Video Savant: Ron Wood's “I Can Feel The Fire”

Maybe you've seen the tabloidy stories lately about 61-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. Apparently he's left his rather attractive wife of 23 years, Jo Wood, for 18-year-old Russian cocktail waitress Ekaterina Ivanova. Allegedly, on top of this scandalous development, the excellent ex-Faces axe-man has been downing two bottles (bottles!) of vodka a day. Just reading about that sort of prodigious consumption, I practically black out.

Well, judging from this article, Mr. Wood seems to be hell-bent on giving his liver the appearance of a screen door and almost outdoing his ex-bandmate Bill Wyman in the cradle-robbing sweepstakes. Nice one, mate.

But let's not rush to judgment about Ronnie's moral character. Let us instead discuss the man's unheralded solo work—specifically “I Can Feel the Fire” (oh, I bet you can, Ron) off his 1974 LP I've Got My Own Album to Do. (First, a word about Wood's getup, which Liberace might deem too flamboyant: Brian Eno circa Roxy Music's For Your Pleasure called and he wants his top back.)

Okay, the music. “I Can Feel the Fire” is a rare, outstanding example of white dudes assimilating reggae elements into debauched mid-'70s rawk shenanigans. The song balances summery, feel-good sway common to much reggae with a sweet wistfulness that inflated much of the Stones' post-Brian Jones output. Ronnie and Keith Richards make audacious love with their lean, glinting guitar lines while Willie Weeks (who isn't white, but play along with me) snakes out some sinewy, sinuous bass lines and Ian McLagan's organ oozes equal amounts secular soul à la the Band's Richard Manuel and sly sauciness. All reggae-rock bands should study this video and learn how to do that thing properly.

And, finally, confidential to Ronnie: more wheatgrass juice, less Grey Goose. Keeping an 18-year-old happy can be exhausting, brother.

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