Mick Ralphs – Take This (1984)

FrontCover1Ex-Bad Company and Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs released this 20 track release in 1984. This optimistically titled solo album found Bad Company’s guitar ace treading a softer, less insistent path from his platinum day job (although the band’s skin-basher, Simon Kirke, makes an appearance). However, the results failed to translate among diehards still pining for the “Can’t Get Enough” era. Taking the hint, Ralphs joined his megastar neighbor David Gilmour for the latter guitarist’s equally anemically received tour without the Pink Floyd banner. Even so, Ralphs’ album deserved a better reception than it received, for this is the sound of someone enjoying himself, trends be damned. He convincingly dishes out low-key country (“Last Chance Saloon”), glistening pop (“All It Takes”), melodic ballads (“Another Lonely Day”), and the breezy title track’s fleet-footed jazz fusion, which wouldn’t be amiss on a MickRalphs01Crusaders album. The ever-dutiful Ralphs does throw the faithful a crunchy bone or two on “When the Revolution Comes” and “Rock Fever,” although they sound more reserved than his parent band’s fare. Angel Air has included ten demos and rough mixes. While not essential listening, they do lend an appropriate “you are there” feel to the recording (and two solid unreleased tunes, “Rock N Roller” and “All Across the Nile”). There’s also an illuminating booklet packed with choice Ralphs-isms, whether he discusses the album-oriented rock leanings of “On the Run” (“quite American, quite bland”) or his aborted solo career (“my mate Dave Gilmour said, ‘Stop wasting your time and money'”). Such candor is refreshing, since Ralphs’ lyrics will hardly set the world alight, nor do his vocals prove more than serviceable, as his shaky attempt at the 1962 soul chestnut “Hey Baby” demonstrates. (“Shame I can’t sing,” his booklet notes cheerfully observe.) Bad Company freaks probably still won’t make sense of the proceedings here, but aficionados of melodic, well-crafted pop should definitely find this reissue. (Ralph Heibutzk)

Inlet01AMICK RALPHS is one of British rock music’s most tasteful and understated guitarists, from the same ‘school’ as JOE WALSH and MICK RONSON where, thankfully, the mission statement is thought, feel and melody rather than speed. Ralphs attributes, and his ability to ‘play for the song’, are amply displayed on his recordings with MOTT THE HOOPLE and BAD COMPANY, but this enhanced re-issue (containing the original ‘Take This’! LP, two unissued tracks, ‘All Across The Nile’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roller’, plus several work-in-progress mixes) showcases his solo compositions and further illustrares his redoubtable playing skills.

B.J. Cole (pedal steel)
Micky Feat (bass)
Simon Kirke (drums)
Mick Ralphs (vocals, guitar + various instruments)
Sam Brown (background vocals)
Vicky Brown (background vocals)
Stevie Lange (background vocals)

01. All It Takes 3.27
02. Hey Baby 2.39
03. Take This 5.12
04. Give You My Love 3.40
05. Fast Travelling Man 4.25
06. On The Run 3.49
07. Last Chance Saloon 4.03
08. Rock Fever 3.21
09. When The Revolution Comes 3.33
10. Another Lonely Day 3.39
11. Rock N Roller (unrealesed) 2.56
12. All Across The Nile (unrealesed) 4.40
13. All It Takes (working mix) 3.30
14. Give You My Love (working mix) 3.36
15 On The Run (working mix) 3.56
16. Last Chance Saloon (working mix) 4.02
17. When The Revolution Comes (working mix) 3.36
18. Another Lonely Day (demo) 4.34
19. Rock N Roller (working mix) 2.52
20. All Across The Nile (working mix) 4.45