Ten years before he rolled with the Stones, 17-year-old Ronnie Wood was winging his way around the country’s dancehalls with ‘London R&B sensations’ The Birds, dodging “screamos” and “cretins” in the hope that the slog was going to come to something.
His 1965 diary of happenings is a sort of Dead Sea Scroll from a typical mid-60s beat group with Decca discs, management ruses (serving a writ on The Byrds to cop the cover of Melody Maker) and pirate radio interviews.
It’s all brilliantly evocative and illustrated with live snaps, flyers and Ronnie’s sketches, including a poignant “Wallpapering with Dad”. There are asides on the envied main players – Clapton, Beck and Townshend – plus a shot of fan Lemmy.
Party Ronnie is in evidence (“Drank whiskey and spewed muchly”), but so is the ambitious young guitarist with an eye on audience reaction and the determination to reach the top of the pecking order.