Ronnie Wood Anthology: The Essential Crossexion

Ronnie Wood Anthology: The Essential Crossexion

by Ron Wood
He's seldom received top billing on any of his projects -- other than his passel of solo albums, that is -- but this grizzled guitarist has always provided glue that's been essential in holding his bands together. That's abundantly evident on this two-disc retrospective, which culls nuggets from the full four-decade span of Wood's career. Kicking off with his earliest


He's seldom received top billing on any of his projects -- other than his passel of solo albums, that is -- but this grizzled guitarist has always provided glue that's been essential in holding his bands together. That's abundantly evident on this two-disc retrospective, which culls nuggets from the full four-decade span of Wood's career. Kicking off with his earliest extant recordings with the Birds -- an early '60s crew that fell closer to the Stones than the Beatles on the British invasion spectrum -- The Ultimate Crossexion shines the spotlight on Wood's unflaggingly visceral playing. The bluesy riffs he wove into Birds tracks like "You're on My Mind" would give way to headier playing, like the prescient trippiness of his work on "The Girls Are Naked," one of the dizzier offerings from underrated mod pioneers the Creation. Wood proved to be an ideal foil for Jeff Beck, as demonstrated by four tracks that show him laying back to support that guitar hero one moment and -- on "Plynth," for instance -- engaging him in a full-on duel. While he's spent the past three decades as Keith Richards's sparring partner in the Rolling Stones -- a span documented here by a pair of songs, notably the jittery "Everything's Turning to Gold" -- Wood is probably best represented by his marvelously synchronous work with Rod Stewart. That alliance took on a number of forms over the years, from the all-for-one years in Faces to the right-hand-man role he took on Rod's best solo work, such as the title track to the stellar Every Picture Tells a Story. As a tip of the hat to Wood, Rod the Mod agreed to re-team for "You Strum and I'll Sing," a loping tune that nods to nostalgia without pouring on the sap -- and proves that old dogs can still do plenty of cool new tricks.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Most people don't think of Rolling Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood as a solo artist. His career in pop music has been a long one and is entering its fifth decade. Like his former Faces' bandmate Rod Stewart, Wood has always been a supreme collaborator, even on his own projects. Finally, Virgin Records has issued Ronnie Wood Anthology: The Essential Crossexion, a double-disc of Wood's recordings as both a solo artist and as a member of bands like the Creation and the Birds (the U.K. group, not the California one), as bassist for the Jeff Beck Group, lead guitarist with the Faces, on Rod Stewart's early solo records, and, of course, with the Rolling Stones. For the most part, the compilers at Virgin have done an excellent job here. Wood fans could argue over track selections forever, but what you get is a single-disc overview of his solo albums, and another single-disc overview of his work with the aforementioned bands. Wood's first solo outing, I've Got My Own Album to Do, was released in 1974 and it was a shade of things to come, as the first two cuts here "I Can Feel the Fire" and "Cancel Everything" show him working with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards respectively. The former cut also features David Bowie on backing vocals, but it's "Cancel Everything" that offers the real magic: just listen to the guitar interplay between Richards and Wood. Also on the first disc is a live version of "Seven More Days," written by Bob Dylan and recorded at Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, where Wood was backed by Booker T. & the MG's. Other standouts include his read of George Harrison's "Far East Man," Bobby Womack's "If You Don't Want My Love," and the funky Brit-soul of "Fountain of Love," with horns and Anita Pointer on the backing vocals. The ballads "Always Wanted More" and "Breathe on Me" showcase two sides of Wood's sensitivity. But it's the funkiness of "Somebody Else Might" (with Bernard Fowler) immediately preceding the rowdy rocker "Josephine" that offers a wonderfully and wildly contrasting sonic picture of Wood's range. There is an unreleased track here as well called "You Strum and I'll Sing" with Rod Stewart and Kelly Jones. Disc two is fascinating more for the cuts from the Birds and the Creation than for the better-known, later material. It's raw and yet derivative of a lot of stuff out at the time. Wood admits that "You're on My Mind," the first song he ever wrote, was inspired by the Yardbirds (no kidding). and recorded with the Birds (who have two singles' worth of material here) -- the tune is no great shakes but it's pretty wondrous for its adventurousness within the 45 rpm format of the era. "How Can It Be" has tons of guitar, drum, and even harmonica effects. In his liner notes, Wood comments on the more psychedelic Creation material by simply saying: "Hovering on the verge of something good." OK. But the two Creation cuts here are really a mess, as though nobody knew what to leave out. There are three tracks from Beck-Ola, and one from Truth; they're earthy with wild guitar effects and a woolly savagery in the rhythm tracks that serves to focus on Rod the Mod's singing style and of course, Jeff Beck's guitartistry. Wood keeps them all from going off the rails while adding some imaginative effects all his own. There are a whopping eight songs here that represent what must have been a beautiful time in Wood's life, when he was with the Faces and with Rod Stewart (who was always backed by the Faces in the early days, he just emerged as a killer frontman). These cuts include Ronnie Lane's "Ooh La La" and titles from "Every Picture Tells a Story" to "Gasoline Alley." There are only two cuts from the Rolling Stones and they're both from 1981 (when Wood's son Jesse was born); he co-wrote both with Jagger and Richards. The slide workout that occurs on "Black Limousine" is a fine set-ender; it's all rowdy and strutting, but it's really "Everything Is Turning to Gold," that takes the day. It's spooky, funky, and slippery. The raw energy and Charlie Watts' in-the-pocket beat, which everyone else plays all around, is amazing. Ultimately, this Essential Crossexion is a treat, a wonder ever revealing the sheer range and depth that Wood has displayed since the beginning. We don't hear often enough about the man, but we should. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
Virgin Records Us

Related Subjects


Disc 1

  1. I Can Feel the Fire
  2. Cancel Everything
  3. Far East Man
  4. Big Bayou
  5. If You Don't Want My Love
  6. 1234
  7. Fountain of Love
  8. Seven Days
  9. Always Wanted More
  10. Breathe on Me
  11. Somebody Else Might
  12. Josephine
  13. Testify
  14. Whadd'ya Think
  15. This Little Heart
  16. Little Mixed Up
  17. You Strum and I'll Sing

Disc 2

  1. You're on My Mind
  2. You Don't Love Me
  3. No Good Without You Baby
  4. How Can It Be
  5. Midway Down
  6. The Girls Are Naked
  7. I Ain't Superstitious
  8. All Shook Up
  9. Plynth (Water Down the Drain)
  10. Jailhouse Rock
  11. Flying
  12. Gasoline Alley
  13. Miss Judy's Farm
  14. Too Bad
  15. Maggie May
  16. Stay with Me
  17. Every Picture Tells a Story
  18. Ooh La La
  19. Everything Is Turning to Gold
  20. Black Limousine

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ronnie Wood   Primary Artist,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Jeff Beck   Author
Charlatans UK   Author
Bob Dylan   Composer
Jools Holland   Author
Mick Jagger   Composer
Rod Stewart   Composer,Producer,Author
Bobby Womack   Producer
Ronnie Wood   Composer,Producer
Ian McLagan   Producer
George Clinton   Composer
Don DeVito   Producer
Bernard Fowler   Composer,Producer,Author
Glimmer Twins   Producer
Andy Johns   Producer
Ronnie Lane   Composer
Eoghan McCarron   Producer
Mickie Most   Producer
Martin Quittenton   Composer
Lou Reizner   Producer
Keith Richards   Composer,Author
Jeff Rosen   Producer
Slash   Author
Shel Talmy   Producer
John Wonderling   Composer
Franklyn Boyd   Producer
Kelly Jones   Author
Daron Taylor   Composer
Judy Totton   Cover Photo
R. Stewart   Composer
Glyn John   Producer
Josephine Wood   Inspiration

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