RIGA - Bill Wyman, that "dragging, booming bass player," was for three decades one half of the rhythm section of The Rolling Stones, surely the most frequently acclaimed "greatest rock and roll band" in the world.
Although no spring chicken, Wyman has lost none of his assured touch, and none of his love for good music, and he'll be rolling into the Baltic states with his Rhythm Kings outfit for three mustn't-miss dates.
After playing bass with the Stones for some 30 long years, Wyman arguably had the sense and the self-respect to quit with his legend intact and go on to more small scale things. After he left the Stones in 1993 he was a seriously busy man. He got married and developed his Sticky Fingers restaurant business. He also found the time to work on a variety of diverse personal projects including writing, archaeology and photography - things he had never had the time to get into in a serious way while a member of The Rolling Stones.
But Wyman couldn't put his guitar down for long and in late 1995 he began jamming at home with Terry Taylor (Tucky Buzzard), playing and singing gritty and authentic old blues numbers. They concentrated on the more serious music of artists like Fats Waller, Louis Jordan and Billie Holiday, and thought it would be worthwhile taking the sessions a little further with other musicians and so Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings was formed.
The Rhythm Kings' began to record anything that caught their fancy. The benefit of working in this way - apart from the spontaneous atmosphere it created - was that Wyman could pick and choose musicians for the particular style he wanted for each track. The result of these early sessions became the first Rhythm Kings CD - "Struttin' Our Stuff."
Since then Wyman has notched up more than 10 solo albums and seven albums together with the Rhythm Kings, which have been an immense success all over the world.
He has also shown himself to be a surprisingly accomplished author and has published several books over the last few years including "Stone Alone," "Wyman Shoots Chagall," "Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey" and, more recently the most definitive book on The Rolling Stones ever written - "Rolling With The Stones."
This will be the first time for Bill Wyman and his all star band in this part of the world, and he is certain to get a rousing and very welcoming reception from his many fans. After all, it's not every day that a living music legend comes to town. o
Oct 7 - Ledo Rumai, Vilnius Tickets: 50 litas (15 euros) - 80 litas
Oct 8 - Dream Factory, Riga Tickets: 15 lats (22 euros)
Oct 9 - Rock Cafe, Tallinn Tickets: 599 kroons (38 euros)