stones (1986’s `Dirty Work’), RICHARDS thought it ideal to put his record straight.
TALK IS CHEAP (1988) {*7} drew in the public’s imagination while the critics gave it a unanimous thumbs up. Featuring his uncredited back-up band (the X-pensive Winos) led by former Blues Brothers drummer/co-writer Steve Jordan and Wally Wachtel (assembled in ’87 to back idol CHUCK BERRY in his rockumentary, `Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll’) it was simply rock’n’roll – and we liked it! At times riff-tastic and full of straightforward, back-to-the-mill tracks sung by a groovy but guttural Keef, the record’s best cuts came through `Take It So Hard’, `Whip It Up’, `You Don’t Move Me’ and `Make No Mistake’.
Posted missing for a long-term hiatus after 1989’s `Steel Wheels’, ‘Stones fans had to be content with another updated live outing `Flashpoint’ (1991). Meanwhile, back in the studio for another bout of solo action, Keef’s disciples (X-pensive Winos, et al) were treated to a token concert piece LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM (1991) {*5}; basically his solo debut and a handful of JAGGER-RICHARDS tag-ons. Keef’s sophomore studio item MAIN OFFENDER (1992) {*6} was another hard rocking no-nonsense, no-frills delight, bolstered by above-par songs `999’ (the first of three Richards-Jordan-Wachtel collaborations), `Eileen’ and Charley Drayton-worked piece `Wicked As It Seems’.
Maintaining his links to his first-love (musically at least) The ROLLING STONES, although it seems the band’s Martin Scorsese-directed concert rockumentary `Shine A Light’ in 2008 might just be their swansong, RICHARDS has added acting to his CV. Spurred by Johnny Depp’s cloned impersonation of Keef in the Pirates Of The Caribbean movie series, the guitarist took a cameo role as Captain Teague in the latest of these popular fantasy films (`At World’s End’ and `On Stranger Tides’). To mark an autobiographical book published in 2010, his record company released a solo compilation, VINTAGE WINOS {*7}.
© MCS Apr2012

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