Jagger, Chris: All The Best
After releasing a couple of albums in the 70s, it would be 1994 before Chris, the brother of Mick, Jagger would revive his solo career, a catalogue spanning mix of blues, country and rock brought together for the All The Best retrospective. Anyone thinking Chris has long been hanging on his brother's coat tails will sure be in for a pleasant shock, as what proves to be an engaging and accomplished 16 song set unfolds.
In amongst the older cuts comes one new song, "Avalon Girls" a quirky shout along that illustrates the humour in Chris's lyrics, the sight of the girls dancing at the Avalon festival recounted in cheeky chirpy style. For many even the non-new will be a first time experience, and for those folks it may well be the high energy Tom Petty like shuffle of "On The Road" - where squeeze box plays an integral part - that might prove most immediate. No wonder those girls were dancing in Avalon! The brother who rolls the stones shows up to lend a hand on "Concertina Jack", which as its name suggests, also squeezes that box as the brothers share vocals lines and build an almost cajun groove. While Mick is also in place for "DJ Blues", a lament of the lack of good time music hitting the airwaves allowing both Jaggers to croon in their own inimitable style. They combine superbly, even if Chris actually comes off best!
Other guests show up, David Gilmour the most notable as he brings the feathery fret touch he's long been known for to "Junkman", a gentle, heartfelt strum of a song more traditional in approach; fiddle playing off a smooth as silk guitar solo that actually reminds of Knoplfer. However it's not the all-star interjections that shine brightest here, the genuine, well intentioned countrified blues of "Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool" slinky and lithe, while "Wintertime Blues" offers up some ragtime, the piano plundered to perfection as Chris howls his heart out. Add in the eco-conscious "It's Amazing What People Throw Away", where the guitar cries for all its worth, and the jazzy blues of "Lights Of The City", and the variety of bases covered is impressive. That all said, it's maybe the groove and move of "Got Me (Where You Want Me)" where Chris duets with the ever dependable Sam Brown, that proves this collection's ace in the hole. Honestly, if you can stave off the urge to dance and clap along to this, then it's time to place the stylus back in the cradle.
More famed for who he isn't, rather than who he is, All The Best ably proves that those fixated with only one Jagger are undoubtedly a brother short. Chris bringing an individual and enlivening style to some well worn genres as this selection of his best work quickly gets under your skin. If you've never heard him before, after a couple of listens you'll soon want more and more and more.
1. Law Against It
2. Avalon Girls
3. On The Road
4. It's Amazing What People Throw Away
5. Lights of the City
6. Concertina Jack
7. Got Me (Where You Want Me)
8. Wintertime Blues
9. Channel Fever
10. The D J Blues
11. Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool
13. A Single Spark
14. He's In a Meeting
15. Funky Man
Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Chris Jagger online
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