Review: Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings – Collector’s Edition Box Set (Proper American, 2011)
After leaving the Rolling Stones in 1992, bassist Bill Wyman formed the Rhythm Kings around a core of Graham Broad, Andy Fairweather-Low, Georgie Fame, Albert Lee, Beverly Skeete and Geraint Watkins. The group is joined by a revolving line-up of British all-stars that has included Gary Brooker, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, Nicky Hopkins and Mick Taylor. Wyman shares lead vocals with Fame, Skeete, Watkins, and the occasional guest, such as Paul Carrack. Wyman’s hoarse whisper hasn’t the power or charisma of Mick Jagger, but with the crack band chugging away, and the other vocalists taking the lion’s share of leads, his limitations aren’t really noticeable. The mix of original and cover songs play out like a rhythm and blues review, like Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, minus the stoned country influences. Proper American’s box set pulls together the group’s first four studio albums, from their 1998 debut, Struttin’ Our Stuff, through 2001’s two-CD Double Bill, packaged in mini-LP sleeves in a cardboard wrapper, with full credits and new liner notes by Bud Scoppa. There’s nothing revelatory here, but if you enjoy a night out with a talented band happily playing jump blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll favorites (not to mention new compositions that will remind you of your favorites), this is a nice spin.