The small run of tributory discs that James Lee Stanley has been issuing—first All Wood and Stones I with John Batdorf (here) and then All Wood and Doors with Cliff Eberhardt (here)—have proven to be quite successful for all concerned, and so the series now finds itself in its third release, All Wood and Stones II, cherry-picking ever more gems from the Rolling Stones' prodigious back catalogue. As before, the disc's emphasis is pronouncedly on the two center figures, their vocals, and guitar work, with complementary percussion and bass rounding the picture out. Both Batdorf and Stanley enjoy well-deserved repute as folkers and mello-rockers, and, though Stanley's name output vastly outweighs Batdorf's, the two are possessed of the same high-end qualities and mesh very well together. To find out why in Stanley's case, just visit his back history anywhere you care to start. In Batdorf's instance, I'll refer the reader to one of rock's Great Unknown Treasures, the first Batdorf & Rodney LP. I still listen to that slab all the time.
In these gent's hands, Play with Fire becomes the requiem it really is, here concocted of filigree and angst, and Miss You turns from a squootchy chart hit into a folk ballad, a good deal more earthy and sincere. Sympathy for the Devil, a perennial favorite among Stonesficionados, however, remains interestingly germane to the original without reduplicating it. Some songs you just can't improve upon, or deviate much from, and this is definitely one of them. Batdorf and Stanley engage in interlocking guitar rhythm lines against the backbeat, singing solely or in tandem, but also as their own backing chorus, and charted all the arrangements. Batdorf was the prime engineer, Stanley helping out after the fact, and the result is crystal clear, warm, and lucid. In all, then, this is music for sitting on the back porch to, sipping whiskey and reminiscing on the golden days (the 1960s & 1970s), recapping what a halcyon period it was, but now from a new perspective, work done, battles fought, and easygoing refection one of the increasing pleasures of life. That's what I'm doing, and Wild Horses couldn't drag me away from it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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