The first LP I ever owned was the first Rolling Stones album, got it for Christmas in ’64, I was five years old and even then, I knew this is good shit. I still play it, the same copy. I drew a mustache on Bill Wyman on the back cover.
I don’t know how they got so good and I’ll bet they don’t either. I do know they haven’t made a decent record since Tattoo You in ’81 but that’s okay. I saw them do a great acoustic show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam in the early 90’s but the record from that show– Stripped wasn’t very good, they’d gone back and fixed all the mistakes and took the life out of the thing. I liked the live version of “Oh No, Not You Again” they played live a few summer’s back at Lincoln Center before their press conference. Their last big greatest hits package Forty Licks had one nice new tune– Keith’s “Am I Losing My Touch”, but their records mainly suck these days, and I think even they know it. I read an interview with Keith Richards a few years back who said something to the effect of “we could still make great records, but the record company would never release them”. So they bring in lames like Donald Was and Baby Face to try and make them sound as bland as everything else on the radio. Keith did make a great record about ten years ago which Virgin refused to promote or even distribute– it’s a Jamaican gospel record recorded at Keith’s house in Jamaica, mostly acapella with a bit of African percussion for flavor. Keith dubbed his rasta songbirds The Wingless Angels. Here’s their version
of the traditional gospel tune Morning Train. You should try and hunt down the CD,
it’s the best thing Keith’s done in decades.
According to Martin Elliot’s The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002 (Cherry Red, 2002) these next four tracks were done in August or September of 1978 in L.A. at RCA Recorders (where “Satisfaction” was done) and feature the Small Faces’ Ian McLagen on piano. Keith is singing lead and playing the rack harmonica and guitar on the three versions of Jimmy Reed’s “My First Plea” (which features the classic line– “don’t pull no subway/I’d rather see you pull a train”– translation—I’d rather see you gangbanged than gone). Freddie Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie” (which Charles Gillet called “the worst rock’n’roll record ever made” in his classic Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock, 1970) seems to have always been one of Mick’s favorites, he even said the end of “Brown Sugar” was ripped off from it. Anyone out there have any info on the life of Kenny Paulson who played guitar on the Freddie Cannon original? I know he ended up in prison and died of a heroin overdose in ’74 and that’s about it. Anyways, here they are, ladies, gentlemen and hermaphrodites of the jury, The Rolling Stones:
Dig how perfect the cymbal crash is, it sounds like they’re playing over the original Jimmy Reed track. For comparison’s sake, here’s the original Jimmy Reed version
They may dress like the Golden Girls these days, but god love ’em, where would we be without the Rolling Stones?