Longtime Rolling Stones backing vocalist Bernard Fowler has released a unique take on Mick Jagger & Keith Richards' classic tunes for his latest solo album, Inside Out. The collection, by the band's 30-year-road and studio veteran, features subtle jazz and funk based backings over poetic readings of the songs' lyrics, in which he salutes the past, while breaking new ground.
Although Fowler touches upon some Stones' standards, such as “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Dancing With Mr. D.” — he hits his stride when he goes off the beaten path with no less than four cuts off of the Stones' sorely overlooked 1983 Undercover set, including “All The Way Down,” “It Must Be Hell,” “Undercover Of The Night” and the album's lead cut, “Tie You Up”: “'Tie You Up' was the lyric, y'know? It feels different on the album, and I think I was like a lot of other people, y'know? I'm hearing it — but I'm not really hearing it. But, when it was time to make this record — and I actually read it, I was, like, 'Oooh – sexy!' And — the flow of it: 'You're deaf to it / blind to it /it's like a thunderclap / feel the prickles running up and down your back / why so divine? / the pain of love.' It felt like the Last Poets could've wrote that song.”
Bernard Fowler came into the Rolling Stones' orbit during the recording of Mick Jagger's 1985 solo debut, She's The Boss and Jagger's subsequent 1988 Australasian solo tour. He began working with the Stones officially in 1989 in time for the Steel Wheels album and tour — and has remained a constant in the studio and on the road. He told us that the secret for his longevity nwith the band, is that he never played into the “are you a 'Mick camp' or 'Keith camp' guy”: “A lot of people make the mistake — or made the mistake — of taking a side. I even had somebody yell at me in catering: 'Who you think you are?! You're either with him or you're with him. Nobody is with them both!' And I said, 'That's your problem. I'm here for both of them.' Y'know, I'd go to Keith's room, we'd play dominoes all night, y'know? And chat and listen to music. And the next day, y'know, I'm talking to Mick and we're going out and hangin' out in a club. So, I never played that 'side' game. I was here for the Rolling Stones.”
The tracklisting to Bernard Fowler's Inside Out is: “Tie You Up,” “Dancing with Mr. D,” “Undercover Of the Night,” “Time Waits for No One,” “Sister Morphine,” “All the Way Down,” “Must Be Hell,” and “Sympathy For The Devil.”