Home Read Ronnie Wood With His Wild Five | Mad Lad: A Live Tribute...

Ronnie Wood With His Wild Five | Mad Lad: A Live Tribute to Chuck Berry

The other Rolling Stones guitarist celebrates the late rock ’n’ roll originator.

334

WHO IS HE? The other scarecrow-like Rolling Stones guitarist who worships at the altar of Chuck Berry — and the only one who had the sense to wait until the notoriously difficult icon was dead before trying to honour him.

WHAT IS THIS? Live covers of Berry’s rock ’n’ roll standards, along with a new original cut from the same cloth. Supposedly, this is also the first in a series of albums celebrating Woody’s early musical heroes and influences.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? More interesting than anticipated. Rather than slavishly recreate Berry’s songs, solos and licks, Wood and co. — including singer Imelda May — retool some cuts into bluesier, groovier numbers.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Ronnie B. Goode, of course.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with the soundtrack from Taylor Hackford’s 1987 rockumentary Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll, featuring a star-studded band led by Keith Richards (and barely tolerated by Berry, who made the filmmakers give him paper bags containing thousands of dollars in cash every day before he would take part IN HIS OWN TRIBUTE FILM).

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Old-school, bluesy, shambling, gruff, jammy, goodnatured, relaxed, welcoming, celebratory, rollicking.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The slow-blues take on Wee Wee Hours with May on the microphone; punchy versions of Back in the U.S.A., Little Queenie and Johnny B. Goode; Woody’s goofy introductory number Tribute to Chuck Berry.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘This is nice and all — but isn’t Ron Wood’s entire career basically one long Chuck Berry tribute?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? A few times, but really, how many Chuck Berry cover albums does the world need?

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A MEAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Meat and potatoes, with a glass of lager.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Insert your own Chuck Berry streaming joke here.