Mick Ronson – Only After Dark: The Complete Mainman Recordings

Rating

This is an important collection of music from an important artist. Ronson is rightly famed for his work with David Bowie as one of the Spiders From Mars. He also played with Mott The Hoople, Ian Hunter and Morrissey, and toured with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.

Ronson is rightly famed for his incendiary guitar playing, but his skills as an arranger and breath-taking. Bowie would go on to do good work without Ronson, but something was lacking and Ronson’s arrangements are a big part of that.

I never knew until I started researching this piece that Ronson arranged John Mellencamp’s biggest track ‘Jack & Diane’ or Lulu’s version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ or Mott The Hoople’s version of Bowie’s ‘All The Young Dudes’, so I realise, even if you haven’t heard of Ronson, you have heard him.

A parallel to is Metallica’s late Cliff Burton. Like Ronson, Cliff was classically trained, and even on songs he is not credited on writing for Metallica, his skills as an arranger shine through. The three albums he made with Metallica are special, and nothing Metallica have created since has been of that quality. A cursory listen to their back catalogue proves this.

So, the first CD of this incredible collection is Ronson’s debut solo album ‘Slaughter On 10th Avenue’. Had this been recorded with Bowie it would be acclaimed as what it is, one of the great 70s albums. It features eight bonus tracks.

Disc two is follow up solo album ‘Play Don’t Worry’, which, again is superb and features several demo track as bonuses.

Disc Three are sessions recorded by Ronson in 1976, which are a treat, really incredible heartfelt playing.

Finally, the fourth disc is a valuable collection of rarities and a great collection in its own right, it would be worth purchasing ‘Only After Dark just for this.

This is simply the best Mick Ronson solo collection you’ll ever hear.

Cherry Red Records

Mick Ronson: Only After Dark – The Complete Mainman Recordings, 4CD BoxsetMick Ronson

Steve Earles

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).

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