Audio Mixers: Guy Fletcher ; Bill Wyman.
Recording information: Sphere Studios, Battersea, London.
Bill Wyman didn't quit making music once he quit the Rolling Stones in the early '90s, but he did put it on the back burner. A decade later, he started the Rhythm Kings -- a loose collective of similarly minded rockers including Gary Brooker, Georgie Fame, and Andy Fairweather-Low, at least on occasion -- but he didn't do a full solo album until 2015's Back to Basics. The title is a giveaway that Wyman remains in a casual roots mood, knocking out a bunch of originals that amble or shuffle but never hit hard. His voice is breathy, weathered, and rough but he's as unashamed of his limitations as he is of using outdated synths elsewhere. He's very comfortable using Back to Basics as an excuse to relax, to just settle back with some friends to play amiable tunes. While the songs are sturdy enough to withstand such gentle rocking, this is a vibe record, the sound of an old pro playing not because it's necessary but because it's fun. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine