This box set is more Wyman than most people would ever want. But his four albums he made while still the Stones’ bass player have some genuine high points.
Lowell George and Dr. John are on hand for the post-Goats Head Soup track Monkey Grip (1974), and What A Blow effectively borrows some of the Doctor’s steamy gris-gris. Pussy makes My Ding-A-Ling seem subtle, and is one of numerous confirmations that Wyman likes shagging.
Stone Alone (1976) loses focus somewhere between Van Morrison’s harmonica on Every Sixty Seconds and a couple of heavy-breathing Pointer Sisters on Peanut Butter Time. 1981’s Bill Wyman is the clear peak, borrowing from new wave and moody Sheffield synth-pop, most famously on the hit (Si, Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star, and most impressively on the dumbly addictive A New Fashion.
The DVD in this exemplary package is almost worth the price of admission alone, not for its naff videos but for glimpses of Wyman’s pre-Stones stadium show ping-pong regime, and the South of France tax-exiled Stone telling Parkinson how much he hates the French.
Memories of rationing also remind you he was the Old Stone; an unreadable, deadpan misfit whose odd creative urges were, this collection shows, wholly different from his band’s. A year after his misguided 1992 try for dance scene relevance with Stuff, he was an ex-Stone.