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Rolling Stones – From The Vault: Live At The Tokyo Dome

Happy Birthday to me!

Stones birthday gifts to me from my Mom and Dad go waaaay back to high school. So many wonderful things for the collection, over the years, and I love them all. They know I’m a ‘bit of a Stones fan’ (understatement), though my Mom more recently says things like ‘don’t you have enough of their stuff by now?” Haha no, Mom. Never.

***

Series: From The Vault
From: Steel Wheels tour, 1990, Tokyo, Japan
This Set: SD Blu-ray/2CD
Total Length: 132:22 

The full track list is below. So many great tunes, of course, and they sounded huge. So much energy, too. Remember, this tour was a return, of sorts, after so many years not working together. I loved the Honky Tonk Women / Midnight Rambler / Can’t Always Get What You Want run at the tail end of CD1, and seeing 2000 Light years From Home in the setlist was stellar. 5 tracks off the current (Steel Wheels) album in a 24 song set, here, represents 21% of the show. My bias is showing but this was all kinds of awesome, top to bottom!

I am also happy to get this because I was lucky enough to see the Stones At The Max film presentation in the iMax Theater at Ontario Place in its year of release (from this same tour). I was in high school, and we saw it during a school band trip to the city – our concert band played the wee stage at ON Place that day too. I loved that film, too, such an over-the-top tour. Four years later, I’d see the band in concert myself, at Exhibition Stadium, on the Voodoo Lounge tour…

Stellar addition to the collection. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Track List:

CD1: Continental Drift / Start Me Up / Bitch / Sad Sad Sad / Harlem Shuffle / Tumbling Dice / Miss You / Ruby Tuesday / Almost Hear You Sigh / Rock And A Hard Place / Mixed Emotions / Honky Tonk Women / Midnight Rambler / You Can’t Always Get What You Want

CD2: Can’t Be Seen / Happy / Paint It Black / 2000 Light Years From Home / Sympathy For The Devil / Gimme Shelter / -band introductions- / It’s Only Rock ’n Roll / Brown Sugar / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Jumpin’ Jack Flash

 

Youtube has the whole show! Hot damn! Look at the short hair!

Rolling Stones – Living In A Ghost Town

OMG! Brand new Rolling Stones!!

I am uncertain as to how I didn’t hear about this when it dropped on April 23, 2020, but I’m here today, after discovering it on the Tubes of You, to shout my joy over quarantined towns and empty streets! Just like you can see in the video (below)!

It’s a laid back late-period Stones-y shuffle with reggae tinges and a crisp Charlie beat. Let’s be real – are any of Charlie’s beats anything less than crisp? No, they absolutely are not. And can we just talk for a moment about how they’ve been going so long that when I say ‘Stones-y’ you immediately know exactly what I mean? Quintessential.

Add backing whoa oh vocals, and lyrics that could be talking about the current world isolation situation, or could just be a bluesy meditation on personal loneliness. Mick throws in a pretty damn good snarl/wail/shout for a man his age (and a typical, almost cookie-cutter, harmonica solo to boot). There’s no guitar solo, but the breakdown is sweet.

Nothing truly stands out about it, as a hit Stones song, perhaps but, at this point, fans should have No Expectations, only glee. New Rolling Stones content just thrills me so much.

Get you some!

 

Rolling Stones – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

I don’t often talk about single songs these days (that’s Steve For The Deaf’s territory!), but I wanna talk about a Stones song I’ve loved for years. It came up in a mix the other day, and I got to thinking about it a bit more, so I’ll ramble a bit. To me, it really is three parts in one song. It also influenced others, and is (possibly, though it’s been denied) influenced by others. I’ll be brief. Check it:

Found on Sticky Fingers (1971). You knew that.

Part I: The opening is pure rough and dirty, bluesy, fuzzy, chunky Stones riff rawk. I mean, goddamn. That open G monster has a swing, a shake, and a groove to it. There’s no overplaying, it’s sparse and gorgeous, like so many Stones riffs. Some bands spend their whole careers trying to write a riff as good, and for these guys it wasn’t even a single. Crazy.

Part II: The chorus bit is rousing, in a spaced-out sort of way. It all sounds like it could fall apart at any minute yet it never quite does. I’d wager it was this bit that the Black Crowes lifted for their track, My Morning Song. Of course, the Crowes owe such a massive debt to the Stones (and others, it’s true) for even sounding like they often do, so this should come as no surprise. 

Part III: And then, at 2:43, the song takes its final form as an instrumental jam, complete with conga drums (RIP Rocky Dijon), saxophone (RIP Bobby Keys), and organ (RIP Billy Preston). Jeez, all three gone… Anyway, it’s a jazzy blues jam to the outro in extended guitar solos, starting at 4:40, by Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, and by the time it ambles past the seven minute mark (!) we’re so far from the opening riff that it’s like we left the planet. 

Now, I’d swear that inspiration for some of this part came from Carlos Santana’s recognizable sound, but Keef says otherwise: “The jam at the end wasn’t inspired by Carlos Santana. We didn’t even know they were still taping. We thought we’d finished. We were just rambling and they kept the tape rolling. I figured we’d just fade it off. It was only when we heard the playback that we realised, Oh, they kept it going. Basically we realised we had two bits of music. There’s the song and there’s the jam.” 

And it seems Mick Taylor has his story in line with Keef’s: “”Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” … is one of my favourites … [The jam at the end] just happened by accident; that was never planned. Towards the end of the song I just felt like carrying on playing. Everybody was putting their instruments down, but the tape was still rolling and it sounded good, so everybody quickly picked up their instruments again and carried on playing. It just happened, and it was a one-take thing. A lot of people seem to really like that part.

I guess that’s that, then!

In looking it up, I, too, learned something new: In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed it at number 25 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.” Damn.

Alright, enough. Here’s the tune. Crank it!

Philip Norman – The Stones: The Acclaimed Biography

The cover photo of this book tells it all. This Jagger-centric book glosses over giant swaths of time, cultural movements, personal interactions and entire albums (!) with horrifying rapidity, yet waxes poetic and covers minute detail for huge sections about the various drug arrests, Brian Jones’ death, and Altamont. It’s very obvious that this author prefers the prurient subjects.

Other band members get far less mention, except Keith but only then for his drug-related problems, and even then mostly only as it relates to Mick. It’s like Bill wasn’t even there (though we get an update about his post-Stones life in the epilogue – wow, thanks). And if Charlie gets mentioned, it’s that he lived quietly and collected antique silver. Thanks for fleshing him out for us! This author has also written a separate book about Mick, but no other Stones, so it’s obvious who gets the most coverage.

The book also hangs huge on the early years, up to the end of the 1960s. For a 501-page book (excluding author’s note and index), it’s only just finished barfing adjectives about Altamont by page 403. The next two decades get covered in less than 100 pages.

Worst (to me), the music is secondary, throughout this telling. The entire raison d’etre of the group, the creation of most of their albums, plays second fiddle to the goings-on and the minute details, for example, of all of Mick’s dalliances and marriages. So much space is wasted banging on about backstage garden parties and which house they bought, and yet, for example, Goats Head Soup gets more mention of its cover art than its music (and even then only about a paragraph), and the entire album of Emotional Rescue gets one sentence.

I’ve read enough about the Rolling Stones in the 3+ decades I’ve been a fan to know most of this stuff already, so I could fill in the incredible number of blanks myself. And yes, it is unrealistic to cover their entire career, and all of the goings-on both musical and extracurricular, in a mere 500 pages, but I wouldn’t blame a neophyte for reading this book and not knowing anything about the music at all when they were finished reading. It should have been titled The Stones: The Acclaimed Tabloid Biography (But Only The Most Salacious Bits About Which I Know The Most).

It all became clear when I read the Thank Yous at the end. This author spent time with the band on the 1981-1982 tour, and was a writer for the Sunday Times from 1965 up, so of course the main bit of knowledge would be the early years. But you can’t print a book about the Stones and just brush off sooooo much. I understand that a comprehensive biography would require multiple volumes, but picking and choosing like this book does is a disservice.

Much as I love the band, I wouldn’t recommend this book.

Rolling Stones – From The Vault: No Security San Jose ’99

Yup, this is what I got with my (replaced) $25 Father’s Day Sunrise gift card. STONES!

Deke’s suggestion made me do it. Thanks Deke!

This set is 2CD of the full show. It’s also got the DVD of the full show! VALUE!

The setlist is classic, of course (same order and track totals on CDs and DVD). Seriously, it’s embarassing how many songs they have from which they can choose, all of them fan faves. Check it:

CD1: Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Bitch / You Got Me Rockin’ / Respectable / Honky Tonk Women / I Got The Blues / Saint Of Me / Some Girls / Paint It, Black / You Got The Silver / Before They Make Me Run

CD2: Out Of Control / Route 66 / Get Off Of My Cloud / Midnight Rambler / Tumbling Dice / It’s Only Rock ’N Roll (But I Like It) / Start Me Up / Brown Sugar / Sympathy For The Devil

You can also go through and see all the ones they didn’t play that night… missing are Satisfaction, 19th Nervous Breakdown, Under My Thumb, Ruby Tuesday, Gimme Shelter, Street Fighting Man, Wild Horses, Angie, Miss You, Beast Of Burden, Mixed Emotions, Love Is Strong… and oh I could go on, and these are not complaints. Just pointing out they could have played for five friggin’ hours and STILL not played half the hits.

Some thoughts (of many):

Take your Gravol before watching the DVD. Ye gods, it’s like watching those horrible Bourne movies with the shaky cam and quick cuts. By the time you get focussed on what’s on screen, it’s gone and you have to re-focus and then that’s gone too… 

I think Mick used ALL Of his stage move arsenal in the opening track, Jumpin’ Jack Flash. That was an aerobic workout right there, all the moves in under five minutes. Haha shake that moneymaker, Mick baby!

I’m not sure what Mick was mumbling in You Got Me Rockin’, but it sure wasn’t “rockin,” more like “you got me rawghbrghlgb.” Haha whut.

Keith, of course, pull out all his moves and played pirate all night. Ronnie (the new guy) smiles like he’s got the greatest job in the world (he does). Charlie is implaccable as ever, and as metronomic now as he was 50 years ago. Friggin’ hero of mine, man. Darryl Jones unobtrusively lays down bass perfection. Chuck Leavell owns the keys (check Respectable, Honky Tonk Women, I Got The Blues, and, well, every tune, dammit), and Bernard Fowler and the ever-gorgeous Lisa Fischer own the backing vocals. Lisa slinky dances in a tight black dress and flirts with Mick. Ah, that’s livin’. 

Keith’s piano additions in Honky Tonk Women were a pleasant surprise, and his bluesy You Got The Silver slays. I loved that they did the soul-dancin’ walk down a gangway to a small stage mid-crowd for a rip through the old Route 66, Get Off My Cloud and Midnight Rambler. It turned it into a club gig. And the soul revue run-through of I Got The Blues was lovely…

Ach, there are many highlights. The DVD is fun (if nauseating to watch, motion-wise), and the CDs are fuckin’ great in the car. 

In Sum:

Frickin’ fantastic. There’s a sense of occasion when these guys play, not something a lot of bands manage to generate in quite the same way. It’s special, and you know it. There’s also something timeless about these guys. I’m sitting here watching and forgetting that this set was recorded 19 years ago. It could’ve been yesterday. Whatever the case, this set is definitely worth the wait for that damn gift card, I gotta say. Greatness captured!

Happy Canada Day 2018!

My lovely wife brought me a gift to wear today (Canada Day). She knows me so well.

Happy Canada Day, everybody!

Timmys cupface. Stones shirt. Livin’ the dream!

Rolling Stones – The Very Best Of The Rolling Stones 1964-1971

subtitled: How To Know You Have A Problem And Then Admit It On The Internet

Did I need to buy this?

No. I own all of these songs so many times, on so many Hits collections (not to mention the albums proper anyway) that this disc is 100% completely utterly redundant and unnecessary in my collection.

Did I need to buy this?

Yes. Because Rolling Stones.

 

Tracklist

1 Time Is On My Side 2:50
2 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 3:45
3 Get Off Of My Cloud 2:52
4 19th Nervous Breakdown 3:52
5 Mother’s Little Helper 2:40
6 Paint It, Black 3:20
7 Under My Thumb 3:20
8 Ruby Tuesday 3:12
9 She’s A Rainbow 4:35
10 Jumpin’ Jack Flash 3:40
11 Sympathy For The Devil 6:14
12 Gimme Shelter 4:30
13 You Can’t Always Get What You Want 7:28
14 Honky Tonk Woman 3:03
15 Brown Sugar 3:50
16 Wild Horses 5:41

Rolling Stones Trivial Pursuit

This had sat at work for several days and no one bought it, so I knew I had to be the one to (emotional) rescue the damn thing. It was even still in the shrink wrap!

It has a game board with Stones pictures and logos all over it, and a custom die. Even the category markers (we called them pieces of pie, as kids) have the Stones tongue on them.

There are 400 cards (2400 questions total) covering 6 categories: Hot Rocks, Rewind, Rolled Gold, In Concert, Story Of The Stones, and No Stone Unturned.

The categories cover “the band’s history, music, accomplishments, and more.”

I’m excited to try it out, but my lovely wife refuses to play against me. I wonder why… 😉

Rolling Stones – From The Vault: Hampton Coliseum (2CD/1DVD)

Here we have the final episode in this current IOU Series (there may be more, at some future point, who knows?), and it’s a doozy.

I’ve been teasing the incomparable Deke at Superdekes about covering this 2CD/1DVD set for a loooong time now. In fact, it has dragged on so long, I assume he’s given up on me ever reviewing the damn thing… Well guess what, Dekester? HERE IT IS!

Quick! Someone send the paramedics to T-Bay! I think Deke just fell over in shock!

Haha. Now, before I dive in, though, I’d like to thank all of you for taking the time tag along during this IOU Series. Hell, for being Readers of the blog at all! Without all of you I’d just be firing my blather (and James would be offering up his excellent and humourous, professional-quality writing) into the ether to no one. You make this all worthwhile, so THANKS!

And now, let’s zap ourselves back to December 18, 1981, to the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, USA…

… and let’s not forget that Tattoo You was the album of the day…

What a glorious spectacle.

 

 

Check out this setlist:

CD1: Under My Thumb / When The Whip Comes Down / Let’s Spend The Night Together / Shattered / Neighbours / Black Limousine / Just My Imagination / Twenty Flight Rock / Going To A Go-Go / Let Me Go / Time Is On My Side / Beast Of Burden / Waiting On A Friend / Let It Bleed

CD2: You Can’t Always Get What You Want / Band Intros / Happy Birthday Keith / Little T&A / Tumbling Dice / She’s So Cold / Hang Fire / Miss You / Honky Tonk Women / Brown Sugar / Start Me Up / Jumpin’ Jack Flash / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

The DVD set list is identical, with the addition of an introduction to the set.

I’ve gotta hand it to these From The Vault releases, they’re friggin’ gorgeous. Quality, in all aspects. Having the full concert on CD so that I can hear it anytime is wonderful, and the DVD is good quality, and mighty fine viewing. Pure class, and a fine historical document.

I was thrilled to see several tracks in that list (above) that don’t get played much anymore (if ever), like Black Limousine (though it did get an airing in the Stripped set), Neighbours (off Tattoo You, makes sense they’d play it then…), Just My Imagination (cover tune, of course, and from Some Girls), Twenty Flight Rock (an cover of Eddie Cochran, which also appeared on the Still Life live set), Let Me Go (from Emotional Rescue), Going To A Go-Go (a cover of the Miracles, also found on Still Life live set)…

Anyway, you get the point. And of course there are a ton of hits here, too. If anything, this is a really, really generous set list. And judging from the DVD, the crowd was having a blast. What a frickin’ party. The band was in full flight, no holds barred. Even the intro is fun… a naked woman talking, telling you all the radio stations on which you can hear the show, with each station call numbers painted on her body. Then we go backstage and watch the band loosening up nd getting ready to head to stage… then it’s Ellington’s Take The ‘A’ Train before Keef and Charlie launch into Under My Thumb… Charlie’s revolving drum set is fun, and Mick’s dancing like a lunatic being electrocuted in a mauve suit…

They blast throught the set, and it’s riveting viewing. Say what you will about these guys and their antics, but when they get into the pocket and start rocking, which they do from the off, here, it’s a whole other animal and must be seen to be believed.

During the band intros, Mick leads the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Keith (he was 38, that day), and then the band is all served a round of drinks to his health. Keef then launches into a characteristically rough and beautiful version of T&A and the momentum picks right back up…

And then there’s the scene everyone talks about, when mentioning this show. They do Satisfaction as a show closer encore. The band re-takes the stage, Mick resplendently draped in both the Union Jack and the American flag like a cape… the band rips into it, Keef’s guitar sounding raw and glorious… and about a minute into the tune, a fan gets on stage and makes a b-line for Mick. Keef immediately stops playing, shrugs off his guitar and proceeds to bash away at the fan with the heavy end of it until security can get the interloper off stage. Keef then gives Mick a look that says “I got yer back, mate, ” immediately straps back in, finds the line, and plays away like nothing happened. The guitar’s even still in tune! The track takes off to the stratosphere, a mass of balloons with the Stones’ tongue logo on them drop from the ceiling, Mick loses the cape and dances shirtless in bright yellow football pants…

Glory. They’re so young, lithe, already been through the ringer several times, battle hardened and not anywhere near road-weary. No one could even try to say they’d gone half-power at any moment of this gig. And the fans in the place knew the Stones had been in town (and how!), and they’d all been ridden hard and put down wet. In all, a fucking fantastic set.

Two thumbs way up.

And there ya go, Deke. Mr. Books finally made good on his word! 🙂

 

Thanks again for following along in this series, folks!

Update: Heads-Up, Stones Fans!

Text from Mike this morning, catching me on my way to the shoppes to be first in line to buy the new Stones…

As was reported yesterday, it seemed the Stones would drop their new blues record today. Turns out, it’s a pre-order beginning today, album drops December. GAH!

This is, of course, a bit of a let-down for me. In retrospect, it did seem odd that they’d drop a release with no preamble, but I was more than ready to roll with it. Alas, it is not to be.

For today, all we have is more info on the release:

Title: Blue & Lonesome
Release Date: December 2, 2016

Track Listing:

Just Your Fool
Commit A Crime
Blue and Lonesome
All Of Your Love
I Gotta Go
Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
Ride ‘Em On Down
Hate To See You Go
Hoo Doo Blues
Little Rain
Just Like I Treat You
I Can’t Quit You Baby

In Sum:

Dammit. Now I gotta wait ’til December 2. I think that’s a bit of false advertising on Don Was’ part. The way he said it, it sounded like the release was today. If it’s some dumbass way to drum up excitement, he may have a bit of a disconnect with Stones fans. As if we needed teasing to be excited about a new Stones release… Anyway. Mark your calendars for December, folks!

Heads-Up, Stones Fans!

According to the Guardian, who were quoting producer Don Was, the Rolling Stones will be releasing a new album tomorrow (October 6)!

Apparently it’s an album of Chicago blues songs, recorded in three days with a simple set-up and no studio trickery, to give it that raw feel. Reportedly, Eric Clapton was involved in the sessions…

I looked on Amazon and didn’t see anything about it (though there’s another live record coming in November on pre-order, and a 15CD mono boxed set, for those who want it), so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. Also, I couldn’t find any track info, but it won’t matter since we’ll (apparently) be able to buy the damn thing tomorrow! If that’s the case, I know that I will be first in line…

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

Rolling Stones – Singles Collection: The London Years

It’s a Sunday 3-CD blow-out!! After today, I’ll probably give you a bit of a break from all of this Stones run I’ve been on. Best if I play a few other things too, but never fear. I’ll be back with more Stones at some point, as I still have a ton more here to cover!

Now, the Singles Collection boxed set…

This 1989 set is so great. Honestly. 58 tracks on 3 CDs… all the singles from 1963-1971, from Chuck Berry’s Come On through to Wild Horses and Brown Sugar. Most are still in their mono mixes, and it covers all the UK and US singles (their decade with Decca and London Records).

Wiki points out some omissions:

The only omissions are four B-sides from 1970 and 1971. “Bitch” and “Let It Rock” (released in the UK on the “Brown Sugar” single) and “Sway” (B-side to “Wild Horses”). Allen Klein did not have release rights to this material when this compilation was released. Also not included was “Natural Magic”, a Ry Cooder instrumental, released as the B-side to the 1970 Mick Jagger single “Memo from Turner”. These are available on the box set Singles 1968–1971 except “Let It Rock” which is available on the box set Singles 1971–2006 and the Rarities 1971–2003 album.

Folks, if ever you needed a master class in brilliance, this set would be a great place to start. Just have a look at the track listing (below), to fully behold the majesty. Here you have every reason why these guys became one of the biggest bands in the world.

I own the big, original, LP-sized 3CD version of this. I know it’s been re-released  as a digipak, for those who have limited storage space.

And how many times have I played this, in my life? “Oh… a few*…”

Seriously folks, if you can get your hands on a copy of this (which should be easy to do), do not hesitate. It’s an absolute gold mine of early Stones tracks. What a band!

* Where “a few” means (at least) a zillion.

Let your eyes fall upon all of the majesty:

Track listing:

Disc 1
1 Come On (Chuck Berry)
2 I Want To Be Loved (Willie Dixon)
3 I Wanna Be Your Man (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
4 Stoned (Nanker Phelge)
5 Not Fade Away (Charles Hardin/Norman Petty)
6 Little by Little (Nanker Phelge/Phil Spector)
7 It’s All Over Now (Bobby Womack/Shirley Jean Womack)
8 Good Times, Bad Times
9 Tell Me
10 I Just Want To Make Love to You (Willie Dixon)
11 Time Is On My Side (Norman Meade)
12 Congratulations
13 Little Red Rooster (Willie Dixon)
14 Off the Hook
15 Heart Of Stone
16 What A Shame
17 The Last Time
18 Play With Fire (Nanker Phelge)
19 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
20 The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man (Nanker Phelge)
21 The Spider And The Fly
22 Get Off Of My Cloud
23 I’m Free
24 The Singer Not The Song
25 As Tears Go By (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards/Andrew Loog Oldham)

Disc 2
1 Gotta Get Away
2 19th Nervous Breakdown
3 Sad Day
4 Paint It, Black
5 Stupid Girl
6 Long Long While
7 Mother’s Little Helper
8 Lady Jane
9 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
10 Who’s Driving Your Plane?
11 Let’s Spend the Night Together
12 Ruby Tuesday
13 We Love You
14 Dandelion
15 She’s A Rainbow
16 2000 Light Years from Home
17 In Another Land (Bill Wyman)
18 The Lantern
19 Jumpin’ Jack Flash
20 Child Of The Moon

Disc 3
1 Street Fighting Man
2 No Expectations
3 Surprise, Surprise
4 Honky Tonk Women
5 You Can’t Always Get What You Want
6 Memo From Turner (Released as a Mick Jagger solo single in November 1970)
7 Brown Sugar
8 Wild Horses
9 I Don’t Know Why (Stevie Wonder/Paul Riser/Don Hunter/Lula Hardaway)
10 Try A Little Harder
11 Out Of Time
12 Jiving Sister Fanny
13 Sympathy For The Devil

Rolling Stones – Big Hits: High Tide And Green Grass, and Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)

It’s a Saturday two-fer of Stones! YAY!

I bought both of these discs at Ernie King’s Music on the main drag of Wingham, ON, when I was still in high school. Man, Ernie King’s… that takes me back. He sold musical instruments, offered lessons, did repairs, and had a small music section at the front. Cool place!

Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)

Released in 1966 (US) and 1968 (UK), with different covers and track listings (of course). And, as usual, it’s a brilliant blast of Stones. Not a bad song here, I love the early stuff.

What’s most interesting is the differences between the releases. The UK release had two more tracks over all. Many of the tracks are the same, however, and they’re in a different running order…

The UK got:

Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Paint It, Black
Come On
Lady Jane
Little Red Rooster

whereas the US got:

Tell Me
Good Times, Bad Times

Of course, it was a big success all over the place, and it remains a cool source for a sweet swath of early Stones hits. I love it!

Track Listings (All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.):

UK:

Side 1
1 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?
2 Paint It, Black
3 It’s All Over Now (B. Womack/S. J. Womack)
4 The Last Time
5 Heart Of Stone
6 Not Fade Away (Petty/Hardin)
7 Come On (Chuck Berry)

Side 2
1 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
2 Get Off Of My Cloud
3 As Tears Go By (Jagger/Richard/Oldham)
4 19th Nervous Breakdown
5 Lady Jane
6 Time Is On My Side (Meade)
7 Little Red Rooster (Willie Dixon)

US :

Side 1
1 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
2 The Last Time
3 As Tears Go By (Jagger/Richards/Andrew Loog Oldham)
4 Time Is On My Side (Norman Meade)
5 It’s All Over Now (Bobby Womack/Shirley Jean Womack)
6 Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)

Side 2
1 19th Nervous Breakdown
2 Heart Of Stone
3 Get Off Of My Cloud
4 Not Fade Away (Norman Petty/Charles Hardin)
5 Good Times, Bad Times
6 Play with Fire (Nanker Phelge)

***

Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)

Released just after Brian Jones’ departure from the band (and subsequent death) in 1969, the vinyl release of this one had an octagonal cover (cool!).

From Wiki:

The name of the album is a play on a line from the KJV translation of I Corinthians 13: For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face…, but it is more likely the Stones intended a homage to Ingmar Bergman and his 1961 film Through a Glass Darkly.

In the inside flap of the album, there is an anonymous poem chosen by Jones, which reads: When this you see, remember me, and bear me in your mind. Let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

And once again, there were differences between the UK and US editions. The UK got one extra track, and again they’re in a different track order…

The UK got:

You Better Move On
We Love You
Sittin’ On A Fence

The US got:

Paint It, Black
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?

Track Listings (All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.):

UK:

Side 1
1 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Originally released as a single in May 1968)
2 Mother’s Little Helper
3 2000 Light Years from Home
4 Let’s Spend the Night Together (Originally released as a single in January 1967)
5 You Better Move On (Arthur Alexander) (Originally released on the 1964 EP The Rolling Stones)
6 We Love You (Edited version; originally released as a single in August 1967)

Side 2
1 Street Fighting Man
2 She’s a Rainbow
3 Ruby Tuesday (Originally released as a single in January 1967)
4 Dandelion ( Edited version; Originally released as a single in August 1967)
5 Sittin’ on a Fence (Originally released on the American compilation Flowers in July 1967)
6 Honky Tonk Women (Originally released as a single in July 1969)

US:

Side 1
1 Paint It Black
2 Ruby Tuesday
3 She’s a Rainbow
4 Jumpin’ Jack Flash
5 Mother’s Little Helper
6 Let’s Spend the Night Together

Side 2
1 Honky Tonk Women
2 Dandelion
3 2000 Light Years from Home
4 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?
5 Street Fighting Man

***

In Sum:

It’s a no-brainer, folks: buy them both! You decide if you want UK or US edition. Hell, buy all 4!

Rolling Stones – Rewind

I got my copy of this, of all places, in a furniture store in a small town near my home when I was in high school. I know. Stranger places to find things may exist, but one never knows where gems will turn up. It pays to keep your eyes open at all times!

It may have been a rarity even then, I don’t know for sure, but my researches into it now show it is out of print.

Released in 1984, covering 1971-1984, this compilation marks the end of their time at Warner Music and EMI. There are two different track listings, one for UK and one for US releases (see below).

Overall, I have to say I quite liked this compilation back then, and I still like it now! I like the inclusion of Hang Fire, I always felt that one should have been a big hit amongst their other big hits. The UK got She’s So Cold and Respectable.

I’m having great fun zapping back through all of these compilations, for this series, and I definitely included Rewind in the fun times. In truth, I don’t really even need to be playing this disc, I know the songs so well. I could just be writing them up and slapping them in here, but where is the fun in that? I like further imprinting these tunes into my brain, so let it play!

With it out of print, I suppose I should add that if you see a copy of the old original disc, get it!

And now here are the two different track lists! Mine is the US version…

UK:
1 Brown Sugar
2 Undercover of the Night
3 Start Me Up
4 Tumbling Dice
5 It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
6 She’s So Cold
7 Miss You
8 Beast of Burden
9 Fool to Cry
10 Waiting on a Friend
11 Angie
12 Respectable

In the 1986 CD release, Hang Fire replaced She’s So Cold, while Emotional Rescue and Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) were added.

US:
1 Miss You
2 Brown Sugar
3 Undercover of the Night
4 Start Me Up
5 Tumbling Dice
6 Hang Fire – 2:21
7 It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
8 Emotional Rescue
9 Beast of Burden
10 Fool to Cry
11 Waiting On a Friend
12 Angie
13 Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)

It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It) and Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) added to the CD and Cassette releases

Rolling Stones – Made In The Shade

Cute Kid Preamble:

I was sitting here listening to music, the kids were playing peacefully in the other room. Suddenly, my beautiful daughter (she’s 4) came steaming into the room and shouted “What are you doing, Daddy?” Always happy to see her, I said “I’m listening to the Rolling Stones, sweetheart.”

She put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to one side, and loudly said “The Rolling Stones?!?! THEY ROCK*!!” Then she ran off to find her brother.

Parenting. Sometimes it’s really easy to know when you’re doing it correctly. This was one of those times.

*  Emphasis hers.

***

Ah, Made In The Shade. I found my old CD copy of this one while it was nigh on impossible to get (out of print? Definitely pre-internet, anyway). I was well chuffed to get it, and have held onto it all these years. Looks like it was remastered and released again in 2005, for those who wanna get it more easily.

This is a great rockin’ compilation. The first comp of their Atlantic Records, released in 1975, it features only tunes from their first 4 Atlantic records (Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St., Goat’s Head Soup, and It’s Only Rock ’n Roll). Even better, it’s all rockin’ tunes, with the exception of Wild Horses and Angie, sandwiched in the middle of the disc.

As Wiki points out:

Although Made in the Shade bought The Rolling Stones time to deliver their next studio album (they were mid-way through recording Black and Blue upon this album’s June 1975 release), it was also released to capitalise on the band’s summer Tour of the Americas, featuring Ronnie Wood for the first time in Mick Taylor’s place. Wood, fitting in so well, was asked to remain in the band on a permanent basis following the tour’s conclusion.

Personally, I love this disc. I always found it weird that they put Rip This Joint in as the last track. It ought to have been higher – that one makes you wanna go go GO! But no matter. There’s nothing here that isn’t on an album already, no bonus or exclusive tracks, but it’s still a rockin’ good time!

The Songs:

Brown Sugar
Tumbling Dice
Happy
Dance Little Sister
Wild Horses
Angie
Bitch
It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But I Like It)
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
Rip This Joint

Rolling Stones – More Hot Rocks

Yesterday we had a look at the awesomeness of Hot Rocks. Today, it’s time to have a look at its companion, More Hot Rocks!

Here’s the story (from Wiki):

When Hot Rocks 1964–1971 proved to be a big seller, there was never any doubt that a successor would follow. However, initially—with Andrew Loog Oldham getting involved—the project was to feature previously unreleased (or more accurately, discarded) material and be titled Necrophilia. Artwork was prepared and the album made it as far as the mastering phase when it was recalled and something a little more practical was compiled (ABKCO would revisit this concept with 1975’s Metamorphosis). The result was More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies).

Featuring the hits that could not be shoehorned onto its predecessor, as well as first-time release of many previously UK-only releases, the double album was quickly pressed and distributed into North American shops in December 1972, reaching No. 9 in the US and going gold. 

And here’s proof that Andrew Loog Oldham was an interesting dude. From the More Hot Rocks liner notes:

Andrew Loog Oldham’s liner notes, as preserved on the 1990 CD release, read:

way back when / the sleepy owls of the brill building / brillcreamed and braincreamed that melody was coming back / and lo it had / it flew past their windows yesterday / as Paulie, a bebeatled ballade / Lennon’s advocate for the Kalin Twins (who is the other jaggered half?) / seen so far away / and today will never come to the Judas Iscariots / who mock the hands that feed them / from here within / December’s Children and the Aftermath of the war of the parking lots / stay away from new caddies, they’re faulty / stick with our original edsel / the 17 + 8 / 8 from the brown cookie bag baked yesteryear and preserved and never before sold in your local deli / that remained (excuse me Mr Gershwin, I need another dime) standards of yesterday and now / good times, bad times to you all and have you seen your mother baby, balling in the alley

Haha OK Andrew, whatever you say!

Anyway, what’s this like to listen to? Fascinating! Knowing all the studio albums as I do, most of this isn’t much of a surprise to me, but the extra stuff made it worth it. I’ve played this set so many times, over the years, and I can confirm that it plays really well as a compilation. Hot Rocks was top to bottom radio hits, whereas this one has a few that fans of only the hits might not ever have heard. Which is a shame, because these are great tunes too! I really, really like it! This time through, I still loved No Expectations and Let It Bleed (duh), but Money and I Can’t Be Satisfied stood out. Next time, it’ll surely be others.

In my mind, Hot Rocks and More Hot Rocks are both essential – one for the big hits, and the other for the ones you also need to know equally well!

Check it out:

CD1:
Tell Me
Not Fade Away
The Last Time
It’s All Over Now
Good Times, Bad Times
I’m Free
Out Of Time
Lady Jane
Sittin’ On A Fence
Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Dandelion
We Love You

CD2:
She’s A Rainbow
2000 Light Years From Home
Child Of The Moon
No Expectations
Let It Bleed

and here’s where CD2 gets even more interesting with rarer stuff!

What to Do (First released in 1966 on the British edition of Aftermath)

Money (Berry Gordy Jr/Janie Bradford) – (First released in 1964 on the UK EP The Rolling Stones)

Come On (Chuck Berry) – (The Rolling Stones’ 1963 debut single in the UK, this was its first release in the US)

Fortune Teller (Naomi Neville) – (Recorded in 1963 and released in the UK in 1964 on the various artists LP Saturday Club)

Poison Ivy (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller) – (Recorded in 1963 and released in the UK in 1964 on the various artist LP Saturday Club)

Bye Bye Johnnie (Chuck Berry) – (First released in 1964 on the EP The Rolling Stones as Bye Bye Johnny)

I Can’t Be Satisfied (McKinley Morganfield) – (Originally released on the UK album The Rolling Stones No. 2 in 1965)

Long, Long While (Originally released as the UK B-side to Paint It Black in 1966)

Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks

Today’s Stones instalment is a bit of a cheat. I mean, we’ve all heard these songs a zillion times in our lives. And I’ve heard most (if not all of them) in recent days on other (later) compilations and various live records that I’ve been playing. But as I was scanning my CD shelves in the Man Cave, my eye fell on this set, an old friend indeed, and I knew I had to bring it up here. I’ve played the hell out of this set, over the years. For the longest time, it was the only place I knew to get Honky Tonk Women, too (it was a non-album single).

Crazy to think, Hot Rocks was released without input from the band, and it became their biggest selling album:

Hot Rocks 1964–1971 was released without input by The Rolling Stones (as was More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)). The album has spent 262 weeks on the US Billboard 200 chart (between 1972-2016) and peaked at #4. After selling in excess of six million copies, it was certified twelve times platinum, as per RIAA rules regarding double album releases. It has ended up as their best-selling album. The UK release was delayed for many years, coming out on 21 May 1990, to coincide with the Urban Jungle Tour, reaching No. 3.

Ah hell, since we’re at it, let’s let Wiki will tell us the story of it:

Hot Rocks 1964–1971 is the first compilation album of Rolling Stones music released by former manager Allen Klein’s ABKCO Records (who gained control of the band’s Decca/London material in 1970) after the band’s departure from Decca and Klein. Released in late 1971, it proved to be The Rolling Stones’ biggest-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective.

After reportedly having been duped by Klein to unknowingly sign over the recording copyrights to all of their material from 1963 to 1970, The Rolling Stones left Decca and formed their own label, Rolling Stones Records, with a new distributor. They recorded Sticky Fingers throughout 1970, releasing it the following spring. Although Klein—and now ABKCO—no longer had The Rolling Stones as clients, their fruitful catalogue was ripe for the picking and, thus, Hot Rocks 1964–1971 was quickly compiled as a double album greatest hits package.

While the album carries most of the band’s biggest hits during their first decade, it does drop a few of them to include standout tracks such as “Play With Fire”, “Under My Thumb” and “Gimme Shelter” giving listeners a more well-rounded impression of The Rolling Stones’ music in this era. Although “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” are a part of Sticky Fingers, those two songs are co-owned by the band and Allen Klein because The Rolling Stones recorded the songs while they were still under contract to Decca.

For me, I skip all of that label crap, and who owns what – that’s their business. I’m only after the tunes. And owning this set in my formative teens and 20s was really amazing. Just look at this track listing. Yes, we can say this or that song should be here, but same as I said elsewhere about these guys: if you want more, just own all the albums (I do!).

Look at all the majesty. Just look at it! What a band!

CD1:
Time Is On My Side (guitar intro version)
Heart Of Stone
Play With Fire
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
As Tears Go By
Get Off Of My Cloud
Mother’s Little Helper
19th Nervous Breakdown
Paint It, Black
Under My Thumb
Ruby Tuesday
Let’s Spend The Night Together

CD2:
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Street Fighting Man
Sympathy For the Devil
Honky Tonk Women
Gimme Shelter
Midnight Rambler (live, Madison Square Garden, NYC 1969-11-28)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Brown Sugar
Wild Horses

Rolling Stones – Still Life (American Concert 1981)

Here it is Monday morning and I’m still at it. This isn’t even a Stones run, anymore, folks. It’s a goddamn Stones binge.

I love it.

Well holy hell, here we go with a classic. How many times have I played this one? Who’s counting?

We start with style, and that good ol’ Take The A Train intro that break into the crowd screaming as the band rips into Under My Thumb. It’s a long intro, must’ve taken Mick a while to get to the mic, hahaha. This version is ingrained in my brain, those guitars always sounded that little bit off, distorted but in a good way. No matter, they’re on good form out of the gates.

Mick hopes everyone watching at home has a few beers and some joints to enjoy the show, saying why don’t we Let’s Spend The Night Together. Oh Mick. This rocker has a cool, sassy energy, mainly powered by the metronomic drumming of my main man, Charlie Watts. Up next is Some Girls’ Shattered, again with those warbly guitars. I’ve owned this CD for years, and always thought maybe something was wrong with my copy, maybe something in the transfer to CD. But it has to be the way it sounded, and it’s alright by me these days. It’s a rocking, almost 70s lite-punker version.

Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock is next, practically a standard in the songbook, by now. Holy fuck I love their take, here. It’s short, but it gets the job done. It’s like Mick’s best Elvis impersonation, at times, and the band is right there with him. The Stones do rockabilly? Fuck yes.

The Miracles’ Going To A Go-Go thumps its way into the setlist next, and it’s a weird one (for the band) that I love. It feels out of left field, probably because it is, but despite that, they make it their own and Bobby Keys puts his inimitable sax stamp on it, so it’s all good.

There’s a fade-out here, I don’t know what happened, maybe just a break in recording of the show. Emotional Rescue’s Let Me Go is next, and it’s a full-tilt boogie in that classic old style that’ll rock yer socks off. Goddamn. This show is a frickin’ party, dammit. Get up and dance!

Now it’s time for a beautiful, late-night slow dance trip though Time Is On My Side. I’m sure the cigarette lighters were waving back and forth for this one, as it throbs and wheels its way to a gorgeous close. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) is next, full of soul and a bit of the blues and still remembering they’ve just entered a new decade (the 80s). It’s a perfect storm.

Start Me Up starts off thin on that single guitar line until Charlie’s bass drum drops and the rest of the band crashes in. It’s a pretty straight-forward take on this classic, after that. The ending is cool, that guitar note briefly hanging as the band stops abruptly. Man, the crowd’s in a frenzy now. The band likely was too.

And good thing, because they’re storming through a fast and vicious (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Wowzers, talk about a blast-off late in the show. Proof this band has what t takes! All it needs is fireworks and topless dancers shaking their moneymakers… Mick would agree! And as an outro, it’s the Star Spangled Banner and ah, there’s the fireworks! It’s been a while since I ran through this disc but I knew they were here!

Final Note:

There were claims that this record was too slick, too polished. Worse, some complained that Just My Imagination was edited and therefore this is somehow invalid yada yada. Folks, this record rocked, and all the nit-pickers can go get lost. The rest of us will turn it the hell up!

In Sum:

Fuckin’ A. Stones live in 1981. Any questions? I didn’t fuckin’ think so!

PS If you demand more, here’s the Wiki.

Rolling Stones – Shine A Light

Recorded at the Beacon Theater, this set is the soundtrack for the film (of the same name) by Martin Scorcese. Now, in checking my shelves, it seems I don’t own that DVD… oversiiiiiight!

Anyway, the Wikis: Click here for the CDs    Click here for the Film

There are two CD versions, a 1CD and a 2CD. I bought the 1CD version first, on a Taranna jaunt. It was on another Taranna jaunt, ages later, when I found and immediately snapped up the 2CD version. This as-I-listened ‘review’ will cover that edition…

CD1

Jumpin’ Jack Flash starts us off with a decent version. Mick messes with the vocals a bit here and there, and that’s fine by me. Shattered here is good enough, and good on them for putting it up top as the second track. She Was Hot is a deep cut from Undercover that rocks along at a clip. Seems like the Stones aren’t holding back for this show! Especially when they next whip out Exile’s All Down The Line at a gallop. And the horns are here too (I always cheer for them)! Yes!

They stay with Exile and Loving Cup is up next, with special guest Jack White. Mick says it’s a romantic song, and he tries not to look at Jack when he sings it because he “looks a little bit iffy.” Hahaha. Jack handily holds his own on this perfect song (I love all of Exile unreservedly). Cool beans! As Tears Go By is up next, and it’s a great one. I do like this tune, even after all this time, and they just keep on nailin’ it.

Some Girls is a fun, bluesy romp, really cool that they dragged this one out. The guitar solos at the end are the best bit. Just My Imagination brings back the horns and plays it fairly straight (which is still great). Faraway Eyes brings out the country and the funny, this one always makes me chuckle.

Champagne & Reefer (w. Buddy Guy) is exactly what you’d expect – bluesy awesome! Holy hell, that was wonderful… Tumbling Dice keeps the show rolling in high, sloppy-but-not style. Damn, they’re playing a lot of Exile on this set! I love it!

Band Introductions follow, and Mick doesn’t even get introduced! Haha, that guy could be anybody, right? Ah never mind, we’ll assume it’s him… So then Keef steps to the mic and nails a beautiful You Got The Silver with Ronnie backing him up on slide. And then, without hesitation, they slam right into a rocking Connection. For these two songs, I assume the guy we’re assuming is Mick Jagger is backstage having a cup of tea and some biscuits.

CD2

Martin Scorcese Intro involves discussing how not to burn Mick Jagger with the lights. Seriously! Haha it’s only rock ‘n roll, baby. They jam into Sympathy For The Devil and it’s a killer version. The crowd sings along and adds a ton of woo woos! They rock straight into Live With Me with Christina Aguilera. She’s trying too hard to add that growl to her voice. And then she does some warbling at the end that I’m sure she thinks is powerful but I think is just awful… oh please just stop. I’m sure Mick just wanted to rub against her in front of everyone. I didn’t like her contribution to the song.

Start Me Up is next, and cleanses the palate after that last track (thanks Christina). It’s a solid run-through. And let’s be honest, by now it damn well better be. From the sounds of it, this was where the main part of the concert ended.

But of course we blast straight into Brown Sugar, so I assume this is the encore? Damn, I really need that DVD! Anyway, it’s a version you’d expect, all about the nimble guitars and Bobby Keys’ almighty saxophone. Up next is (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, but not before Mick says the lights are burning his ass. Haha. One has to wonder, at this point, if they truly are sick of playing this song. Maybe they’ve gone past being sick of it into a level of acceptance that allows them to play a version like this that surely rocked the house. I mean, it’s just over five and a half minutes long, so my guess is yes. Talk about a blow-out!

Things fade out, and then it’s Paint It, Black. I assume the DVD explains all the different cuts and exits between tracks here. Ah well, just rock it and forget the details! At this point, I am in a state of Stones bliss and couldn’t care less what happened when. This is a superb, throbbing Paint It, Black, heavy on the Eastern sounds. Little T&A is another little-played live track. Only Keef could sing it properly. Loved it.

I’m Free bounces and floats on that ethereal guitar line and that old Motown bassline. Fun! And finally, it’s the album’s namesake, one of my favourites from Exile, Shine A Light. It’s played a little faster (I think) than usual, but it still has that unending feeling of joy and lift that it always does. I love guitar solo at the end, it always slays me. And those keys…

In Sum:

Whew! It’s a Stones extravaganza! I loved it. And I really need to get that DVD!

Bonus Info:

The 16-track, single CD version track listing is slightly different:

Jumpin’ Jack Flash
She Was Hot
All Down The Line
Loving Cup (w. Jack White III)
As Tears Go By
Some Girls
Just My Imagination
Faraway Eyes
Champagne & Reefer (w. Buddy Guy)
Band Introductions
You Got The Silver
Connection
Sympathy For The Devil
Live With Me (w. Christina Aguilera)
Start Me Up
Brown Sugar

Rolling Stones – Rarities 1971-2003

I’m continuing my recent Stones kick!

Here’s a story I’ve told you before: This CD is one I saw in the shops, but never grabbed up as I figured there was no hurry. Then I stopped seeing it around, and used copies got very expensive (I presume because it went out of print, probably?). So when I found a copy at a decent price, I was thrilled. Nice addition to the collection!

The internet tells me that not much here is particularly rare, if you collect the Stones. I do, and I’m not even all that deep into it, and though I have a couple of these tracks already, most were new to me. Apparently many of them appeared on a limited disc that came packed as a 2CD set with a version Of Flashpoint called Rolling Stones Collectibles. Some are on Sucking In The Seventies, and I have a couple on the Collector’s Edition disc in the 1971-1989 boxed set. There you go.

A Note About The Cover Art (from Wiki): Although the cover image is from 1978 (from the music video for “Respectable”) it only shows the current four members of the band and does not feature bassist Bill Wyman, who was removed from the picture; the original colour image can be seen in the booklet from Forty Licks, showing him standing in the back behind Jagger and Richards.

Dicks.

***

Here are the tracks:

Fancy Man Blues is a sweet 12 bar blues that hits all the right buttons for me. It was a b-side from Steel Wheels’ Mixed Emotions CD single. I got it on the .

Tumbling Dice (live) starts off as the Chuck Leavell piano-led vocal warm-up version that I loved from the Totally Stripped DVD. It soon breaks into a full-band live version from the Voodoo Lounge tour. I wish they’d left it as the full warm-up version! Still, this is a sweet version I didn’t otherwise have, because I’ve never seen those singles anywhere.

Wild Horses is the version from the Stripped CD, so it’s not rare at all.

Beast Of Burden (live) is from the 1981 tour, released as a b-side to the Going To A Go-Go single in 1982. It’s a fun version, played fairly straight.

Any Way You Look At It is a beautiful slow ballad, with strings and Keef’s beautiful acoustic guitar (and Keef’s vocals, for a second there). Lovely. It was a b-side to the Bridges To Babylon track Saint of Me CD single.

If I Was A Dancer (Dance Pt.2) is pure disco, oh lord. The Stones really went for it in the 70s, didn’t they? Haha fun. I have this one on Sucking In The Seventies, it was an Emotional Rescue outtake.

Miss You (Dance Version) honestly doesn’t sound all that different from the album track. It’s from the 12” single released in 1978, though this one has been edited shorter from its original 8:36.

Wish I’d Never Met You is a b-side from Steel Wheels’ Terrifying single, and it’s a solid blues track holy hell. I loved this!

I Just Wanna Make Love To You (live) is a superb, slow version of the old Muddy Waters classic which, of course, the Stones used to play all the time. Fantastic! This version is from the Steel Wheels tour, and was a b-side on the Highwire CD single.

Mixed Emotions (12” version) sees the song getting re-done as a… what, a dance remix? Or someone’s late-night messing around in a studio? I dunno, I’m not sure this needed to be a thing that happened to this song.

Through The Lonely Nights is a b-side from the It’s Only Rock And Roll album. It’s sweet enough, I liked it. It’s a fairly typical Stones slower tune, with some psychedelic sounds thrown in.

Live With Me (live) is a solid rocker, a Voodoo Lounge b-side.

Let It Rock is a sweet, live Chuck Berry cover. Great to hear them go back to their roots and pay homage!

Harlem Shuffle (NY Mix). This is the 12” dance single remix version. Exactly. Not the best song in the first place, and now it’s longer and remixed (and even this one here is edited shorter from the original vinyl remix!)! Um…

Mannish Boy (live) isn’t rare at all, being both on Love You Live and Sucking In The Seventies. A filler track, like the Stripped Wild Horses (above)?

Thru And Thru (live) was recorded live at Madison Square Garden, and featured on the Four Flicks DVD set. I always love it when Keef sings, and this is a great version of the Voodoo Lounge track. Oh Keef, that naughty mouth! And when it picks up, it’s just all the more perfect.

In Sum:

You could argue it’s rather hastily put together, and anyone who makes a hobby out of collecting Stones stuff will likely already have most of it. But I don’t think it’s a total cash grab. Sometimes labels put out things like this for the folks not obsessive to collect all the stuff individually. It’s varied enough to really show how deep and how far the Stones have gone over all these decades. The blues tracks are the stand-outs, for me, and I could have done without the dance remixes. The rest is cool by me. If you see it in the shops, get it. It appears this disc may itself be a rarity.

Here’s the Wiki if you want the full details on all of this! 

Rolling Stones – Forty Licks

I remember buying this 2CD set in Saskatoon when it was released (2002). I remember my lovely wife (then-still girlfriend, we married a year later) just smiling understandingly as I babbled about my excitement for it. She has long known about my addiction to this band. 

I also remember it living in our car stereo for a good long time. In retrospect, I ought maybe to have shown more respect to one of my favourite bands ever than playing them in the shitty CD player of our shitty, shitty Kia (I hated that car), but there you go.

Made to celebrate the Stones’ 40th anniversary as a band, it is, of course, chock full of many of the hits you’d expect. Of course, many are missing, and we can always argue that this or that track deserved inclusion, etc (see below), but as you go through that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, you soon realize that you might as well give up on the compilation idea entirely and just buy all the friggin’ albums. That’s what I did!

A few days ago, I posted about GRRR!, the Stones’ 50th anniversary compilation set. In comparing these two track lists, most of the songs are duplicated between this 2CD set and my GRRR! 3CD set. Quelle surprise (not)! However, a couple of songs are missing that I find it worthy of note:

On Forty Licks, but not on the 3CD GRRR!:

Mother’s Little Helper
You Got Me Rocking
Shattered

Now, all three tracks do show up on the 80 track deluxe edition of GRRR!, but these would be songs I’d think should have been on all 3 versions of GRRR! Weird that I missed them when reviewing that set… which is, I suppose, just more proof that the Stones have so many damn good songs, one here or there gone missing isn’t noticed until later!

Of course, GRRR! has a ton of songs that Forty Licks does not, but that makes sense when they had a whole extra disc’s-worth of space to play with. Anyway. I think those three (above) ought to have been on the GRRR! set, especially Mother’s Little Helper… And now we get down to…

The Real Reason To Get Forty Licks: Four New Songs! 

Don’t Stop is a sweet, airy mid-tempo Stones rocker that plays it pretty straight. There isn’t a whole lot of guitar interplay like the Stones do so well, but it hardly matters. It’s a true new classic in the Stones catalogue. If they played it live, people would sing along and match every hand-clap, for sure!

Keys To Your Love is pure Stones slow jam lovefest, complete with Mick falsetto intro and chorus bits. It’s pretty straight-forward, though the middle section has some pure Keef chord changes. I like the guitar solo, too. Simple, but not. You know the kind. It’s pure feel.

Stealing My Heart chugs with some heavier 90s guitar chords, not sounding like any Stones song we’ve heard until you focus on Charlie’s drums. Only one man sounds like that! There a Stone pop elements to it, though, and once Mick starts singing it’s obvious. The guitar solo goes for textures more than it goes for improvised soloing, but it works for ths song. Good on them for trying this, I liked it off the bat and I still like it now, all these years later.

Losing My Touch is my favourite new track on this set, gentle piano and guitar bring in Keef’s little Tom Waits impersonation haha. It’s a sweet and low ballad, gorgeous in its imperfections. Keef’s voice is just what it needs to be, and the song goes along beautifully. I like the pedal steel guitar adding some country feel, the piano as a backbone, and Keef’s understated guitar solo… all of it is as it needs to be.

In Sum:

When I bought this, I was thrilled to get so many new songs on a career retrospective set like this. The Stones always find a way to make releases like this interesting and worthy of your hard-earned. Sure, I didn’t need Satisfaction in my collection for yet another time, but at this point, I buy what this band releases and to hell with duplications galore in my collection!

Forty Licks is worth it for the new tracks alone. Get you some!

More on this set here!

Rolling Stones – No Security

I’m still in a Stones zone (I’m even wearing a t-shirt with their logo on it, as I type this).

This time, we’re in 1998, and it’s another live album. I remember buying this in Toronto (probably at Sam’s) when I was in Taranna to visit my lovely girlfriend (now my lovely wife) one weekend. We’ve known each other since we were 5, so she’s long known about my love of the Stones. This purchase was no surprise to her.

Let’s see what’s here!

This record comes hot on the heels of the previous years’ Bridges To Babylon, and documents the subsequent tour. An audience intro track takes us into You Got Me Rocking, a decent version with a great Ronnie Wood guitar solo deep in the track. Up next is Gimme Shelter, which might seem an odd choice for second song on a live set, but nevermind. This is a great version. Lisa Fischer nails it again, she can really wail, and she does that sexy dance…

Ahem, where were we? Right, the live record. Focus, Aaron, focus! Up next is Flip The Switch, which rocks along happily. Don’t miss the occasional Chuck Berry guitar flourishes in the background. Then it’s (relatively obscure) Memory Motel, with Mick on keys. It’s a pretty 70s ballad, and hey! That’s Dave Matthews on vocals too! I’d forgotten he was on here! He does a good job. Cool beans.

Next guest up is Taj Mahal, playing the classic Corinna at a lovely, leisurely pace. Lots of harmonica all over it, and Taj’s silky voice. Loved it. Up next is the current single Saint Of Me, in full bluesy gospel mode. I’d swear Keef wrote the lyrics of this one (“you’ll never make a saint of me” hahaha). Love the huge audience singlong at the end, they keep singing along even after the song’s over! Beautiful.

Waiting On A Friend waltzes in and it’s perfect. Listen to this one on the good headphones, and marvel at how all the players add their own flavours to it but never once step on each others’ toes! Now this is a band meant to be together! Glorious sax solos from Bobby Keys, too. And then it’s a favourite track of mine, cool to have a live version… Sister Morphine, from Sticky Fingers! I’m thrilled it’s in the set list. What a superb tune, and this is a haunting version for sure.

Mick tells the crowd they blew the dust off this next one and, frankly, after Memory Motel and Sister Morphine, what could it be? Live With Me! Nice one. It’s a great little rocker where guitars and pianos play back and forth beautifully. Then we launch into Respectable, a fun barroom brawler of a rock tune that has more than a little Chuck Berry feel to it. Holy crap this disc is great fun.

Thief In The Night (also from Bridges…) is next, Keef’s obligatory turn at the mic, which he introduces as a “new song, old story,” after his usual one-liner about it being good to be anywhere. You know the song, it’s a sweet, mellow groove that still manages to pull you along and hold your ear. Maybe not the best Keef track in the list of Stones songs he’s sung, over the years (The Worst, from Voodoo Lounge, is a fave of mine from the later years), but he could sing the phone book and it’d still hold attention, so there ya go.

Then it’s The Last Time, a true oldies for the band. It’s not a bad version, but I prefer when Mick sings it closer to the original. This one’s a little flat, but the guitars save it. They let the crowd sounds bring us out, but then as an encore, finally it’s Out Of Control. Nice that they end the disc with a track from the (then) new record. It’s slinky and funky and full-on. I love the trumpet bit… of course I do, I always cheer for the horns! They rock it out for 7 minutes, then it’s another minute of crowd noise and fireworks, and then we’re done.

In Sum:

I really like this set. It hasn’t get the head-on energy of Flashpoint, but it’s a well-balanced disc between fast and slow songs, as well as oldies and brand new songs. Right freakin’ on.

Rolling Stones – Flashpoint

There was talk about Stones live albums somewhere in the comment sections of the blogs we Follow, recently, and there were several great suggestions. I threw in 1991’s Flashpoint for pure bombast and a great track list. Recorded during the Steel Wheels tour of 1989/90, and the last tour with Bill Wyman playing bass for the Stones, it’s a corker.

This one has a special place in my heart, as I saw the Stones At The Max movie at the IMAX theater in Ontario Place when we played there on a band trip in high school. Fantastic stuff. Check it out:

Continental Drift is a short build that leads us straight into a perfect Start Me Up. The guitars rule this one, the interplay is gorgeous. Sad Sad Sad rocks us next, straight on down the highway and no letting up. It’s a great run-through, with Charlie flying and the guitars soloing all over the place. The place goes nuts when they launch straight into a super-quick, full-sounding Miss You. Now, I don’t have a metronome here, but I’d swear the track starts off faster and starts to slow down a bit by the time the sax solo rolls around. Could just be my ear, but no matter.

Rock And A Hard Place keeps the pace racing, with horn stabs and Mick’s vocals soaring over the top. They finally slow down a bit with a gorgeous Ruby Tuesday. The keys and acoustics playfully buoy us through a wonderful take on this old classic. You Can’t Always Get What You Want had to be here, and this is a great placement for it. At this point, the band already has long had the audience in the palm of their hands, the crowd sing-alongs prove it. This one swings bluesily, full glory.

Factory Girl is next, off Beggars Banquet (although Bill Wyman didn’t seem to know that fact when Mick asked him), and it’s great to hear this one get aired out in a live setting so many years after it was released originally. This one’s all about the guitars, and it has that bit of a celtic feel to it that it oughta have.

Next, Keef steps to the mic, saying “alright, let’s cut out the crap, let’s go!” and sings/moans his way through an excellent Can’t Be Seen. That was a fast one! Little Red Rooster is up next, bluesy as hell, right in the Stones’ wheelhouse. Oh yeah, and that was frickin’ Eric Clapton on guitar, folks. Whoa.

A sweet little intro and then Paint It, Black rocks the damn place with its relentless pounding. Truly the soundtrack for the whirling dervish in your life. A funky intro takes us into Sympathy For The Devil, perfectly done and worth every second as it builds and builds, elements adding and subtracting and catching you up in its swirl. What a tune!

Brown Sugar proves they’re not done with us yet, rocking straight on til morning with a bluesy party track built to last into the wee hours. Tracks like this, man, played like this at that time, are proof that this band is truly untouchable at times. Go go go! And before anyone can get a breather, we’re blasted into a full-on, rampaging Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The Stones weren’t holding anything back on this one, swinging for the fences and playing it for all they’re worth.

And as if the crowd isn’t already in a frenzy, out comes (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, also at a super-quick clip. The guitars stab around while Charlie holds it all together (of course), and in the breakdown section the bass rolls and it’s the horns that catch my ears. I always cheer for the horns! Holy crap, they really were going for broke on this one! Crowd noise and the sound of a jet flying past, clearly meant to indicate it’s the band off to the next gig.

But we ain’t done yet! Two studio tracks are up, with the political screed of Highwire, a pure Stones rocker with a call to arms a la Bruce Springsteen’s lyrical approach. I loved it then, I love it now. It was about the Gulf War, but it’s sad that it’s still so appropriate even now in 2016. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, right? Right.

Then it’s another studio track, the super-funky, pure James Brown soul of Sex Drive. Every time I hear it, I get swept up and wish it would last for hours. Seriously, a fun, highly danceable track.

In Sum:

I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard this record, at this point, but it’s a ton, and I can give testimony that it’s absolutely recommended listening. It really feels like you’re there with them, sweating and singing along and jumping around in happiness. Great live set!

If you want more details, READ HERE!

Rolling Stones – Totally Stripped

No Sunday Service this week, folks. The Canada Day weekend has kept me busy and away from the house for a lot of it.

However, inspired by Deke’s review of this one, I grabbed up a copy for myself, the CD/DVD edition (since I don’t have a blu-ray player, or a TV). But my trusty Mac can play DVDs, so away we go!

NB: For thos einterested, I also covered the original Stripped CD a couple of days ago.

And now, let’s get Totally Stripped.

Part One: The CD

Not Fade Away* is another great version, glad they still play this old stuff. Honky Tonk Women slows down and goes barroom brawl on us. So glad the horn section is ever-present. Great piano solo from Chuck Leavell. Dead Flowers* is rocked up and countrified. Yes!

Some Girls’ Faraway Eyes is pure Stones country, old school-style. A lot of other bands trying to pull this off in the middle of a show like this would fall flat, but the Stones do it with a wink and a smile and, incongruous as it might be with many of the other songs here, it fits perfectly. Shine A Light* is gorgeous and totally welcome no matter how many times they play it. It always lifts me!

I Go Wild, from Voodoo Lounge, satisfies my wondering that they hadn’t included any tracks off their most recent studio album on the original Stripped! And oh man, what a cool version. Super-strong, bluesy and slinky… in other words, pure Stones magic. The party is kept rolling by old classic Miss You, which isn’t one I would’ve expected them to pull out of their bag of tricks for a gig like this. But here it is, at almost ten minutes long, and it’s still pure disco blues and fun times. The breakdown section is fun. Did Mick just tell the crowd to “shut the fuck up” (at 2:45)? Hahaha. Also, an absolutely killer sax solo from Bobby Keys.

Like A Rolling Stone* gets introduced by Mick as “a song Bob Dylan wrote for us,” the cocky bastard haha. It hasn’t got quite the same lift and energy as the perfect Stripped version, but it’s always fun to hear the band bang their way through this one. Brown Sugar is pure party, all energy and fun. Great version.

Midnight Rambler is always a highlight, and it is no holds barred awesome. As it does, it shifts tempos and feels several times, all of them bluesy as hell. Jumpin’ Jack Flash is a pretty by-rote run through, but I liked the thumping ending. Cool.

Gimme Shelter is Lisa Fischer’s time to shine. It’s a slow, groovy version and it is glorious. Fischer nails it. I also love the guitar flourishes throughout. This track is a highlight of the disc! Lead-off track from the amazing Exile, Rip This Joint has a false start while they sort out things out, then it takes of into speedy blues bliss. Talk about a barnstormer of a tune, holy crap! This was awesome!

Oddly, next comes Street Fighting Man**, the same version we already have from the old Stripped record. I thought Rip This Joint was the high point they ought to have gone out on. Why rehash a track? Why does no one ever ask me these things before releasing albums? Sigh.

Part Two: The DVD

At over an hour and a half long, this documentary/live performance footage shows some of how, when and where the Stripped stuff got made. Right off the top we get a super-cool in-studio black and white video of Love In Vain. Fun to watch Ronnie play that slide. The band talks about dredging up old songs they hadn’t played in ages, then they play Spider And The Fly in studio! Keef makes a great point, about how cool it was to have the whole band in a small room, playing takes through together. If I were in a band, it’d be the only way I’d wanna do it. You’re a group, play together as one!

Wild Horses goes into a snippet of Let It Bleed. Then we flash to the Paradiso in Amsterdam. The band can’t even enjoy a ride on the canal without fans following them by bike on shore, and driving boats right up to theirs. Crazy. It’s bittersweet to see interview time with Bobby Keys (may he R.I.P). I loved the Chuck Leavell-led warm-up on Tumbling Dice. Sounds like a gospel revival, what fun they’re having! That scene is solid gold, a highlight in the reel! In fact, it’s so enjoyable, here it is!

The Paradiso footage is awesome. Only 1500 people wristbands to get in, and it looks tight and small and awesome, with those balconies running along both sides. Gimme Shelter, oh my goodness. I could hear Lisa sing her parts on that a zillion times. Cool beans.

Zap to Paris’s Olympia, which is cool as Mick mentions it was one of the first places they played in France in 64 or so, and they’d had a gig at 2pm or something silly, so they thought it’d be a lark to do it again. Even Jack Nicholson showed up for this one. 2000 got to attend this one, a highlight being footage of them playing You Got Me Rocking. How come this wasn’t on either CD set, or any of the single releases?????? Gah! I Go Wild is here too. More interviews with Keef and Bobby Keys, then Shine A Light. Ah yes. More Jack Nicholson and then Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Appropriate! The band bows, loads out and…

Brixton Academy, London! Somehow fitting the first thing we see is a police car rocketing around a curve in the road. I don’t know why, it just is ha. Interviews with fans, set-up for the gig, a soundcheck of Can’t Get Next To You (awesome) then part of Honky Tonk Women, and Faraway Eyes too, with Mick (who always wished he was from Texas) on piano and some excellent pedal steel from Ronnie. Interesting points made about Mick not needing to ham it up so much like he does in stadium shows. With the smaller stages like these he can relax and play more harmonica and just entertain and have a good time. Roll into a bit of Like A Rolling Stone, with Mick and Keef talking about it being a natural tune for them, obviously, but Keef saying if it hadn’t been named what it is, they would’ve cut it years ago! Then the cameraman found a pretty blond in a cut-off top dancing with her arms over her head in the balcony, so we got some of her too, nice one haha.

Some soundbites from the crowd on their way out the door and that’s about it.

Whew!

Really a cool DVD. Cool gigs, cool songs, cool band, yes yes yes!

***

In Sum:

Part One: The CD

This totally (stripped, natch) hit the spot, and I’m thrilled to get these versions into the collection. It would have been easy for them to just phone in these shows, but there’s a real feel of energy and freshness to the whole thing that is completely exciting. I really wish they had done it up right and included all 7 of the extra tracks from the original Stripped (the ones that only appeared on singles, etc). May as well put it all together, so that was a bit of an oversiiiight that means they misused the word Totally in the title of the release! !

Part Two: The DVD

A brilliant watch, wonderful to get some behind the scenes stuff and interviews, sound checks and stuff you’d never otherwise see. I liked the documentary style of it.

The Whole CD/DVD Set: In Sum

Fan-fucking-tastic. Yes. Yes yes YES!  This was an exciting period for the band, they were flying high and knocking it right out of the fucking park. These stripped discs are amazing. Buy it now!

NB: It’s also worth noting that there is also a 5 disc deluxe set, which probably contains all the stuff I was complaining this one didn’t have, and more besides! But this one was affordable for me and I’m cool enough with everything that was here.

 

* Different city and version of a song that’s also on Stripped.
**  Track duplicated from the original Stripped.

Rolling Stones – GRRR!

As we all know, there are a ton of Stones compilations out there. I own many of them, natch. Do I really need as many of them as I own? Especially when I own all the albums already? Haha probably not, it really is a lot of repetition of tracks… but I’m a sucker for the exclusive tracks they throw on these comps to make suckers like me buy them. They get me every time!

Now, if my memory of this event is not faulty, I do believe that I got this set using Air Miles, back when they still had CDs available in their catalogue. Hard to argue with free!

This 2012 edition, released for the Stones’ 50th Anniversary (holy shit!) came in a few different editions. There’s a 2CD 40-track set, a 3CD 50 track set (that’s what I have), and an 80-track 5CD/7” set. There are enough variations in the track listings that I thought it worthy of including all three sets’-worth (copied from Wiki, see below).

My 50-track set is pretty damn sweet. It’s hard to fault the tracks selected. Of course, I could always add more (and more), but I wouldn’t take away any of what’s here. And of course, the big thing to talk about, since we all know all of the usual suspect hits here, is the two new songs. Doom And Gloom is pure later-period Stones rock. I love everything about it. It’s loud, swanky, and would be totally lifting in concert. To me, it’s proof that they still have it, and should have been making records every two or three years all along. Ah well, no going back, but we’ve really missed out on a lot, over all of these years! The other new track is One More Shot, is pretty damn good too. A bit slower but still rocking, once again it fits later-Stones perfectly. They have a sound, and both of these tracks are pure THAT. I love it.

In Sum:

It has some pretty dumb-ass cover art, and a silly name (seriously, boys, of all things to call it), but these are not deterrents. Should you buy GRRR! if you see it in the shops? Of course! It’s the Stones – never hesitate! There are so many great tunes collected here, in any of the versions, that’s it’s impossible to go wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the 2CD version in shops, the 3CD is far more common. The huge deluxe would be the one to get, of course, but it ain’t cheap.

***

As promised above, here are the various sets’ track listings. I also added personnel, and all the track origin notations. THANK YOU WIKI for all of this, so I don’t have to type it all out again.

40 Track Version

CD1
1 Come On (Chuck Berry)* – 1:51
2 Not Fade Away (Charles Hardin/Norman Petty)@ – 1:48
3 It’s All Over Now (Bobby Womack/Shirley Jean Womack)# – 3:28
4 Little Red Rooster (Willie Dixon)$ – 3:06
5 The Last Time% – 3:42
6 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction% – 3:45
7 Get Off Of My Cloud^ – 2:56
8 As Tears Go By (Jagger/Richards/Andrew Loog Oldham)^ – 2:46
9 19th Nervous Breakdown* – 3:58
10 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?& – 2:37
11 Paint It Black+ – 3:24
12 Let’s Spend The Night Together= – 3:37
13 Ruby Tuesday= – 3:16
14 Jumpin’ Jack Flash* – 3:43
15 Street Fighting Man` – 3:15
16 Sympathy For The Devil` – 6:19
17 Honky Tonk Women* – 3:02
18 You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Single version)] – 4:48
19 Gimme Shelter] – 4:32
20 Wild Horses- – 5:46

CD2
1 Brown Sugar- – 3:50
2 Tumbling Dice_ – 3:46
3 It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) (Edited Version)/ – 4:11
4 Angie. – 4:32
5 Fool To Cry (Edited version), – 4:08
6 Beast of Burden (Single version){ – 3:30
7 Miss You (Single version){ – 3:34
8 Respectable{ – 3:09
9 Emotional Rescue (Edited version)} – 3:43
10 Start Me Up< – 3:32
11 Waiting On A Friend< – 4:35
12 Happy_ – 3:06
13 Undercover Of The Night (Edited version)) – 4:13
14 Harlem Shuffle (Earnest Nelson/Robert Relf)\ – 3:23
15 Mixed Emotions (Single version)| – 4:00
16 Love Is Strong! – 3:47
17 Anybody Seen My Baby? (Edited version) (Jagger/Richards/k.d. lang/Ben Mink) – 4:07
18 Don’t Stop (Single version)( – 3:29
19 Doom and Gloom: – 3:58
20 One More Shot: – 3:05

50 Track Version

CD1
1 Come On (Berry)
2 Not Fade Away (Hardin/Petty)
3 It’s All Over Now (Womack/Womack)
4 Little Red Rooster (Dixon)
5 The Last Time
6 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
7 Time Is on My Side (Jerry Ragovoy)2 #
8 Get Off Of My Cloud
9 Heart Of Stone$ 5
10 19th Nervous Breakdown
11 As Tears Go By (Jagger/Richards/Oldham)
12 Paint It Black
13 Under My Thumb4 +
14 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
15 Ruby Tuesday
16 Let’s Spend the Night Together
17 We Love You*

CD2
1 Jumpin’ Jack Flash
2 Honky Tonk Women
3 Sympathy For The Devil
4 You Can’t Always Get What You Want
5 Gimme Shelter
6 Street Fighting Man
7 Wild Horses
8 She’s A Rainbow
9 Brown Sugar
10 Happy
11 Tumbling Dice
12 Angie
13 Rocks Off_
14 Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).
15 It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
16 Fool To Cry

CD3
1 Miss You
2 Respectable
3 Beast of Burden
4 Emotional Rescue
5 Start Me Up
6 Waiting On A Friend
7 Undercover Of The Night
8 She Was Hot)
9 Streets Of Love0
10 Harlem Shuffle (Nelson/Relf)
11 Mixed Emotions
12 Highwire3
13 Love Is Strong
14 Anybody Seen My Baby? (Jagger/Richards/lang/Mink)
15 Don’t Stop
16 Doom And Gloom
17 One More Shot

80 Track Version

CD1
1 Come On (Berry)
2 I Wanna Be Your Man (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)*
3 Not Fade Away (Hardin/Petty)
4 That’s How Strong My Love Is (Roosevelt Jamison)5 %
5 It’s All Over Now (Womack/Womack)
6 Little Red Rooster (Dixon)
7 The Last Time
8 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
9 Heart Of Stone
10 Get Off Of My Cloud
11 She Said Yeah (Sonny Christy/Roddy Jackson)5
12 I’m Free5
13 Play With Fire (Nanker Phelge)&
14 Time Is On My Side (Ragovoy)
15 19th Nervous Breakdown
16 Paint It Black
17 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
18 She’s A Rainbow
19 Under My Thumb
20 Out Of Time4
21 As Tears Go By (Jagger/Richards/Oldham)

CD2
1 Let’s Spend The Night Together
2 Mother’s Little Helper4 7
3 We Love You
4 Dandelion6 8
5 Lady Jane4 +
6 Flight 5054 +
7 2000 Light Years From Home;
8 Ruby Tuesday
9 Jumpin’ Jack Flash
10 Sympathy For The Devil
11 Child Of The Moon6
12 Salt Of The Earth`
13 Honky Tonk Women
14 Midnight Rambler]
15 Gimme Shelter
16 You Got The Silver]
17 You Can’t Always Get What You Want
18 Street Fighting Man
19 Wild Horses

CD3
1 Brown Sugar
2 Bitch-
3 Tumbling Dice
4 Rocks Off
5 Happy
6 Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
7 Angie
8 It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
9 Dance Little Sister/
10 Fool to Cry
11 Respectable
12 Miss You
13 Shattered{
14 Far Away Eyes{
15 Beast of Burden
16 Emotional Rescue
17 Dance (Pt. 1) (Jagger/Richards/Ronnie Wood)}
18 She’s So Cold}
19 Waiting On A Friend
20 Neighbours<

CD4
1 Start Me Up
2 Undercover Of The Night
3 She Was Hot
4 Harlem Shuffle (Nelson/Relf)
5 Mixed Emotions
6 Highwire
7 Almost Hear You Sigh (Jagger/Richards/Steve Jordan)|
8 You Got Me Rocking!
9 Love Is Strong
10 I Go Wild
11 Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan)
12 Anybody Seen My Baby? (Jagger/Richards/k.d. lang/Ben Mink)
13 Saint of Me
14 Don’t Stop
15 Rough Justice0
16 Rain Fall Down0
17 Streets Of Love
18 Plundered My Soul9
19 Doom And Gloom
20 One More Shot

Bonus disc – IBC demos, 1963

1 Diddley Daddy (Ellas McDaniel/Harvey Fuqua):
2 Road Runner (McDaniel):
3 Bright Lights, Big City (Jimmy Reed):
4 Honey What’s Wrong (Reed): (NOTE: the song’s really called Baby, What’s Wrong but was mistakenly called what’s on the left)
5 I Want to Be Loved (Dixon):

7-inch vinyl EP – BBC session, 1964

Side one
1 Route 66 (Bobby Troup)1 @
2 Cops and Robbers (Kent Harris):

Side Two
1 You Better Move On (Arthur Alexander)?
2 Mona (I Need You Baby) (McDaniel)1

Personnel

•Mick Jagger (all tracks) – lead vocals, harmonica, guitars, keyboards, percussion

•Keith Richards (all tracks) – acoustic and electric guitars, vocals (lead vocals on “Happy”, “You Got the Silver” and the first verse of “Salt of the Earth”), keyboards, bass guitar, percussion

•Charlie Watts (all tracks) – drums, percussion

•Brian Jones (1962–69) – guitars, harmonica, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals, sitar, recorder, appalachian dulcimer, saxophone, marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, tambura, autoharp

•Bill Wyman (1962–92) – bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, percussion

•Mick Taylor (1969–74) – guitars, backing vocals

•Ronnie Wood (1975–present) – guitars, backing vocals

Origin Key

•* – Non-album single
•6 – Non-album B-side
•? – The Rolling Stones (EP) (1964)
•1 – The Rolling Stones (album) (1964)
•@ – England’s Newest Hit Makers (1964)
•# – 12 X 5 (1964)
•2 – The Rolling Stones No. 2 (1965)
•$ – The Rolling Stones, Now! (1965)
•5 – Out of Our Heads (UK) (1965)
•% – Out of Our Heads (US) (1965)
•^ – December’s Children (And Everybody’s) (1965)
•& – Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) (1966)
•4 – Aftermath (UK) (1966)
•+ – Aftermath (US) (1966)
•= – Between the Buttons (US) (1967)
•7 – Flowers (1967)
•; – Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
•` – Beggars Banquet (1968)
•8 – Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) (1969)
•] – Let It Bleed (1969)
•- – Sticky Fingers (1971)
•_ – Exile on Main St. (1972)
•. – Goats Head Soup (1973)
•/ – It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (1974)
•, – Black and Blue (1976)
•{ – Some Girls (1978)
•} – Emotional Rescue (1980)
•< – Tattoo You (1981)
•) – Undercover (1983)
•\ – Dirty Work (1986)
•| – Steel Wheels (1989)
•3 – Flashpoint (1991)
•! – Voodoo Lounge (1994)
•~ – Stripped (1995)
•” – Bridges to Babylon (1997)
•( – Forty Licks (2002)
•0 – A Bigger Bang (2005)
•9 – Exile on Main St. reissue (2010)
•: – New, previously unreleased song (2012)

Rolling Stones – Stripped

I’m in a Stones mood (which happens all the time, natch). In the wake of Deke’s review of the recent Totally Stripped set, I decided to go back and hear the old original 1995 release of Stripped for the millionth time in my life. I loved this disc back then, and I love it now.

Included (below) is the track list (and recording date/locations) but, for me, the real power here are the little moments and versions of the songs…

Take in the perfect instrumental sections of Street Fighting Man, the slinky majesty of Like A Rolling Stone (with Keef saying “Thank you, Bob!” at the end of it). Love the sassy shuffle of Not Fade Away, and then the soul uplift glory with brilliant guitar solos of Shine A Light, one of my favourite tracks from Exile. Mick humourously changes up the lyrics in the acoustic guitar blues of The Spider And The Fly to reflect their age, while I’m Free remains a truly perfect song, and fits the mix here very well indeed. Fun guitar and organ solos.

Wild Horses, well, I mean, Wild Horses. Must I say anything? Haha no I don’t. Awesome. Let It Bleed follows hot on its heels with that inimitable chug and swing, and it’s Chuck Leavell’s piano that rules this one. Dead Flowers gets sped up a bit, but is so strong it hardly matters. Keef’s vocals on Slipping Away are gorgeously imperfect, and it’s nice they threw in a Steel Wheels track, here.*

Angie is once again a showcase for Leavell’s piano, and while not nearly as harrowing as the original, this update adds breadth to its sound. I’m a sucker for well done covers of Robert Johnson, and Love In Vain (even with its false start) is barroom blues bliss. Sweet Virginia, another Exile favourite of mine, swings beautifully like a gospel track, and rips that gorgeous sax solo (R.I.P. Bobby Keys). And finally, a run through Willie Dixon’s Little Baby blues rock stomps us into a puddle. Glory.

In Sum:

Full marks. And bonus points too. I love this disc. Love love love. Note to self: I need to collect up those singles, again!

* A little weird to have the SW track instead of, say, the awesome I’m The Worst since Voodoo Lounge had only been the year before Stripped. Ah well, whatever Keef wants, he does!

***

For those keeping score, here are the dates and locations of all the recordings on this disc (from Wiki). All songs by Jagger/Richards except where noted.

1 Street Fighting Man – 3:41 (live in Amsterdam on 26 May 1995)
2 Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan) – 5:39 (live in London on 19 July 1995)
3 Not Fade Away (Norman Petty/Charles Hardin) – 3:06 (live in the studio in Lisbon from 23–26 July 1995)
4 Shine a Light – 4:38 (live in Paris on 3 July 1995)
5 The Spider and the Fly – 3:29 (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)
6 I’m Free – 3:13 (live in the studio in Lisbon from 23–26 July 1995)
7 Wild Horses – 5:09 (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)
8 Let It Bleed – 4:15 (live in Paris on 3 July 1995)
9 Dead Flowers – 4:13 (live in London on 19 July 1995)
10 Slipping Away – 4:55 (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)
11 Angie – 3:29 (live in Paris on 3 July 1995)
12 Love in Vain (Robert Johnson) – 5:31 (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)
13 Sweet Virginia – 4:16 (live in the studio in Lisbon from 23–26 July 1995)
14 Little Baby (Willie Dixon) – 4:00 (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)

There also were some outtakes from this album that have been released.

1 Honest I Do (Hope Floats Movie Soundtrack) (live in the studio in Tokyo from 3–5 March 1995)
2 All Down the Line (Like a Rolling Stone single) (live in Amsterdam on 27 May 1995)
3 Black Limousine (Like a Rolling Stone single) (live in London on 19 July 1995)
4 Gimme Shelter (Wild Horses single) (live in Amsterdam on 26 May 1995)
5 Tumbling Dice (Wild Horses single) (backstage rehearsal in Amsterdam on 26 or 27 May 1995; live at the Olympia, Paris on 3 July 1995)
6 Live with Me (Wild Horses single) (live in London on 19 July 1995)
7 It’s All Over Now (e-download only) (live in Amsterdam on 27 May 1995)

Hillary

Go get a coffee. This is a month-long tale, so I’ve broken it up into a timeline:

December 26: Email from Boppin, Amazon was selling the new Keith Richards album, Cross-Eyed Heart, for $8. Sweet!

December 29: I went to order, it was already back up to $15. I clicked New sellers… Amazon themselves were $8! Why the two prices? I dunno. Can they even be secondary sellers on their own site? I also ordered Baroness – Purple and Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers 2CD. It was enough to get free shipping.

January 4: Baroness and the Stones shipped. No Keef.

January 8 (I think): I called Amazon. The guy seemed baffled in general, not just about the order, but said it would be shipping on January 11th. I said “why isn’t it already shipped? It’s In Stock. It has always been In Stock. It should have come with the rest of the order, right?” He had no answer. He said it was coming soon.

January 11: It did not ship.

January 18: Still hadn’t shipped. I called Amazon again. I said “Where is my CD? What is going on?” The lady said it would ship soon and should be here by the 27th. That’s just shy of a month since I ordered it!  I said “like hell it will. How does it take you a month to ship me a CD that is still In Stock. It has never not been In Stock. It’s a brand new release. It’s Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, not some rare thing. All it takes is for someone to go into your warehouse, get a copy, and put it in an envelope with my name on it and drop it in the UPS bin. Why can’t you simply do that?”

She apologized and bumped it up to Priority. Later that night I got an email saying they’d changed the order status (which I already knew from the phone call), and it gave a delivery date of anything up to the 27th anyway! So much for priority.

January 22: It was still not shipped (do they know what Priority means?)! When I called again, they still had no good answer, so they got a good rant from me about how it was taking them a month to ship me one bloody new release CD. This time the lady, Lailani, promised to personally call me on the 27th to confirm I’d received it. I told her if it arrived on the 27th, she’d be receiving an official complaint from me about their service when she called.

January 27: No CD. No phone call. Then, late that night, the CD shipped.

January 28: The CD arrived late afternoon. UPS left it in a clear plastic bag tied to my front door.

I called Amazon, because I could not find anywhere on their website to actually leave Amazon feedback on an order, like you can do for secondary sellers. I wanted to spit-roast them in my review. Turns out, you’ve gotta call them. By now I’m an old pro at calling Amazon.

I got Hillary, in Kentucky, and gave a 0-Star review, and told this whole tale.

Hillary made it all better.

She was truly appalled it took this long. Apparently yes they can be secondary sellers on their own site, but it still just comes from their own warehouses, so she saw no reason it didn’t ship.

She was shocked that none of the other three customer service reps I spoke with tried ordering it again to get a new one to ship and then just cancelled the first order. She was really sickened that that lady did not call me when she said she would. She wasn’t acting, she was horrified!

Here’s what she immediately did:

1. Refunded me the full charge on the CD.
2. Gave me a $10 credit on my next Amazon order.
3. Sent my 0 Stars review on the order to her management.
4. Sent notice to the no-phoneback lady’s management for follow-up.

So then as the conversation went on, and to try to helpfully illustrate how I could understand it with a secondary seller (but not Amazon), I told her my story about the 2TB hard drive (you’ll recall my post about that), and how the seller absconded with my money while I waited two months. I was sure to include that Amazon stepped up and refunded my $70 right away. Then I finished with how I’d had to re-order at their higher price ($115) for the same thing.

She couldn’t believe the rep I dealt with at the time didn’t offer to order me one from their own stock and just price-match it.

Here’s what she immediately did:

5. She refunded me the $45 difference (plus the taxes)  to price match my Amazon 2TB hard drive down to the $70 seller’s price.

Wow.

In Sum:

I spent a month pretty mad at Amazon. I spent way too much time on the phone trying to get answers, and they still couldn’t even ship me a new release CD in under a month. More frustrating, for the time wasted versus money spent, I could just have walked the two blocks to my local shite HMV and bought the CD.

If you have any trouble with Amazon and you have to call customer service and you get the Kentucky office, ask for Hillary.

Hillary rocks.

***

UPDATE:

Late January 28: No-call-lady called. Said she was happy I had received my product and was pleased she could help me resolve this issue. I said whoa, wait just a minute. You didn’t call me when you said you would. She interrupted to say she tried but got my machine and she couldn’t leave a message. [Now, Hillary in Kentucky had told me that she leaves messages for customers all the time]. Besides, even if an auto-dialer hangs up on our answering machine, it still leaves enough of a click through to make our message light blink to indicate we have a message (and a seconds of blank air). She totally lied about calling, I think.

I carried on… You bumped it up to “Priority” and it still arrived a full day after your last possible day for delivery (which is one day shy of a frickin’ month). Besides all of which, you’ve now got the nerve to call me a day late.

So no. You didn’t help me at all. I have already dealt with another of your associates and she made it all better with absolutely no help from you. If this call is to try to save your own skin after she sent your manager notice that you hadn’t called me when you said you would, you’re too late. You dropped the ball on this one.

There was a pause on the other end of the line, into which I said I sure hope you have a great night. Goodbye. Then I hung up.

Lesson Learned: Always ask for Hillary in Kentucky.

Final Note (probably in open G tuning): I hope Keef appreciates the lengths I went to in buying his goddamned CD. 🙂

Um, maybe…?

All The Rolling Stones… Part 2

So yesterday I posted up a list of all the Rolling Stones studio albums, ranking them from worst to best. I thank all of you for your comments (and several of you for pointing out my innocent Some Girls error). I still struggle with that list, I know it isn’t right. But I’m going to leave it, and now the internet has access to it. Yay. Which leads me to…

All The Rolling Stones… Part 2

As a result of all of this Stones ranking business, I was thinking that I don’t have enough Stones in my car player. Sure, I have them all on my iPod but I’m not always the most organized person and I often forget it at home. My crappy old cell phone doesn’t hold much music, because 1) it’s crappy and old, and 2) usually my phone is full of cute pictures of my kids.

So I thought I’d do the time-honoured thing and burn a couple of CD-Rs containing all of the studio albums (my car’s CD player accepts MP3 discs wahoo!). I left out hits sets and live records, same as my rankings list. For the record, iTunes tells me I have 63 albums, 787 songs that would take 51 hours and 18 minutes to play it all. Yes, that’s a lot of duplication (hits sets, etc), but still. That’s just a little bit of Stones! Ain’t life grand!

As to why I hadn’t made discs like this already is beyond me. It was high time (an appropriate use of terms, with this band), so I’m glad this project instigated their creation. Anyway, I burn all of my MP3s at 128 kbps, for reasons I’m sure I’ve already stated in these pages. But even at that low bit rate, something interesting happened. Let’s have a look:

CD-R #1: 1964-1974 (10 years)

15 albums. Well, 14 albums and the Jamming With Edward disc (not included in the rankings list), which I included anyway because awesome. Everything from England’s Newest Hitmakers through to It’s Only Rock ’n Roll. Oh, plus Honky Tonk Women off Hot Rocks, and three otherwise unreleased tracks off Flowers (shhh!). I’m sure I forgot stuff, but this is way more than anyone needs to get their Rocks Off (see what I did there?). As you can imagine, this is one helluva fucking disc. I recommend you all make such a disc.

CD-R #2: 1975-2015 (40 years)

10 albums, everything from Black And Blue through to A Bigger Bang. Oh, plus Metamorphosis, simply because that’s almost all different stuff (even if a lot of it was only one or two players here or there), and the extra new tracks from Forty Licks and Grrr! (shhhh!). A lot of people might pull one or two albums from this pile and skip the rest. Not me. I still like it all, some less than others, but so what? There’s still a metric shit-ton of good stuff here.

In Sum:

I think these are going to go very well in the car. Very well indeed. And the kids will get an excellent chronological education of one of the world’s greatest rock and roll bands, too!

Interesting to note:

CD-R #1: 10 years, 15 albums

CD-R #2: 40 years, 10 albums

I find myself constantly wondering what would have happened if drugs, egos and all the other bullshit hadn’t gotten in the way. Sure, they couldn’t have mainained pace for 50 years like they did in their first 10 years, but imagine if they’d been able to get their act together, work together and make more records more often! Imagine how much more music we’d have! The mind boggles.

19642015

All Of The Rolling Stones…

I am posting this against (what I might mistake as) my better judgement, and only because of a promise made in passing. In the process of this I learned a couple of things:

1) I cannot be objective about this band’s music. I’ve played it all, for so long, that even the stuff that sucks is still pretty awesome because Stones.

2) I will read this in the morning and disagree with myself. In the making of this list, I altered the ordering at least three times, and then realized that getting this anywhere near precise was pretty much an impossible task from the outset. Sure, as I moved titles around, I realized that it was settling into the list you see below. And sure, I might say Let It Bleed oughta come above Beggars Banquet, or that Emotional Rescue was worse than Dirty Work… and on and on. It’s endless. What I’m saying is I’m probably dead wrong about a lot of this. Tomorrow, this list could (would) look very different! I’m so close to this stuff I can’t even see it anymore.

It’ll be really interesting to return to this a year from now and laugh at how much I would change. Note to future self: “Hi! Please be gentle!”

Well, damn the torpedoes. Here it is!

All The Rolling Stones

So Mike made an awesome post wherein he ranked all the Aerosmith albums (on request), from worst to best! This must have been a daunting task, especially since he says he hates making lists! But I loved it and suggested he do more! I listed a bunch of bands and he said he’d do one more (because he’s awesome). No KISS or Maiden, though. I thought maybe Rush… but I settled on Marillion. I think that list will be very informative (and a challenge for Mike!)

And to be a good sport, I said I’d do one too, and a challenging one at that! Yes, the Rolling Stones. It’s hard for me to say how much I like this band, but suffice it to say it’s a whole helluva lot. Am I even able to rank their albums, when I’ve listened to them for so long and am hardly objective? Unlikely.

As Mike did, I’ve left out hits collections and live albums. Studio albums (24 of them!) only.

Hooboy.

Here we go.

Let’s give ‘er…

24 Dirty Work
23 Emotional Rescue
22 Undercover
21 A Bigger Bang
20 Bridges To Babylon
19 Their Satanic Majesties Request
18 Black And Blue
17 Steel Wheels
16 Goat’s Head Soup
15 Between The Buttons
14 December’s Children (And Everybody Else’s)
13 England’s Newest Hitmakers
12 It’s Only Rock ’n Roll
11 Voodoo Lounge
10 The Rolling Stones, Now!
09 Out Of Our Heads
08 12×5
07 Some Girls
06 Tattoo You
05 Aftermath
04 Let it Bleed
03 Beggars Banquet
02 Sticky Fingers
01 Exile On Main St.

Discuss.

Stones-Logo

Your Top 5 Favourite LPs Of All Time

Your Top 5 Favourite LPs Of All Time

For my 200th post/review/write-up/blurb/whatchamacallit of 2015, I thought I’d take a bit of a departure this morning, a break in the Taranna reportage (don’t worry, there’s more later today!). This all stems from a (very) brief comment/conversation with our favourite Mr. 1537 just yesterday. I told him I didn’t think I could answer this query, but as I thought about it some more, I wondered if I could, you know? So I’m going to ask you all a simple question that, I think, is anything but simple to answer:*

What are your Top 5 LPs Of All Time?

See? You just started listing them, right? And kept going, because you can’t forget this, or that, or… and soon you’re well past 5 records! At least, that’s what happens to me. Maybe you’ve already got a list somewhere, your mind already made up. This is not your 5 favourite bands. These aren’t just your Deserted Island albums. These are THE BEST records you’ve ever heard, your favourites, without which your life would be bereft and empty and far less amazing than it is right now because they are in your life.

Can you do it?

Drop your list in the comments, and let’s get this convo started!

***

As for mine, well, I waffled quite a bit. There were so many to list. Hell, I could’ve done 5 Stones records and forgot about the rest. But no, I stuck with it and tried to list my top favourite all-timers. Ask me again tomorrow, this list would be different…

In no particular order, here are the 5 I feel most important today:

Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
Wynton Marsalis – Standard Time Volume 3: The Resolution Of Romance
Van Morrison – Too Long In Exile
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue

Also: As it turns out, on May 11, 2007 (8 years ago almost to the day) I was apparently of a same mind, because I posted this about deserted island album choices. Apparently, in May is a good time to get me thinking about these things… Interestingly, 4 of my choices (in 2015) haven’t changed. I think that speaks well of my love for those records. I’d argue the 5th, too, (I could just as easily include the Pistols in 2015) because my choice all those years ago is friggin’ solid. An interesting experience with the benefit of age, since this blog has been around so damned long! It’s an advantage, really, to be able to cull form so far back and find stuff like this! Thank you, former self!

Old_skool

 

 

 

 

* Actually, I can’t believe I didn’t include this in my 5-part Get To Know Your Readers series, from a little while ago. Hm. Oversiiiight!

Live And Sticky!

Rolling Stones – Marquee Club Live in 1971 (2CD/1DVD, Super Deluxe)

Thanks once again to the excellent Second Disc blog for the heads-up on this exciting upcoming release!

Mark your calendars for June 8th (UK)/9th (US), folks! What a period for the band, oh man. Gonna be a great one!

All kinds of AWESOME!

 

Sticky Fingers Super Deluxe Coming!

Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers Super Deluxe

Thanks once again go to the mighty Second Disc blog. They’re chock full of great upcoming release news and reviews, you really oughta check them out. Today we thank them for giving us a heads-up about this fantastic Rolling Stones development…

CHECK OUT THEIR GREAT BLOG’S POST HERE

I will definitely be buying this!!

Rolling Stones – Collection 1971-1989

Well looky here, I’ve hit 100 different blurbs this month! And with a whole day to spare! This has been a LOT of listening, a real labour of love! No guarantees I’ll hit this number every month, but it’s been fun getting here in this first month of the year.

So, in celebration, I offer up a lifetime keepsake. Enjoy!

Rolling Stones – Collection (1971-1989)

Inspired by a recent post of Mike’s, on the eye-opening effect the Led Zeppelin boxed set had on him, I thought it was time to share a similar experience with you about the boxed set that decided one of my own directions.

As I’ve stated, I was the jazz kid. Grew up on it, and it has always been a constant. There was also the 50s and 60s music of my Mom, especially the Beatles. I eventually grew away from the Beatles, from over-exposure. I drifted towards the Stones – it’s almost cliché, isn’t it, to like one but not the other. I don’t dislike the Beatles, I just prefer the Stones.

Anyway, I received this boxed set for Christmas from my folks in 1990. This coincides perfectly with Mike’s Christmas Led Zeppelin. Cool.

Well, in these parts I am known to be a Stones fan. I have all the records, some multiple copies. I’d had Exile On Main Street on cassette, but this set was my first real immersion in their music (and a huge boost to my getting all their records into my collection). And what an interesting period to have as a first crack at it, eh? From Sticky Fingers through to Steel Wheels? Holy hell. So much greatness here. Yes, their disco phase too, but it was the times. I grew to love each of these albums for their own strengths and weaknesses.

This boxed set also came with a special Collector’s Edition CD, with rare tracks and different versions, etc. Very cool indeed.

And it was this boxed set that sent me scrambling to buy up all the albums that preceded 1971, and to buy every new album as soon as it comes out. I’m a lifelong fan, and this set surely helped pave the way.

THANKS HEAPS, MOM!!

The culprits responsible for fully beginning my lifelong appreciation (ie the contents of this box, 15CDs):

01) Sticky Fingers (1971)
02) Exile On Main Street (1972)
03) Goats Head Soup (1973)
04) It’s Only Rock And Roll (1974)
05) Black And Blue (1976)
06-07) Love You Live (2CD) (1977)
08) Some Girls (1978)
09) Emotional Rescue (1980)
10) Tattoo You (1981)
11) Still Life (American Concert 1981) (1982)
12) Undercover (1983)
13) Dirty Work (1986)
14) Steel Wheels (1989)
15) Collectors’ Edition (Bonus CD) (1990)

NB: All of these photos (except the first one) are from Discogs. It’s the lazy way for me to show you the box, which looks the same as mine anyway. Interestingly, the box in these photos is a bit beat up, and so is mine! In fact, the excruciatingly thin paper that held the lid to the box is almost torn through on mine. I can’t see how anyone kept theirs intact if they opened the box more than two or three times. I would never store my CDs in this cheaply-made box. Exceedingly poor packaging design! 

Rolling Stones – Metamorphosis

I’m a Stones fan from way back. You knew this already, from reading these pages… I own all the studio albums, most of the comps, some of the live stuff… And for some reason I never bought this compilation when it finally hit CD (the vinyl was released way long ago, in 1975…). Don’t ask me why I never picked it up, I ‘ve certainly eyed it in the shops many times. Well, at least I had enough foresight to throw it on my Amazon wishlist and, voilà, all these years later and come Christmas morning there it was!

Can I even begin to describe what a pleasure it is to hear these songs? A collection of outtakes and different versions of known tunes, it’s a real keeper. Oh sure, most of these aren’t the “hit” tracks, but as a fan who’s heard some of the nitty and the gritty, these are awesome snapshots of a band that held its creative peak for so long it’s not fair to other groups. Getting to hear these songs now, many of them for the first time is, for me, like finding a Lost Stones disc from the ‘classic’ early years. Which is what it is.

NB #1. One Amazon reviewer pointed out something I hadn’t noticed: this may be one of (if not the) only Stones record with 6 band members pictured on the cover [the artwork of which, you’ll also notice, is a nod to Kafka (of course)]! Cool.

NB #2. I have leaned heavily upon Wikipedia for song details contained below. It’d be nice if you believed I am this knowledgeable just on  my own, but it’d all be a lie. However, the opinions contained herein, for what they’re worth, are all mine. Ready? Of course you are.

I like this demo version of Out Of Time (with strings added!), and Don’t You Lie To Me is originally a Tampa Red song, though Fats Domino and Chuck Berry covered it. The Stones covered the Berry version. It’s a rocker as only the Stones can do such a thing. Somethings Just Stick In Your Mind is a mournful, repetitive, slightly cheesy track. Each And Every Day Of The Year plods along a bit, but there are enough elements here to keep it interesting. Trumpet! I like trumpets.

Heart Of Stone is not the album/single version. It has Jimmy Page on guitar! This one’s a bit slower and a bit more… what? Bluesy? Swinging? Swaggering? Yes. I like it. I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys is a tuneful keeper, complete with handclaps. (Walkin’ Through The) Sleepy City is pure west coast sixties, would sound great coming out of a jukebox. And it has a solo on bells. Oh my. We’re Wastin’ Time is a sweet waltz (yes, it’s a bit disorienting) that still sounds like it could’ve been on England’s Newest Hitmakers. Cool guitar solo, here. Try A Little Harder is a chugging little 12-bar rocker with harmony vocals and persistent tambourine.

I Don’t Know Why, originally a Stevie Wonder song, was recorded the night the news of Brian Jones’ death broke (the band was recording Let It Bleed at the time). I’d need to listen to this track another ten times to tell you what I think of what it says. It’s typical of the period, musically, a quiet build into a mid-tempo Stones stomp rocker. This may be the most affecting track here, which is saying something since every track here is a keeper.

If You Let Me is a Between The Buttons outtake, and it’s a simple, pleasing little tune with lots of build and then release, build and then release pacing… Jiving Sister Fanny is pure Stones jangling-blues rock. I love it, even the odd bit where Taylor’s guitar solo kicks in and it’s way louder in the mix than Mick’s vocals. Way louder. Anyway, I could hear the Black Crowes covering this one, easily. Right in their wheelhouse.

Downtown Suzie (originally titled Sweet Lyle Lucie) is a Let It Bleed outtake, and includes Ry Cooder on guitar. It’s an acoustic blues that struggles a bit to hold together in the intro, and with backing vocals that sound tired or bored (or stoned) here and there. Weird. But then it kicks in, complete with bongo drums (I think) and it sounds like a Stones jam around a campfire. Eventually in there somewhere it becomes a typical Stones full-band rocker too… Cool. Family Is a Beggars Banquet outtake, an odd little rocker that switches tempos and dynamics quite often. Memo From Turner (not the version from Performance) features Al Kooper on guitar, and may also contain some Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi (with Traffic at the time). It’s a cool tune. Mick’s talking more than he’s singing… I don’t have the Performance version here, so I cannot compare. And finally there’s I’m Going Down has Stephen Stills on guitar. It’s a pure Stones rocker. It’s that sound, so indelible and perfect. It’s all a bit lost-sounding, somehow, but it’s pure Stones.

Whew! I’ve played this disc three times since I received it as a gift and I love it. It’s a real gift, though, to be able to add (to me) unheard early Stones to my collection. Yes, I’m way behind the times, but I consider myself  lucky to have this one here, now. I will play it often, for sure.

Hooray! Thanks heaps, Mom!

Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (re-issue, 2010)

Here the Stones embody their blues roots, the old Chess records, those jangly guitar blues. It’s all over this muddy Delta swamp of a record and I love it dearly. Time has proven this to be a total gem of a record. The instruments and vocals seem mixed in together, at times indistinguishable from each other, other times distinct, all of it glorious. Set aside the stories from the recording and drug use at the time, let the messy nature of this beast stand on its own… this is a better record than most people could ever even dream of making.

So, to business. The first disc is the album in its entirety, hosed off a bit but not too much, and it’s sounding great. Those guitars still give me goosebumps. Love the horns, the harmonica, those shuffling yet precise drums… damn. This is a Stones juke joint, plain and simple. I know you’ve heard this album a million times, so I won’t bore you with a track by track analysis. Just know that the remaster sounds pretty damn good.

The second disc, as if the first isn’t enough to make you delirious, has some extra tracks from the period. Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren) has a great soul groove and stands well on its own. But it doesn’t quite match the feel of Exile itself. Plundered My Soul comes closer, but it’s definitely a b-side. I’m Not Signifying is a fantastic piano and harp blues that plods along with a loose shuffle, one of the highlights of this extra disc. Following The River is a lovely piano ballad, but they were right to leave this one off the record as well. Dancing In The Light is a fun, blues-drenched ramble that might have worked on the album. So Divine (Aladdin Story), with its Paint It Black-ish guitar line, chugs along well enough but is another one rightly left as a b-side. It almost sounds like an afterthought. Then we get two alternate takes of album tracks: a slinky, spare and almost tentative Loving Cup, and a shuffling Soul Survivor that doesn’t quite work (those vocals are pretty terrible). Rounding out the disc, Good Time Women is another true Stones blues rocker. Love those playful guitars. And bringing up the rear is Title 5, an instrumental which picks up the pace considerably and plays with amp effects.

All in all, this set is so fucking fantastic, you need to run out and buy it RIGHT NOW. If you were to only own one Stones record, you couldn’t go far wrong with this one. Sure, none of the huge hits are here, but you can listen to Classic Rawk radio for those. This is the Stones at their peak, drenched in blues, flirting with the devil every chance they get, and loving every minute of it.

Robert Pollard, Pavement, TV On The Radio, Danny Michel, Rolling Stones

Robert Pollard – The Crawling Distance

Hooray! New Pollard again! Frankly, my raving about a new Pollard effort in these pages is redundant, by now. So just consider this notice that this album is released and you should definitely buy it! This 10 song collection has all the trademark sounds of the master at work: the brit-rock vocals, the odd lyrics, the interesting structures and key changes. It’s all here. The man is unstoppable.

Pavement – Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creed Edition

Whomever had the idea to re-release all the Pavement records with all kinds of extra goodies thrown in deserves a medal. They’re gorgeous. This most recent addition to the series has so much extra stuff it’s boggling: a re-mastered original album, b-sides to several EPs, compilation appearance tracks, radio sessions, studio outtakes, photos, essays, you name it. There’s enough in this 2 disc set to keep a person occupied for weeks, and it’s all fantastic.

Man, I miss Pavement. I know it had to end, and I know we’ve been fortunate that a couple of the members have carried on with other projects, but a part of me still really misses the magic these guys created. Sets like this are a nice reminder of what once was.

TV On The Radio – Dear Science

Here we have a dance-y, trance-y, indie homage to 80’s pop music. It’s got drum machines, falsetto vocals, the works. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, as far as it goes, I enjoyed this record for the creative effort that it is. I ultimately sort of held it at a distance, though, since it’s really not my cup of tea. I honestly did enjoy it, but I doubt I’d play it often. Man, talk about a backhanded compliment. Lots of people like this stuff. If you do, power to you. Get out your jelly shoes, hair crimper and neon stretch pants and rock it often. Whatever floats your boat.

Danny Michel – Welcome Home (1997-2007)

I can sum this up quickly: Danny Michel rules, as you all already know, and this set is the perfect collection of a decade of his amazing songs, played on acoustic guitar. Every track is a gem. Seriously, head over to zunior.com and get this so you can check this out. You won’t regret a single second of it.

Rolling Stones – Shine A Light

Watching this movie, I realized for the millionth time that, dammit man, I love this band. I don’t care how old they get, or how corny their song lyrics can get sometimes, or that watching Mick Jagger perform is akin to watching a skinny little man being electrocuted. It’s that sound, that magic that is the Stones in flight. It’s jangly, it’s messy, it’s bluesy and it fucking rocks.

Scorcese had his work cut out for him, capturing this spectacle, at which he both succeeds and fails. We’re treated to incredible footage from great angles, and the picture quality is fantastic. But it’s mostly like watching a strobe-light being swung around the room. Too many camera-switches makes it impossible to actually enjoy a lot of the footage. It’s a shame. In his panic to give us everything, Scorcese hurt my eyes and offered up only fleeting flashes of greatness.

Nevermind, the music is phenomenal, the guests are interesting, and that one of a kind Stones energy is definitely present. And that’s all that matters.

*NB: There’s more favourites coming up next, so be ready!

Notes on the Favourites Project, Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Depeche Mode and Tom Waits

Let the ‘Favourite Record’ fun begin!

This little project has quickly become an interesting sociological experiment. Responses to my little query have varied greatly. Some people know what their favourite record is without hesitation. Others say one thing, then quickly ask if they can change their answer. A couple of people have just said whatever new record they’re listening to right now, not their all-time favourite (and to be fair, the question does not actually specify any such restrictions).

Still others say there are far too many and then get bogged down in trying to chose. I’ve even had a couple of people choose just a song they like, which doesn’t count. A few folks knew which song they liked but not the name of the record it’s on, and one person admitted that her friends just give her copies of stuff they like and she plays those without really knowing or caring who the bands are. Very interesting, indeed.

I fall into the category of the person who thinks of one right away and then can think of a zillion others that would also work (as you’ll soon discover, below). There’s just too many great records. Honestly, I’d need several crates for discs I’d take to a deserted island…

Anyway, shall we get to it?

(takes a deep breath)…

01 MINE: Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St.

None of you will be surprised by this. I’ve already reviewed this disc in these pages and raved about its wonders and depths, its messiness and glory. Of course, being a music geek like I am, a million other records came crashing in behind that first thought, like Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand, Black Flag’s Damaged, Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, Sloan’s Twice Removed, and then there’s… well, suffice it to say, I could think of countless others that could just as easily have been my instinctive response to this challenge, but Exile it was. Fair enough. It is, indeed, a bloody brilliant album. I love it to pieces.

02 MY LOVELY WIFE: Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue

Once upon a time, I played trumpet quite a bit. During that time I got a glimpse, in my own completely mediocre way, of what might be possible on the instrument. Then I heard Kind Of Blue, and I realized that I knew nothing.

My lovely wife chose this as her favourite record, which just goes to show that she consistently has impeccable taste (ahem)! This record is deservedly held aloft as a jazz immortal, as unimpeachable. And talk about tone. It’s a sound every horn player only dreams is possible. As a document of a staggering mind’s explorations in its prime, this album is almost inhuman. Of course, you’ve all heard it, so you know that words are inadequate. Damn. Yeah. Own this. Love it.

03 THAIN: Depeche Mode – Violator

I have to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of electronic music. Yes, I was a child of the 80’s and therefore it was categorically impossible to avoid this type of music, and I even owned People Are People on cassette at one time (though I rarely played it… thanks, Columbia House), but it hasn’t ever really been my thing.

However, Thain said this was her favourite record, so I gave it a spin. And yes, the synth/electronic thing is certainly there, but there is a depth of movement underneath the surface that is far more worthwhile than the melody lines. This record creeps up behind you, places a soft hand on your shoulder and creepily relishes when you jump. It’s dark, it’s full of need and awareness, it has a slinky elegance all its own, and it’s very, very real. Impressive.

04 STU: Tom Waits – Rain Dogs

For those of you who aren’t aware, Stu runs the Vinyl Diner, the best record shop in Saskatoon (and one of the absolute best I’ve ever had the pleasure of prowling anywhere), and so he’s even more of a music fanatic than I am. It is thus understandable that he sent me not one response to this challenge, but thirteen! The list was impressive, and all his choices impeccable, the result of many considered hours of listening and constant contact with a wide variety of styles. I can’t review them all, so I just chose this one at random from his list.

Tom Waits gets a lot of play in our house. His rough yet warm growl, his uncanny songwriting ability, the dirt and grime on every surface of his creations… they all add up to a superlative artist who truly stands alone in excellence. Rain Dogs is a fine example, and one of his more popular records. From start to finish, it plays like a greatest hits collection and, trust me, no one else in 1985 could have even dreamed of creating these masterpieces. Totally perfect.

There’s tons more, too. I’ll get to them as quickly as I can. I hope you’re having as much fun reading these as I am trying out all your favourites and writing about them!

Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St.

I now enter into dangerous territory, because this is quite possibly my favourite record of all time. For a music fan on a scale such as the one by which I live, that’s a massive claim to make. Suffice it to say, if someone asked me that Deserted Island question about which 5 albums I’d take, this one would spring to my mind first over all others, by any band.

Anyway, I say this is dangerous territory because such albums should, if you ask me, be completely avoided by armchair reviewers and music fans like myself. I’m way too close to the subject, have too much invested in it. When an album is in your life so deeply, it’s probably wrong to try to tell others why this is so. It just doesn’t seem possible. Or perhaps I’m just afraid I’ll run out of adjectives.

Exile On Main Street sews up the Four Best Stones Records (in my opinion) series, and it does it with grandeur, style, a razor-sharp blade in hand and dirt under its nails. There are no tracks that are less than perfect, and as I said in my review of Sticky Fingers, it’s the natural extension of the Story Of The Stones as it was told by the band (via their music) as they straddled two decades.

Everything about this record just makes sense. It’s a full buffet of the styles they love to play with; blues, folk, rock, country, soul, you name it. It’s all here and it’s all inimitably their own. The musicianship is flawless, even when it hits points of sounding like it’s going to fall apart. But unlike the others records in this series, the vocals sound buried back into the mix with the instruments. You wouldn’t think this would have much of an effect, but it surely does here. With everything on a more even level, what emerges is a true group effort, and a swampy briliance that sums up the feel of the entire affair.

Much has been made about how this album was generally confusing to the people who bought it when it came out. Lots of people hated it (including Lester Bangs, who later recanted) and still today there are some who call it overrated. It was an ambitious double-album and, compared to their other recent records, there were no Huge Hits. The closest it came to that would probably have been Tumbling Dice, which disappointed the people who wanted another Satisfaction or whatever. It was too challenging for average listeners, I guess. Fools.

A long time back, I reviewed a book about the making of this record, and so we all remember from that review that that process was an entire story unto itself. But this end result of all of those elements is the culmination of the most fruitful and beautiful period in the history of the Stones. Here is where they made their stand, here is where everything finally came together and made sense. Here is a challenge to every other band who might dare to pretend to such heights. Hell, even the Stones themselves have never, in my opinion, quite gotten back up there since (I’m sorry to say).

I’ve been playing this record for many years, and I always feel like I’m greeting an old friend when it starts to play. The kind of friend who’s been through the wringer enough times (and crashed on your couch as a result) to know where you keep everything in your kitchen cupboards, and to know that they’re welcome to help themselves to whatever they find there (and they always do). And still, after all that time, my ears pick out new little riffs, bent notes or drum shuffles that I maybe didn’t take notice of before, that make it sound fresh and new too. That, to me, is the perfect album right there. It’s the unexpected blooming in the middle of such familiar, brilliant sounds.

I. Love. This. Record.

Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

With only a brief break between album releases to thrust the (sometimes) great Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out live album into the maelstrom, the Stones returned with the Third in the Four Best Stones Records (in my opinion). Sticky Fingers is so much more than the album cover that stirred up all that talk. It’s a masterpiece, and possibly the best opening salvo a new decade (the 70’s) has ever heard.

By now the Stones were unquestionably Unto Themselves in every possible way (and had been, for some time). Everything about them was huge, worthy of a tale or three. Lesser mortals would have crumbled, withered and blown away in the fiercely competitive wind that constantly blows through rock and roll, let alone what their lifestyles were doing to them mentally and physically. So, we should all kneel down and give thanks that they somehow held on through their own personal hells to keep going. And going. And going…

Anyway, Sticky Fingers serves up a delicious opening round knock-out count with Brown Sugar, which in typical Stones fashion is about slavery and racial tension, sex and the loss of virginity, all with a delightful snarl and insouciance that is by now their trademark. Welcome to our new album, indeed. But unlike Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed before it, something else is afoot on this record. The blues are still prevalent (and worthy), as are their flirtations with country (Wild Horses is still one of my favourite Stones tracks ever) and their staple rock and roll. But…

This new element isn’t malaise or boredom, and it isn’t sheer exhaustion. No one could muster such performances if they were so apathetic or weary. No, I tend to think that what lurks behind every note of this record is a series of little glimpses into how the drugs had changed the landscape for the band. It’s obvious in the lyrics of most of these songs, but it’s in the feel of the record too. There’s something that tugs the corners down, makes everything that much more of an effort. Of course, the effort is entirely worth it.

Played on its own, this is a completely harrowing record. Taken in context with the albums made just before and after it, it makes a little more sense and it’s a natural lead-in to their next record (my favourite) Exile On Main St. It’s almost as though, listening to these records, what you are hearing is their autobiographies hidden in every note, which makes sense when you consider that albums like these don’t get made unless you pour your absolute heart and soul into every track.

Worth every penny.

Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

This is the second in the Four Best Stones Records (in my opinion). What an amazing time these guys had during these years, as the Sixties died and the Seventies were poking their head around the grimy street corner. The band was at the top of their game, fully untouchable and, of course, the voice of their generation (whether they wanted to be or not).

This record picks right up as a natural extension where Beggars Banquet left off, and then it takes things one step further. Of course, with the Stones this can only mean that things take on a bit more of an edge (in places) with more menace and darkness, and that suits me just fine. There’s something plaintive here, too. I can hear in these tracks how the drugs were taking hold, how Brian Jones’ death hung over them, how fame was its own peculiar weight. Turning all of that into something this beautiful was a master stroke, indeed.

The opening knock-out punch of Gimme Shelter again leaves me wondering what could possibly follow such perfection (same as on Banquet), but as always the blues save the day. Their cover of Robert Johnson’s Love In Vain is brilliant. This paves the way for a wild ride through more blues (especially the delicious Midnight Rambler), rock of course, and even some more country stomping with Country Honk (a re-do of Honky Tonk Women). By the time you reach the sweet and sorrowful strains of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, you’re spent. And that song in itself is completely intense. If you really let this record speak to you, you’ll feel like you’ve run nine miles in the summer heat. Of course, it’s so good you’ll just want to plug it back in and do it all over again.

I can’t even imagine being in the room as these records were being made. The talent, the song-writing ability, the electricity in the air, the feeling that damned souls and demons were being conjured up by the delicious sounds… oh man. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck just thinking about it.

Thank the Music Gods that this record is readily available for us to savour. Play it often.

Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

I’ve been holding back on reviewing the Rolling Stones on this site because I find it very difficult to get the right words to match what I think of them. You see, I love the Stones, and I hate them sometimes too. Some of their songs/albums are absolute gems, some are weak money-grabs, and some are completely unlistenable sins against Rock Itself that should never have seen the light of day. Even then I still give them points for trying.

However, Beggars Banquet is an absolute gem. Made at a point in their career when the initial tsunami of fame had given way to an altogether new one, the Stones turned back to their roots in the blues and put down some of the finest songs committed to record.

Drop this in the player and let Sympathy For The Devil work you over. It swirls and offers hope and malice and euphoria all on the same serving platter. It conjures images and tells stories and leaves you gasping. When it’s all over, even though I’ve played this CD enough times that by rights it should be worn out by now, I always get that tingle of trepidation, wondering ‘How in the hell are they gonna follow that?’ What song could possibly step in to please you as much as that first track? And every time I laugh at myself, because No Expectations is the perfect slide-guitar follow-up. And frankly, the rest of the record just makes sense in the same way. It flows.

Sure, the only other single on here is Street Fighting Man, but it hardly matters. The rest are equally worthy. By the time you reach Salt Of The Earth, you’ll have fallen in love ten times. This is honest music, and it’s sexy as hell. It hurts, it aches and it preens. It nods at the past and calmly asserts the new order at the same time. It won’t leave your player for weeks and you won’t mind at all.

Even better, this is the first in the string of Four Best Stones Records (in my opinion). This is the beginning point of a very fertile and absolutely amazing musical period for the band, one which has never been duplicated, except in a lot of talented musician’s wildest wet dreams.

Do yourself a favour. Go dig out your copy and give it a spin. It’ll be better than anything else you’ve heard in a long, long while.

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