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LPs from the Attic: Jamming with Edward!

January 3, 2011

Nicky Hopkins, Ry Cooder, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman — Jamming with Edward! (Rolling Stones, 1972)

Jamming with Edward! is the kind of LP that crate-diggers like me dream about: an obscure, one-off record featuring three-fifths of one of my favorite bands (rolling stones Jagger, Watts and Wyman), a highly sought-after session pianist who played with nearly every great rock band of the 60’s/70’s (Nicky Hopkins, who played on records by The Who, Kinks, Beatles, Jeff Beck Group, Jefferson Airplane, and more), and an eclectic multi-instrumentalist who recorded with Captain Beefheart and Ali Farka Touré and can work instant magic on just about anything with a fretboard (Ry Cooder).

But, given its keys-heavy, shambolic nature, the record might be better described as a cast-off. Maybe the circumstances of its origin explain why. Recorded during the sessions for the Stones’ Let It Bleed in 1969, Jamming probably exists simply because Keith Richards had quit Olympic Studios in a huff in protest of Jimmy Miller asking Cooder to help bolster the album’s overall guitar sound. Since Nicky, nicknamed Edward, and Ry were already in the studio with time to kill and money to burn…

There are some good moments (“The Boudoir Stomp” and a decent cover of  “It Hurts Me Too”) , and you almost hear where great ones could have been if the affair had been more focused. It’s a shame that a purpose higher than filling paid-for studio time didn’t find its way into these proceedings. As it is, Jamming is a disappointment, but maybe one that wouldn’t be so sharp if expectations for all involved weren’t so high.

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