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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mick Ronson - "Slaugher On 10th Avenue" Vinyl, LP, Album, 1974 (RCA)


I think it's impossible not to love Mick Ronson.  He was the main Spider in Bowie's Ziggy.  His arrangements and of course, guitar playing,  is perfect.  What he did was not original, nor visionary, but I think he's the type of artist who can look at a diagram or music score and know how to make it work or becoming a brilliant piece of music.   I think of Bowie as using the Duke Ellington method in making sure he surrounds himself with the cream of the best.   Ronson as the second lead or music leader is exceptional.  And it is always interesting when such artists do a solo album.

"Slaughter on 10th Avenue is by no means a perfect album, but it's highly enjoyable, but lacks the visionary scent to make it really an essential piece of music.  Saying that "After Dark" is one of the great glam songs of that era.  A brilliant piece of arrangement and delivery.  "Love Me Tender" is an Elvis song that for me, didn't work for Elvis (besides being an iconic hit!) nor does it for Ronson, on this opening cut.   A very weak way of starting a really good album.

Still, when playing this album from beginning to end, it seems almost like a resume at work.  The arrangements of standards such as the title cut, and his take on Annette Peacock's "I'm the One," (which I think Ronson is on the original recording?) shows off his sensitivity in dealing with covers.  "Love Me Tender" doesn't work,  because he didn't do a radical remake of it, just sort of kept it as it is.  Which is fine, but again, and lots of people would disagree with me, but it's not that great of a song.   

Ronson was stretching out his boundaries, by including a variety of music on this debut album.  He was a man of great taste (most cases) and a great loss when he passed away in the 1990s.   His work on the first Ian Hunter album is perfect.   As a solo artist, I think overall he is weak.  But when he backs someone up like Hunter or Bowie, of course, it's a magnificent sound.  And that goes for the same on his work with Morrissey.