This newly released set of previously unissued recordings from former David Bowie and Mott the Hoople guitarist, the late, great Mick Ronson, is a testament to the unique and signature style of this often overlooked musician. Comprised of twelve tracks recorded in 1976 at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY, this was to be the first sessions of the then “new” Mick Ronson band, after the two solo albums Slaughter on 10th Avenue and Play Don’t Worry. Mick’s crystal clear tone, dripping with sustain and emotion, distorted and dirty as well on occasion, is at the forefront throughout these songs, and his Bowie-esque vocals fit the music perfectly. Those expecting a similar sound to the Ziggy Stardust days, or even Mott’s “All the Young Dudes” will be in for a surprise, as Just Like This is unabashed hard rock, guitar hero music, squarely in the Frank Marino, Leslie West, Robin Trower, or Rick Derringer mold.
Ronson’s screaming, extended solo on the dark “I’d Give Anything to See You” is just stunning to hear, as his Gibson Les Paul wails with pure emotion. The psychedelic “Crazy Love” is another winner, with Mick’s phased, wah-wah laced guitar solos cutting through the mix like a knife amidst tortured vocals. Some tracks mix 70’s styled blues rock in the Free, Bad Company, Foghat, or Aerosmith vein, as on “Takin’ A Train”, and the rambunctious “I’m Just a Junkie for Your Love”, which also has hints of Bowie styled glam for good measure. Other tracks like “Hey Grandma”, “Is That Any Way”, and “Hard Headed Woman”, are just plain old good hard rockin’ fun, and would have been possible FM radio staples had they ever been released. Fans of heavy, dirty blues will love the last two tracks, “Roll Like a River” and the poignant “Angel No. 9”, which production wise sound horrible, but feature some gritty guitar work from Ronson.
If you are lucky enough to get the limited edition version of the CD, there is a second disc containing alternate and demo versions of some of these songs, plus a real tasty acoustic piece that shows Ronson’s deft finger picking style. After hearing all this music, you begin to realize what a shame it is that Mick Ronson never got the credit he deserved, and the fact that his life was cut short to cancer makes his story all the more sad. Just Like This is a great introduction to this fine musician, and for those who thought that his work with Bowie and Mott is all there was, please check this out.