John Phillips Pay Pack & Follow

It's a little ironic that the tapes of this album, recorded by the Mamas & Papas' leader as he seemingly cheated death every day with his heroin use, were only rediscovered just prior to his ultimate passing a few months ago. As detailed in the liner notes, the album's bastardised conception could only have occurred in the '70s: Phillips was living with Keith Richards and one day played the songs in Mick Jagger's presence. Jagger volunteered to produce the sessions with Keith in tow, leading to this definitive slice of '70s sleaze. Phillips was always a better self-promoter than songwriter, so any interest in Pay Pack & Follow will stem from the Stones connection. Keith does what he can to add a spark throughout, and a couple of tracks, "She's Just 14" and "Oh Virginia," approach classic Stones country rockers. There's also a handful of fine solos from the always under-valued Mick Taylor, and the ubiquitous Ron Wood adds his two cents. Any fan of the Stones during this period will discover a fair number of interesting moments, and perhaps it is a fair epitaph for Phillips, a man who used his excessive habits to his full advantage. (EMI)