The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band may be into its fourth
decade of rocking, but thanks to the release of a solo album by the
Mamas and the Papas founder John Phillips, it will soon be possible
to experience the Stones — and the Hall of Fame-inducted singer —
in all their mid-Seventies splendor.
According to Phillips, the album, titled Half Stoned, was
recorded between 1976 and ’79 with the full participation of Mick
Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood, and is set for
release in September through Phillips’ own Paramour Records.
Although the songs and lead vocals are by John Phillips, the sound
of classic Stones with Mick Taylor pervades the album.
“Mick [Jagger] and Keith produced the album,” says Phillips from
his Palm Springs home. “The production credit is ‘The Glimmer
Twins.’ [They] were the real drive and thrust behind the album, and
it was an unexpected kindness and friendship that they showed for
me. The album was recorded for Atlantic Records, and Ahmet
[Ertegun, the label’s founder] didn’t think it was right for us all
to be on the same label, so he made me an offer … and I bought
the masters from him.”
A publicist for the Rolling Stones says the band hadn’t been
approached regarding the tapes as of early last week. The group is
on tour in Eastern Europe, and was unavailable for further comment.
Ertegun’s office, likewise, had no response regarding the record at
Eight of the eleven tracks on the album feature the Stones. The
original recordings range from heavy country-blues acoustic
work-outs, such as “Oh Virginia,” and “Just Fourteen” to all out
rockers like “Mr. Blue” and “Zulu Warrior,” which have a vague
African feel that recall the Stones “Heartbreaker” period.
The recordings also feature Mick Taylor, who at the time was
somewhat reluctant to record again with Jagger and Richards. “I was
able to get Mick Taylor to come out of hiding,” says Phillips. “He
had quit the Rolling Stones a few years before, and they hadn’t
spoken to each other. I said, ‘What the hell, come out and play.
It’s just music.’ So he showed up, and it was a pretty tense
situation for a while. We recorded ‘Very Dread,’ ‘Oh Virginia’ and
some others. After Mick Taylor played a tremendous solo on ‘Oh
Virginia,’ Keith turned to him and said, ‘Now I know why I never
Phillips, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
earlier this year along with surviving members of the Mamas and the
Papas Denny Doherty and Michelle Phillips, is involved in a flurry
of reissue activity. Along with Half Stoned, there are two
items from Phillips’ vault that are about to see the light of day
in September. The first CD is Many Mamas and Papas, which
will contain mostly studio tracks that were cut during
late-Eighties and early-Nineties, when John revived the group along
with Scott McKenzie, Spanky MacFarlane and original member Doherty.
A new live CD recorded earlier this year, Mamas and the Papas,
Live!, will also be released through Paramour this
Half Stoned will be available next month through
www.mamasandpapas.com, a Web site currently under construction, as
well as by toll free number (800-969-9956) and will cost $14.95.
All three Mamas and Papas releases will also be available as a set,
signed by Phillips, for $39.95. A Paramour spokesman says that
retail distribution will begin within sixty days of the record’s