Mick Jagger’s second proper solo album, PRIMITIVE COOL was released in September 1987. Unlike the sonically diverse SHES THE BOSS, Mick decided this time to make an album with a more unified sound, hiring Jeff Beck to play guitar on all of the sessions. He filled out the rhythm section with Doug Wimbish on bass and Simon Phillips on drums. Wimbish had achieved legendary status for his bass playing on the Grandmaster Flash epochal MESSAGE album as well as for his mid 1980’s avant garde ‘Funkadelic meets Lee Perry’ group Fats Comet. Phillips was considered to be an elite drummer, having previously played with The Who, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel and Stanley Clarke. For the co-producing chores Mick engaged renowned Trinidadian programmer Keith Diamond (writer/producer of Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen”) for half of the tracks, and the Eurythmics David Stewart for the other half.
The first single “Lets Work”, co-written with Dave Stewart, received alot of worldwide airplay. In fact Mick toured Japan and Australia the following year in support of the album. His core band included Joe Satriani on guitar, Doug Wimbish on bass, and Simon Phillips on drums.
All of the songs on the album contained strong melodies with power and motion. Many reviewers commented on the fact that Mick’s singing exhibited diversity and commitment. Bass player Wimbish said that “Mick would describe the setting of each song, paint a picture for me. Mick communicates from the heart. He knows what’s needed and when he doesn’t know, he doesn’t mind asking”.
In Micks own words at the time: “I wrote alot of songs for this record. I spent time in the countryside because I found I was writing better melodies out there. You need to get away from the constant noise so the melodies you have in the back of your mind come to you easier. My main thing is to sing, but my most enjoyable thing is writing, the buzz when you first write that tune”.
“I started demoing my songs on keyboard and then programmed the drum machines. As with my first solo LP, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and what it should sound like. This time though I knew the songs better. I’d demoed them more, sung them longer. I was more confident. I wanted the guitar, bass and drums to be the same people. I had different keyboard players, different textures and so on, but I didn’t think the core should shift. I had shifted that around on the first album and it didn’t work as well as it could have. The musicians that played on this album were very talented and they had ideas, but most of the songs came out as I planned them on my demos”.
“My new album is different from SHES THE BOSS because that album was more city fed. I’m not saying this is a country album, it’s just a little more considered and has a little wider range of music and lyrics”.
Read more about ‘Primitive Cool’ on Wikipedia.
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