Singer and percussionist Bernard Fowler has been a backing vocalist for numerous artists and bands, including David Bowie, Material, and Alice Cooper. But it’s been his long-running association with the Rolling Stones that has sustained and inspired him. He’s been touring and recording with the Stones since 1988, so it should be no surprise that the veteran singer elected to focus on Jagger-Richards material for his third album, Inside Out, on Rhyme & Reason Records.
However. there is a surprise: He doesn’t sing on the album, at least not in a strict sense. Instead, Fowler approached the songs as spoken-word pieces backed mostly by percussion, evoking the Last Poets, Amiri Baraka, and Gil Scott-Heron. The result is a fascinating exploration of Jagger’s words removed from their often iconic musical associations. Stripped down to bare essentials, the lyrics sound decidedly dark and hypnotic. Fowler indeed has turned the Stones’ music inside out.