Talk Is Cheap
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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
This album made the top 40 album charts back in 1988 and went Gold. It got very good reviews and then was completely forgotten about. This album is a stone cold classic and every song on here is damn good.The band that Keith assembled for this project is one of the best bands ever, outside of the Rolling Stones. They have their own funky, rockin' groove, unbeatable energy and sound like they have been playing together forevor, instead of for mere weeks. If James Brown reallly wants to make a comeback, all he has to do is cover the opening song-"Big Enough". It is done in the classic J.B style and features Bootsy Collins on bass, Maceo Parker on alto sax and Bernie Worrell on organ. Ex- Stone Mick Taylor even puts in an appearance on "I Could Have Stood You Up", a rockabilly tune so authentic, it sounds like it was written for Elvis in 1956. It even features Chuck Berry's keyboard man Johnnie Johnson tearing up the keys as only he can. "Make No Mistake" is one of Keith's very best ballads and features his most soulful vocal ever. It has the Memphis Horns on it to give it real southern soul and funk. "You Don't Move Me" is a lyrical bitch slap to his old partner/nemesis Mick Jagger.(Mick retaliated with "Shoot off Your Mouth" later the same year on his limp "Primitive Cool" solo album.) He called this band the X-Pensive Winos and the other members included Waddy Wachtel on guitar, Steve Jordan on drums, Ivan Neville on keyboards and Charlie Drayton on bass. They even went on tour and released a good live album, although the album didn't come out until 1991(the tour was in '88). There is some good New Orleans cajun funk on "Rockawhile" with Sara Dash wailing soulfully on background vocals and Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural pumping away on his accordion. The band really locks into a groove on this one. This album features better songs and more committed playing than most Stones albums from this era and is way funkier than any of Sir Mick's spotty solo albums. The next time Mick wants to do a solo project, he should hire the X-Pensive Winos featuring Keith Richards.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2003
Talk Is Cheap is an excellent example of how great a solo album can be,and it is by far the best of Keith Richards solo efforts.He rewards us with a nice blend of musical styles and creativity,the finest performers and the best recording and production expertise avaliable.The sound is clean and well balanced.This album really opened my eyes as to how good a guitar player Keith is. His playing is superb! He even demonstrates his vocal ability.Which can be weak at times.But there is so much going on within the music that you can hardly notice it. Even though every song on this album is a winner,there are still some unique favorites; Such as, Big Enough-which gives us a Funk Reggae groove,slap funk style bass,cool back up vocals and some nice alto sax. Make No Mistake-a nice balad with female vocalist Sarah Dash sharing the vocal duties along with an inspiring horn arrangement by the Memphis Horns. Struggle-a fast paced rocker that includes Great Bass and drums! For you drummers,check out drummer Steve Jordans catchy drum fills!! You Dont Move Me- another solid rocker,with solid back beat drumming and a variety of guitars.{Keith is also a wonderful acoustic player}. Next is a song called How I Wish- a stones type of rock n roller with a catchy lead vocal line,great rhythym guitar and a touch of boogie woogie piano.Last but not least is Locked Away- a beautiful melodic slow ballad that flows nicely in a dreamy kind of way.It also features acoustic guitar,smooth keyboards,violin and some accordion mixed in as well. Final thoughts; I wish Keith Richards would continue his solo efforts or at the very least collaborate with other artist of his caliber.He could have a real future in doing so. This is a good one!! BUY IT!!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I waited for years for Keith to dump the Mickster and do a solo LP, and I was thrilled when he finally did.
A couple of straight Chuck Berry-ish numbers were to be expected. But the Funk of "Big Enough" came out of nowhere, and I'm pretty sure that's Bootsy Collins who makes it work.
I love the jam at the end of "It Means A Lot," but it's the two slower tunes, "Locked Away" and especially "Make No Mistake" that convinced me that this is a classic album on a par with anything the Stones released except EXILE ON MAIN STREET.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2009
I've been reading a number of older blogs lately in which guitarists weighed in against the "100 Greatest Guitarist" list published by Rolling Stone magazine. One of the biggest knocks on the list (and there are too many criticisms to even name-many of them perfectly valid) was the inclusion of Keith Richards (at #10, I believe).

There were a number of glaring omissions to the list (such as Alex Lifeson of Rush), and some inclusions that seemed to have little to do with ANY kind of technical prowess (example: Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Lou Reed-all great artists that never wrote ONE memorable riff that I could actually recall). But the one thing that REALLY bothered me about the overall tenure of the comments was the way guys were teeing off on Richards.

Keith Richards is one of the most prolific riff creators in rock history. "Start Me Up", "Midnight Rambler", "Satisfaction", "Beast of Burden", "Brown Sugar", "Honky Tonk Women", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Paint It Black"...the list goes on and on. Every one of these classic Rolling Stones songs is built on Keith's initial guitar riff. How many guitarists have a resume' like that??

The brilliance of Keith Richards is his ability to serve the song, and the band, with his playing. He isn't a brilliant soloist. He is an expert collaborator with: 1) unique tone, 2) a great sense of rhythm, 3) an uncanny ability to "turn the beat around", 4) the ability to move around inside the structure of a song with soulful riffs.

If you have ever wondered what his contribution to the Rolling Stones' success truly was, this album is a good indicator because much of his playing style/attitude is more conspicuous here without the presence of Mick Jagger, whose larger-than-life personality can sometimes over-shadow other aspects of the music. Keith is the heart and soul of one of rock's all-time greatest bands. If you want to hear what the Rolling Stones might sound like WITHOUT Richards, try Mick Jagger's "Primitive Cool" album-a disgrace! "Wandering Spirit" was a fabulous solo record from Jagger, but only because producer Rick Rubin went out and found a Keith Richards clone to fill the void...

As a guitar player myself, I can honestly say that some of the most technically gifted musician's I have ever met were the worst people to have around. The reason is because many of them were so self-indulgent and over-bearing that they viewed songs as a mere pretense to showcase their playing. Many soloists can't seem to get out of their own way (or any one else's) long enough to allow a song to evolve into something enjoyable. Many soloists can't understand that ensemble playing is infinitely more interesting than watching some guy wanking!

Furthermore, most two-guitar bands evolution can be traced right back to Keith Richards and his ability to interlace his playing with the 2nd guitar of the group (be it Brian Jones, Mick Taylor or Ron Wood). Listen to vintage Aerosmith, Guns 'n' Roses or even AC/DC. The seeds that Richards planted with the Rolling Stones are there.

At any rate, buy this disc and enjoy it! It should fit nicely in your cd case between the Rolling Stones "Tattoo You" and "Voodoo Lounge".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 1999
Upon it's release, Guitar Player magazine deemed 'Talk Is Cheap' as "the best Rolling Stones album in 17 years." They weren't far off the mark in their assessment. Compared to many Stones records of the seventies and eighties, the stuff on 'Talk Is Cheap' compares quite favorably. On his own, Keith shows us just what an important part of the Stones he's been all these years. As opposed to 'Slick Mick,' Keith has maintained more of a roots rock and roll influence and certainly more of an edge. Admittedly, he's not one of the better vocalists I've heard. But in most cases, the integrity, guitar hooks, and attitude of the songs more than make up for his vocal deficiencies. When you include his backing band in the evaluation, that puts 'Talk Is Cheap' well over the top as a worthwhile addition to one's collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2002
keith, keith, keith. why did we have to wait so long for this record? it's great: "how i wish" is better than most of the songs that the stones have recorded in many years, "make no mistake" is one of the best ballads written by the stones (or by any stone alone); "rockawhile" with its mysterious, intriguing, hypnothic riff is a gem that testifies to the magic of the stones. let's hope they keep rolling.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2000
In a hundred years, maybe two, but certainly someday, people will finally acknowledge Keith as the most significant musician and musical ambassador of our time. The man who wrote "Satisfaction" stated when he made "Talk is Cheap" that he was "trying to grow this music up." I'd like to thank him for recognizing the limitations of the genre (it's his genre!) and being artist enough to do something about it. Keith's not the only artist trying to "grow up" rock and roll (I think Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello, to name two, succeed at this), but not too many spring to mind. When "Talk is Cheap" was released, Charlie Watts moaned "Keith's gone and made the album we've been trying to make for ten years." Charlie was no doubt right. "Main Offender" is well worth your time too. Long live Keith.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 1998
I had been a Rolling Stones fan for years when I first bought Talk is Cheap. After one listen I was convinced, Keth Richards is the heart & soul of the Rolling Stones. Other bands follow the drummer, but with Keith Richards, the band follows him. From the opening funk of Big Enough to the rockin' It Means a Lot, this cd is pure groove. Keith can play it all, old time rock-I Could Have Stood Up, country-Locked Away, all out rock & roll-Whip It Up. The singing voice is an acquired taste, but the music speaks for itself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
This record is very unique because it catches Richards at a time in his life when he was most vulnerable, most alone, and most determined to prove himself after all those years of playing the rock'n'roll royality waste case. Other reviewers are wrong, this is a very polished and richly detailed recording. It is free of pretensious posing for a larger audience- Richards deals straight from his heart, the lyrics are embedded deeply into the thrusting power and wistful melancohly of the music; the lyrics say different things to different people, believe it or not, Richards is an esoteric lyricist, yet he does not delude or pretend to be anything more than a muscian with a desire to play- and play- and play. 'Take it so hard' is thunderous and pounding, but neat, thick and has worked it's way into my nervous system after so many repeated playings. I think Richards has a lot of personal problems- but he ain't the only one- and when the Stones are working he can forget them and hide from himself and his life; however, on this record he comes across as a very real person. Contrary to what other reviewers say, this disc is a VERY UN-STONES like recording because of this. True Rock'n'roll music lovers who do not like the Rolling Stones may very well like this record.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2005
I waited years for Keith to release a solo album, and I had no idea this is what would be produced, more or less. I figured there would be some country, perhaps some ballads on piano (remember the El Mocambo sessions), and a few not-so-well known Chuck Berry or Eddie Cochran rockers. Nope, not here.
In any case, its a good CD and you should buy it if you like Keith. Also, check out the opening riff of Take It So Hard and listen to the rattling of the snare drum. That's unpretentious and that's cool!
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