November 06, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Mick Jagger is hoping that time is still on his side. That’s why he has pushed back the release of his third solo album, tentatively titled Wandering Spirit, from this month until early next year. Some suspect Jagger feared his album would be dwarfed by Keith Richards’ new release, but a Jagger spokeswoman denies this. ”One thing had nothing to do with the other,” she insists. Instead, she says, Jagger hasn’t completed the album on schedule — mixing, final cover art, and videos have yet to be completed — and it wouldn’t be ready in time for the Christmas buying season.

But when it arrives, probably in February, Wandering Spirit will apparently showcase a tougher Jagger. He’s getting production help from Rick Rubin, president of Def American Records, and producer of groundbreaking albums by the Beastie Boys and L.L. Cool J. Ranging from country to blues, all with a more hard-edged sound, the new album will include a cover of the 1960 James Brown hit, ”Think,” and a duet with Lenny Kravitz on the 1972 Bill Withers smash, ”Use Me.” Among the musicians featured are Billy Preston, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish, and Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench.

Of course, it’s too soon to tell if Wandering Spirit will reverse Jagger’s solo career. But the new album has already made an impact on the Stones. Plans for the group to begin recording early next year have now been delayed till midyear.

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