Follow Us on Twitter

Bill Wyman - Back To Basics (Review)

Bill Wyman, Back To Basics

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

BACK To Basics may mark the first solo album from former Rolling Stones luminary Bill Wyman for 33 years but the wait hasn’t really been worth it.

An unashamedly stripped back record that feels a lot like the type of old man rock that so many former great musicians slip into, this is notable only for some of the musical guests Wyman has got on board: from long-time collaborator/guitarist Terry Taylor, Guy Fletcher (of Mark Knopfler fame), Graham Broad and Robbie McIntosh while co-production credit goes to Andy Wright (Jeff Beck, Eurythmics, Simply Red).

Hence, it’s the instrumentals you tend to take more notice of given that Wyman’s husky vocal style hang like a dead-weight over a lot of proceedings.

Occasionally, some female backing vocals elevate the odd chorus and help out those gruff, lifeless vocals. But for the most part, this is forgettable stuff.

Wyman hit upon the idea of making Back To Basics after archiving some old demos last year and realising that he had around 60 songs he’d never released. He chose three songs that needed reworking and did just that, lumping them together with a selection of new songs.

But the results are underwhelming. Love, Love, Love stands out by virtue of its guitar work, which has a nice Clapton-style vibe and a chorus that finds more melody than the album is usually accustomed to.

But songs like Stuff (Can’t Get Enough), with its lightweight organs and soft beats, sound so, so dated; while even the softly, softly blues rock of Running Back To You feels tepid. There’s nothing here of any real grit or emotional resonance, baring the occasional witty lyric.

If anything, some of the songs sound like they belong on the soundtrack of a ’70s or ’80s TV show like Minder or Only Fools & Horses. And that’s not meant as a compliment.

Download pick: Love, Love, Love

Track listing:

  1. What & How & If & When & Why
  2. I Lost My Ring
  3. Love, Love, Love
  4. Stuff (Can’t Get Enough)
  5. Running Back To You
  6. She’s Wonderful
  7. Seventeen
  8. I’ll Pull You Through
  9. November
  10. Just A Friend Of Mine
  11. It’s A Lovely Day
  12. I Got Time