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Rolling Stones Album-by-Album Thread (Part 12)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Mark, Apr 11, 2014.

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  1. superstar19

    superstar19 el Borracho caliente

    Location:
    Canton, MI, USA
    Post of the year!
     
  2. sami

    sami Mono Rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Just tell us where to send the money - price is no object!!! :yikes: :laughup:
     
    John Fell and reb like this.
  3. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
    Let's take an internet pole like the Stones do at their live shows.

    What song should botley post a video of next?

    I vote for another Ron Wood song!

    Hey Negrita
     
  4. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    I'd have to find an appropriately loud matador shirt.
     
    John Fell likes this.
  5. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    Location:
    Undisclosed
    We need Esoteric's analysis of this! :winkgrin:
     
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  6. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
  7. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easton, MD
    Awesome.
     
  8. mick_sh

    mick_sh Dignity, always dignity.

    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    Pleaaaase do "Down in the Hole" next. We need some drama too!
     
  9. jazdoc

    jazdoc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bellevue, WA, USA
    This is why Al Gore invented the internet!
     
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  10. Expert Textpert

    Expert Textpert Well-Known Member

    I don't get it either. IORR is one of my favorite Stones albums. To my ears, they didn't release anything that equalled it until Tattoo You.
     
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  11. mick_sh

    mick_sh Dignity, always dignity.

    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    And now that we have the "correct speed" Fingerprint File I like IORR even more.
     
  12. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    Location:
    Undisclosed
    That is why some of us diehards collect bootlegs is to get stuff like this not released by the regular labels. I've had the correct speed version for years on one of my bootlegs.
     
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  13. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tejas
    Psychedelic and groovy. Makes me :)
     
    reb likes this.
  14. Croidler

    Croidler Forum Resident

    "Time Waits For No One" and "If You Really Want to Be My Friend"
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
    mick_sh likes this.
  15. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    In this installment: thank you very much, you're very kind, I can't see you, I'm blind...

    [​IMG]

    UK/US LP: "Still Life" (American Concert 1981)
    Released as Rolling Stones Records CUN 39115 -- June 1, 1982

    TRACKLISTING: Intro ("Take the 'A' Train" by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra) / Under My Thumb (live 5 Nov. 1981) / Let's Spend the Night Together / Shattered (live 18 Dec. 1981) / Twenty Flight Rock / Going to a Go-Go (live 9 Dec. 1981) / Let Me Go (live 8 Dec. 1981) / Time Is on My Side (live 18 Dec. 1981) / Just My Imagination (live 19 Dec. 1981) / Start Me Up (live 25 Nov. 1981) / (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction / Outro ("The Star-Spangled Banner" by Jimi Hendrix) (live 13 Dec. 1981)

    Found on CD:
    • The 1998 Virgin remaster is miles better than the other versions I tried, with better tonality than the shrill '87 CBS CD (which, curiously enough, does NOT band the intro and outro as separate tracks, whereas all other digital versions do)

    Once the trigger was pulled on Tattoo You's final completion and release schedule, the necessary arrangements fell into place for the massive tour that had spawned it. Having got their act reasonably together, Mick & Keith's mutual disaffection had cooled to a polite ceasefire. They arrived at an understanding: as long as Ronnie could steer clear of debilitating freebase cocaine intake, the Stones could resume right where they left off after their final gig in Canada two years earlier. All gathered and rehearsed for six weeks in summer of '81 at Long View Farm in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, and ran through a myriad of songs, piecing together a reasonably well-balanced set (building upon their established repertoire from the '78 shows), which would remain fairly stable for the entire tour.

    When the dust cleared, a few more "oldies" (but goldies) had returned, some tunes being played live for the first time or sporting new arrangements. Everything from It's Only Rock 'n Roll & Black and Blue was still firmly off the table. Stalwart ol' Stu was returning on grand piano, as was "Mac" on electric keyboards, but other players dropped by to jam as well, including David Sancious (of the E Street Band) and a former sideman for the Allman Brothers, one Chuck Leavell.

    A couple of weeks into the tour, they were joined by accomplished session saxophonist Ernie Watts ("no relation") on most tracks and also occasionally by Bobby Keys who, despite his sterling contributions to Emotional Rescue, was still working his way back into Jagger's favour after the unseemly fallout from drug excesses that led to his termination from the '73 tour. None of Keys' performances made it to Still Life and no one yet realized he was truly to stay on for good — he would not formally return to the offically announced lineup of players until '82.

    There were no jumbo-sized CCTV screens yet in most of these American stadia where the tour was booked, and so, in order to be visible from across an enormous outdoor football pitch, the band made some concessions to the traditional garb of these sports-based venues. Jagger chose garish colours over outlandish NFL-styled leggings as a means to an end: so that anyone looking could spot his location and movements from the cheap seats. Hal Ashby's film Let's Spend the Night Together depicts the dusky sunlit afternoon of one such open-air stadium show in all its jaw-dropping vastness, where the band seem nearly swallowed up by the scale of the event. They had learned to expect this from the outdoor '78 shows, however, and Jagger worked up the idea of a raked-stage set design that could maximise visibility in these settings to combat this dwarfing of the players. Charlie Watts, being a former graphic design student, also took an interest in the layout, keen to give the band additional visual appeal. As Charlie later put it in discussing the vagaries of stadium rock, "you need a bit of theatre", and the Stones certainly excelled at that.

    The illustrated scrim on either side of the stage took on a primary-colour Americana theme, designed by Kazuhide Yamazari and depicting a stylized electric guitar, a flashy sports car, the star-spangled banner, and a turntable. This was re-worked for the Still Life album artwork to wrap around the entire front and back cover: when folded out, the impressionistic figures dominate the illustrated stadium bowl, coming to 'life' and rising into the radiant sunshine (only a single brown stick-figure person — a jumping jack, of sorts — is depicted on the stage). At key moments, the band released balloons, let off fireworks, and bathed the stage with brilliantly coloured light to thrill the crowd. Jagger even climbed into a cherry-picker crane, for the surprise conclusion of the main set.

    For 1981, this was ground-breaking stuff, considering most bands showed up with a few PAR cans and follow-spots for lighting and no staging other than bare risers on scaffold. The indoor shows mounted later in the tour (in cities where weather was becoming too inclement for an outdoor setting) were arguably even more technically ambitious, with the drum riser rotating outwards to play "in the round" and a wraparound runway for the now-entirely-wireless players surrounding it. This was a logical continuation from the flowering "lotus stage" of 1975, but fully incorporating the technical improvements of 1980s gear.

    After a mood-setting Duke Ellington intro, "Under My Thumb" starts things off in highly energetic fashion, with Brian Jones' marimba line transposed into a hard-rocking Keef riff, doubled on organ and interwoven with Ronnie's answering licks. There's definitely an overdubbed third guitar adding reinforcement to Keith's part, though it's barely audible and mixed quietly to centre. The arrangement is long on repetition, but it feels briskly efficient compared to the slinky original Aftermath cut (and it skips the "Her eyes are just kept to herself / While I can still look at someone else" verse entirely). Opening the show with this familiar yet re-worked classic was a brilliant move, allowing Mick to stretch out and gallavant while the guitarists strode forth down the ramp towards adorning punters. The crowd even claps in time for the whole song.

    Another mid-sixties chestnut "Let's Spend the Night Together" follows after Mick's introduction, welcoming those watching the tour-capping Hampton Coliseum pay-per-view special (which we'll cover in depth later) at home "drinkin' a few beers, smokin' a few joints". His voice is a little hoarse, and the wireless mic a bit crackly, but the two pianos and guitarists (again with a little double-Keith embellishment in post-production) absolutely shine here, particularly Ronnie. Next is the more recent calling card "Shattered", which they take at a furious clip. Again, Ronnie is on fire here, taking a beautiful solo and contributing to those charming call-and-response backup vocals at the conclusion with Keith and Mac. That glorious phased guitar riff is just insatiable!

    Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" is next, quite a fun choice for a cover (notably, one P. McCartney remembered the words well enough to be let into the Quarrymen), which the Stones never recorded in the studio. Once again, the other players do a great job of matching Keith's knuckle-whitening pace. On most dates of the tour, it was played in a medley with "Going to a Go-Go" but they specifically chose a show where the two were played separately to get clean tops and tails recorded for the album. I love both songs very much, as they were important salvos in the 50s rock 'n roll revolution. The overdubbed "Go-Go" vocals really shine here, rivalling the Miracles' original performance, and Mick's lusty lead is entirely his own. Oh, yeah — how about that sax!

    For the first time, the Stones promoted their new live album with a single, and shrewdly, this was the track selected. In keeping with their long tradition of chart success covering the Motown catalogue, it fared pretty well and had a promotional video released for the fledgling MTV market. Its B-side was a non-album recording of "Beast of Burden" taken from the third and last show in Illinois (where the Still Life "Start Me Up" was also recorded), which makes an interesting listen thanks to its bouncy tempo and Watts' slick sax licks. Unfortunately, the chorus vocals are a little flat and Ronnie's solo, although nice, doesn't quite take off the way it should. Nevertheless it was in contention for the album's final running order, as it appears to have received a cowbell overdub and fancy vocal delay treatment ("put me out, put me out!") in the mix down stage. It would also later appear on the Flashpoint Collectables and Rarities 1971–2003 anthologies. Mick rants "I don't want you to wash my clothes, I don't want you to change my baby's Pampers, I don't want you to come in my kitchen, I don't want you to **** around with it" and it sounds like everyone's having a reasonably fun time.

    The Still Life recording of "Time Is on My Side" also came out at the end of summer '81 in a rather fetching picture sleeve, with back-and-white photos taken by Ken Regan of a contemporary club gig. It had its own video promo, too, with archival shots of the band intercut with the Hampton footage by then-rising star Austrian video directors Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher. The 12" single version put the album versions of "Twenty Flight Rock" and "Under My Thumb" together as one seamless B-side. It's a great arrangement of "Time", too, with Keith doing a manful job on backup vocals and holding down the rhythm.

    Side Two of the LP starts with "Let Me Go", a real workout for Jagger, who would usually sing the extended final chorus on a whirlwind sprint out into the crowd, on an extended platform leading from the stage, or just mingling out on the ground surrounded by bodyguards. Once again, the pace is furious, and the guitars bitingly nasty. The highlight of the second side, however, is an intense, extended arrangement of "Just My Imagination" that would stretch out for over nine minutes on most nights. It's judiciously edited down here, hitting only the highlights. Really very tasty, and once again Watts' sax contribution is essential.

    This album was primarily conceived to provide another tour souvenir; its title an indication that this was the American concert experience, finished in time to be sold along with T-shirts and badges to European audiences on the '82 leg. It cross-cuts between shows freely, name-checking different cities along the way. The feel is taut, with Jagger's voice (usually overdubbed but certainly live on the Hampton tracks) doing a reasonable job of meshing well against the players' weave. There are a few unobtrusive patch-ups in the guitar department, Keith's additions poking their way in here and there to reinforce the main riff, but the solos are all thrillingly fresh and in-the-moment.

    Most of these basic arrangements became canonical for subsequent tours, including the revitalized "Satisfaction", which they definitively knocked into tour-ready shape after a five-year absence from the setlist since opening the show at Knebworth '76. It had never been captured in a form considered worthy of live album release before. Here, it sounds like it had never left, and the crowd receives it as rapturously as ever. In its afterglow, the fireworks display blasts over Hendrix's Woodstock performance of the national anthem. Bombast, defined!

    Compared to Love You Live, this is a lot better in almost every respect — it's even great compared to the ragged sloppiness of Some Girls Live in Texas '78. For all the slagging-off that Still Life gets, it's certainly more professional than the out-of-tune, vocally incompetent, floundering mess that the '70s Stones shows often were. Despite a slightly muddy mix (Bob Clearmountain had yet to figure out how to really make these live recordings pop), and a few percussion overdubs that don't quite sit correctly, the only real problem with Still Life is its subsequent duplication and recapitulation. Not only does the home video Let's Spend the Night Together re-create the trick of cross-cutting from show to show, it has this same version of "Satisfaction" and outro (only longer). The Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981) release contains the same versions of "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Shattered" and "Time Is on My Side", as well as similar renditions of the other tracks. All of these were rehashed AGAIN by the Live at Leeds Roundhay Park 1982 archive show. There are subtle differences, which we'll discuss soon, but the fact is that the '81-'82 leg is extensively documented by other official releases, for anyone who cares to dive in.

    So this album, for all its fine points, is now an artifact among artifacts. The harsh criticism it routinely receives is undeserved, but if you want some insight into how well the band could play in this period, your best bet is to start elsewhere. If you grew up with it, though, the nostalgia factor may persuade you to revisit and rediscover its hidden charms.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
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  16. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
    That brings back memories- saw that in person at JFK in "81. I remember a long delay waiting for the show to start, while we sweltered in the brutally hot sun. But it was worth it!
     
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  17. Croidler

    Croidler Forum Resident

    Great write up! I was expecting this on Sunday so sadly my in depth discussion of the solo on "Let Me Go" will not be ready until then.

    Victor Bockris' biography of Keith says that Jagger offered to tone down the theatrics of Keith would not use drugs on the tour and keep Woody in line, when Keith refused they both took the theatrics and drugs to an unprecedented extreme.

    I want to point out too that the riff from "Shattered" is different than on the record (as it is in Live in Texas), I don't know if this is a "Han shot first" moment for people but I much prefer the way it's played live.

    This is, as far as their history as a touring band, the first tour of the modern age and one that set the standard for other bands just as much as the 69 tour did. This tour was also the first rock tour ever to have corporate sponsors (Jovan perfume) a trend that others would emulate. The rehearsal bootlegs are great for this tour too.

    Have we got the footage of when Keith hit that bloke over the head with the guitar?

    Check.

    A gold coin to whomever can find footage of the show in Goteborg where Keith hijacked Mick's cherry picker and noodled in "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for almost half an hour.
     
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  18. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    NEW JERSEY WE THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH FOR WAITING WILL YOU WELCOME PLEASE THE ROLLLLING STOOOOONEEEEES!!
     
  19. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    I love "Still Life". I bought it on cassette at the time after having bought "Going To A Go Go"/"Beast Of Burden". I was very pleased when I found that there was enough room to fit that superb B-side on the cassette! I got the vinyl later on and always missed not having "Beast Of Burden" on there (I kept the single in the LP sleeve, where it still resides today).
     
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  20. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
    I cut this Jovan sponsor ad out of a magazine and saved it all these years:
     

    Attached Files:

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  21. Croidler

    Croidler Forum Resident

    "I'll never leave your pizza burnin""
     
  22. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easton, MD
    Nice one, botley! This is totally a nostalgia album for me. I was apoplectic with joy at the show I saw (12/9) and the Go-Go/Beast single was on the jukebox at the bar I hung out at in the summer of 82, a few months after my 18th birthday. I commented earlier in the thread that my biggest criticism of the album was the inexplicable inclusion of the prerecorded works of other artists in the intro and outro, when the album could have included two more Stones tracks.
     
  23. Croidler

    Croidler Forum Resident

    I displayed this prominently in my house for years:
    '[​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  24. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    The inner sleeve with all those trinkets from the shows is great, too:

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Croidler

    Croidler Forum Resident

    Yeah, my copy has the insert sleeve, which you don't find too often in the used record shops these days.

    The sleeve also reveals that it was mixed at the Power Station.
     
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