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John Phillips 

Our critics' picks in new releases

Whattya get when you cross John Phillips with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards? Papa was a Rolling Stone! (Ha!) Well, not technically. But Phillips did team up with the Glimmer Twins (who produced) for this long-lost 1973 set that just now is seeing the light of day. The Stones--Richards (guitar and background vocals), Jagger (background vocals), Mick Taylor (guitar) and Ron Wood (bass)--are all over these tracks. But these are not the flower power anthems of "California Dreamin' " and "Monday, Monday"; the album plays more like Exile on Creeque Alley.In the opener, "Mr. Blue," Phillips sings: "Pretty soon I'm gonna shoot myself up with you/Just to find out where it is that you go." The subject of "She's Just 14" is "a little movie star queen" who "did it in a limousine," with Richards' slide guitar underscoring the lyric. "Oh Virginia" definitely recalls Exile-era Stones, with Jagger's inimitable drawl omnipresent on the track (Jagger even gets a co-songwriting credit on the pulsing "Zulu Warrior"), while "Sunset Boulevard" and "Pussycat" also chronicle life on the streets.Phillips certainly had his share of chart success with the Moms and Pops, Scott McKenzie and other artists, and "Kokomo," which he co-wrote, was a 1988 hit for the Beach Boys. But without the rich harmonies of The Mamas and Papas, Phillips' voice here sounds rather thin. And then there's the aura of seamy dissipation seeping through these tracks--just check out the liner photos. A curiosity.
----chuck waters

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