The Rolling Stones- Goat's Head Soup song-by-song discussion!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ohnothimagen, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    I know I’ve told the story before but it bears repeating here: discovering the Stones when I was 13 in the summer of 1989, devouring Rewind, Hot Rocks and then the Big Four…stumbling across Goats Head Soup at the Edmonton Public Library (80’s Columbia reissue LP without the gatefold) and signing it out. My mum recognized the album from the cover- “Oh, Goats Head Soup, that’s the one with ‘Angie’ on it. Not one of their better albums…”

    She was right, rest her soul…I went upstairs and put the record on. “Dancing With Mr D” kicked in, and as soon as those wimpy sounding drums started playing I literally said, “What the f—k is this?”:laugh: It completely flew in the face of what I expected a Stones record to sound like. No sir, didn’t like it! I didn’t even bother with side two, and back to the library it went!

    Flash forward another year or so- I picked up GHS on vinyl, mainly for completeness sake in my Stones collection. I had started playing bass and guitar myself by this point. Played the record and found myself focusing on the bass parts. At that point I decided, “Actually, this is pretty cool- it’s the Stones, but it doesn’t really sound like the Stones.” To this day, Goats Head Soup is one of my favourite “bass playing” albums. I play the album a lot more nowadays because it’s one my wife grew up with (“Angie” was her mum’s favourite song). I do believe it was the first Stones album my wife and I listened to when we started dating- not, mind you, that we were listening to it that closely at the time as I recall…:p

    So, that’s my story. Welcome to the long promised, long awaited Goats Head Soup song-by-song discussion. Same rules apply as for my Steely Dan thread, to wit: threadcrappers need not apply here!

    Now let’s get started!
  2. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    From Wikipedia:

    Goats Head Soup is the 11th British and 13th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in August 1973. Like its predecessor, Exile on Main St., the band composed and recorded it outside of the United Kingdom due to tax issues. Goats Head Soup was recorded in Jamaica and the Netherlands. The album contained 10 tracks, all written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, including lead single "Angie", which went to No. 1 as a single in the United States and top 5 in the UK. Goats Head Soupreceived positive reviews and achieved number one chart positions in the UK, US, and several other World markets. The album was remastered and released in 1994 and again in 2009 by Virgin Records and Universal Music respectively.


    In November 1972 the band relocated to Kingston, Jamaica's Dynamic Sound Studios. Keith Richards said in year 2002: "Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! By that time about the only country that I was allowed to exist in was Switzerland, which was damn boring for me, at least for the first year, because I didn't like to ski... Nine countries kicked me out, thank you very much, so it was a matter of how to keep this thing together..."

    Of the recording process, Marshall Chess, the president of Rolling Stones Records at the time, said in 2002, "We used to book studios for a month, 24 hours a day, so that the band could keep the same set-up and develop their songs in their free-form way, starting with a few lyrics and rhythms, jamming and rehearsing while we fixed the sound. It amazed me, as an old-time record guy, that the Stones might not have played together for six or eight months, but within an hour of jamming, the synergy that is their strength would come into play and they would lock it together as one..."

    Jagger said of their approach to recording at the time, "Songwriting and playing is a mood. Like the last album we did (Exile on Main St.) was basically recorded in short concentrated periods. Two weeks here, two weeks there – then another two weeks. And, similarly, all the writing was concentrated so that you get the feel of one particular period of time. Three months later it's all very different and we won't be writing the same kind of material as Goats Head Soup."

    On the sessions and influence of the island, Richards said, "The album itself didn't take that long, but we recorded an awful lot of tracks. There were not only Jamaicans involved, but also percussion players who came from places like Guyana, a travelling pool of guys who worked in the studios. It was interesting to be playing in this totally different atmosphere. Mikey Chung, the engineer at Dynamic, for example, was a Chinese man — you realise how much Jamaica is a multi-ethnic environment."

    The first track recorded at Dynamic was "Winter", which Mick Taylor said started with "just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there."

    The album's lead single, called "Angie", was an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, "wanted another 'Brown Sugar' rather than a ballad." Although the song was rumoured to be about David Bowie's first wife Angela, both Jagger and Richards have consistently denied this. In 1993, Richards, in the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back: The Best of The Rolling Stones, said that the title was inspired by his baby daughter, Dandelion Angela. However, in his 2010 memoir Life, Richards denied this, saying that he had chosen the name for the song before he knew the sex of his expected baby: "I just went, 'Angie, Angie.' It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like 'ohhh, Diana.' I didn't know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote 'Angie'. In those days you didn't know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a 'proper' name be added." According to NME, the lyrics written by Jagger were inspired by Jagger's breakup with Marianne Faithfull.

    This was the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who'd worked with the band since 1968's Beggars Banquet sessions. Unfortunately, Miller had developed a debilitating drug habit during the course of his years spent with the Stones.

    Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and Ian Stewart.

    Recording was completed in January 1973 in Los Angeles and May 1973 at London's Olympic Sound Studios. The song "Silver Train" actually was a leftover from 1970s recordings at Olympic Sound Studios, and "Hide Your Love" was recorded during rehearsals at De Doelen in Rotterdam. Goats Head Soup was also the band's first album without any cover songs since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967.

    Release and aftermath

    At the time of release, Jagger said, “I really feel close to this album, and I really put all I had into it... I guess it comes across that I’m more into songs. It wasn’t as vague as the last album which kind of went on so long that I didn’t like some of the things. There’s more thought to this one. It was recorded all over the place over about two or three months. The tracks are much more varied than the last one. I didn’t want it to be just a bunch of rock songs.”

    The album cover was designed by Ray Lawrence and photographed by David Bailey, a friend of Jagger's who had worked with The Rolling Stones since 1964. The portrait of Jagger on the front cover was approximately life size in the original 12-inch LP format. Jagger was reluctant to be shot enveloped by a pink chiffon veil, which Bailey said was meant to look like "Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen". The album's gatefold has all the band members wrapped around a similar fabric.[9]

    Preceded by “Angie” as the lead single, which sailed to number one in the United States and became a worldwide hit, Goats Head Soup was released in late August 1973 and also shot to the top of charts worldwide. The Rolling Stones' autumn 1973 European Tour followed soon after, in which four slots in the set list were given to the new material: “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, “Star Star”, “Dancing with Mr D”, and “Angie” – although apart from a few earlier performances of “Silver Train” and “100 Years Ago” nothing else from Goats Head Soup has ever been played live by the Stones.[10] (The popular bootleg recording Brussels Affair would result from this tour.)

    Critical reaction to the album was varied at the time. Bud Scoppa called the album "one of the year's richest musical experiences"[2][18] in Rolling Stone, while Lester Bangsderided the effort in Creem, saying, "There is a sadness about the Stones now, because they amount to such an enormous 'So what?' The sadness comes when you measure not just one album, but the whole sense they're putting across now against what they once meant..."

    Goats Head Soup is now generally considered to have marked the end of the Stones' "golden age", with Stephen Thomas Erlewine saying, "Sliding out of perhaps the greatest winning streak in rock history, the Stones slipped into decadence and rock star excess with Goats Head Soup... This is where the Stones' image began to eclipse their accomplishments, as Mick ascended to jet-setting celebrity and Keith slowly sunk deeper into addiction, and it's possible hearing them moving in both directions on Goats Head Soup, at times in the same song."[19] Goats Head Soup has endured as a popular seller, it has gone triple platinum in the United States and went on to sell close to 6.5 million copies worldwide.

    The sessions for Goats Head Soup were abundant with outtakes. Two of these — "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend" — would surface on Tattoo You in 1981, and feature Mick Taylor on guitar; "Through the Lonely Nights" became the B-side to the "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" single and was released on CD for the first time on the 2005 compilation Rarities 1971–2003. It is a soft rock ballad that features Richards on wah wah/leslie speaker filtered guitar with Mick Taylor playing a brief solo.

    In 1994 Goats Head Soup was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. The 1994 remaster was initially released in a Collector's Edition CD, which replicated in miniature many elements of the original gatefold album packaging. The first pressing of the 2009 remaster contains a censored version of "Star Star" that was on the original US vinyl release, but not on the 1994 Virgin CD; later pressings contain the uncensored version.

    The album was reissued once more in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version, which includes the uncensored version of "Star Star" with a previously unreleased fadeout.

    Track listing

    All songs written and composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

    Side one


    "Dancing with Mr. D"



    "100 Years Ago"



    "Coming Down Again"



    "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"





    Side two


    "Silver Train"



    "Hide Your Love"






    "Can You Hear the Music"



    "Star Star"



    The Rolling Stones

    · Mick Jaggerlead vocals (all but 3), backing vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10), electric guitar (6, 8), harmonica (6), piano (7)

    · Keith Richards – electric guitar & backing vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10), bass guitar (2, 4, 6, 7), acoustic guitar (5), lead vocals (3)

    · Bill Wyman – bass guitar (5, 8-10)

    · Charlie Wattsdrums (all tracks)

    · Mick Taylor – electric guitar (1, 2, 4, 6-10), backing vocals (4, 6), bass guitar (1, 3), acoustic guitar (5)

    Additional personnel

    · Nicky Hopkins – piano (1, 3, 5, 8, 9)

    · Billy Prestonclavinet (2, 4), piano (4)

    · Ian Stewart – piano (6, 10)

    · Bobby Keystenor saxophone (3, 4, 7, 10)

    · Jim Hornalto saxophone (3, 4), flute (9)

    · Chuck Findleytrumpet (4)

    · Jim Pricehorn arrangement (4)

    · Nicky Harrisonstring arrangement (5, 8)

    · Anthony "Rebop" Kwaku Baah – percussion (1, 9)

    · Pascal (Nicholas Pascal Raicevic) – percussion (1, 9)

    · Jimmy Miller – percussion (9)


    · Chief engineer and MixerAndy Johns.

    · Assistant engineers – Carlton Lee, Howard Kilgour and Doug Bennett.

    · Photography and sleeve design by David Bailey.
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  3. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    Again, from Wiki:

    "Dancing with Mr. D." is the opening track of rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' 1973 album Goats Head Soup.

    Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Dancing with Mr. D." is a brooding rocker in line with much of the Stones' funk inspired recordings from the Goats Head Soupera. The song opens with a riff by Richards prominently repeated throughout the song. Jagger's lyrics allude to either dalliance with a succubus or Death;

    Down in the graveyard where we have our tryst,
    The air smells sweet, the air smells sick;
    He never smiles, his mouth merely twists,
    The breath in my lungs feels clinging and thick;
    But I know his name, he's called Mr. D,
    And one of these days, he's going to set you free

    The song would best serve as an introduction to the Stones' studio-based sound of the mid-1970s after the sprawling epic Exile on Main St. Recording began at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston, Jamaica and would continue at Village Recorders in Los Angeles and Island Recording Studios in London. Billy Preston, who had contributed on a few songs with the Stones in the past, would become a heavy collaborator over the next few albums and here performs clavinet. Nicky Hopkins highlights with pianos throughout while Rebop Kwaku Baah and Pascal perform percussion. Mick Taylor performs electric slide guitar as well as bass while Charlie Watts performs drums.

    "Dancing with Mr. D." has been performed by the Stones only on their 1973 tour of Europe and during their opening concert of the No Filter tour 2017 in Hamburg. It served as the B-side to album mate "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)".

    From Keno’s site:


    Recorded in November & December of 1972. Released on Goats Head Soup in August of 1973.
    Lead Vocal:
    Mick Jagger Lead Electric Guitar & Bass: Mick Taylor Rhythm Guitar: Keith Richards Drums: Charlie Watts Piano: Nicky Hopkins Percussion: Rebop Kwaku Baah & Pascal Backing Vocals: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Mick Taylor

    (M. Jagger/K. Richards)

    Down in the graveyard where we have our tryst
    The air smells sweet, the air smells sick
    He never smiles, his mouth merely twists
    The breath in my lungs feels clinging and thick
    But I know his name, he's called Mr. D.
    And one of these days he's gonna set you free
    Human skulls is hangin' right 'round his neck
    The palms of my hands is clammy and wet

    Lord, I was dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    Dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    Dancin', Lord, keep your hand off me
    Dancin' with Mr. D., with Mr. D., with Mr. D.

    Will it be poison put in my glass
    Will it be slow or will it be fast?
    The bite of a snake, the sting of a spider
    A drink of Belladonna on a Toussaint night
    Hiding in a corner in New York City
    Lookin' down a fourty-four in West Virginia

    I was dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    Dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    Dancin', Lord, keep your hand off me
    Dancin' with Mr. D., with Mr. D., with Mr. D.

    One night I was dancin' with a lady in black
    Wearin' black silk gloves and a black silk hat
    She looked at me longin' with black velvet eyes
    She gazed at me strange all cunning and wise
    Then I saw the flesh just fall off her bones
    The eyes in her skull was burning like coals
    Lord, have mercy, fire and brimstone
    I was dancin' with Mrs. D.

    Lord, I was dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    I was dancin', dancin', dancin' so free
    Dancin', dancin', dancin' so free

    Dancin', dancin'

    Dancing with Mr. D is my riff and Mick's lyrics. I tend to work more on riffs while Mick has finished songs.

    - Keith Richards, 1973
  4. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    "Mr D" is a good song but a terrible opening track. Mick Taylor gets the credit for bass but it sure sounds like Bill Wyman to me.
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  5. Cushlamay

    Cushlamay Well-Known Member

    New Zealand
    I will skip straight to the last song...sorry
    Star , great song as is Heartbreaker
    kick ass Rolling Stones
    but I hardly ever play the album...its complicated
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Forum Resident

    North Yarmouth, ME
    See, I think Mr D is a great opening track. For me, GHS is a summertime album and the song's slow, lethargic crawl perfectly reminds me of those extra hot summer nights when it's so warm and humid that you don't want to move fast for anything. Love the song!
  7. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I was twelve when this came out. It was in my house soon after release as were the Big Four. I knew "Angie" from AM radio. It's a record I've played a lot over my life just because I love the Stones. It's a record that attracts a huge spectrum of opinion. I have never been a big fan of the opening song, "Dancing With Mr. D", however. This shouldn't be. It's built on a Keith riff and there's a Mick Taylor solo but something about it rings hollow with me. I think Mick was just trying too hard to further that menacing image the band had spent some time cultivating. Having said that, I really like the Brussels live versions, especially the one from the early show. That's probably because Mick Taylor really lets loose on the song live. It's interesting the Stones resurrected "D" in 2017.
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  8. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    I have no idea what provoked them to do that, and it's not a bad version, either. Didn't stay in the setlist very long, though...
  9. Malcolm Crowne

    Malcolm Crowne Forum Habitue

    Portland OR
    I confess as a stones obsessive that I haven't ever loved Mr D -- in fact, I pretty much treat side 2 as side 1 when it comes to Goats Head!
  10. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Mr D is one of my fave Stones tracks. I love the "lethargic" groove and the guitar riff. At this stage I don't care if the lyrics were deliberate provocation or a tired recycling of previous themes; the vocals sit there nicely far back in the mix.
    But then I like "atypical" Stones; I generally don't care for boogie rock openers like Start Me Up; sounds like Status Quo (the band) to me.
  11. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    Dancing With Mr D:

    Ah, Dancing With Mr.D, dancing with Death. Unlike most, I love this as an opening track, it has this kind of dark, murky quality to it that lets you know what kind of album you're getting.
    We start with a dark sounding riff before the drums and slide come in at :05, and they contribute this great buildup and tension to the track. Mick whispers something at :09, and the song starts, and the band has this lumbering groove, almost zombie like, appropriate considering the lyrics, and even the backing vocals sound half dead. I like Taylor's bass as well, he does indeed do a pretty decent impression of Bill, but I do hear certain things that are clearly a guitarist playing bass (can't explain it, hopefully @ohnothimagen can figure it out). I love Nicky on this song, brilliant as always. I'm the only one who thought there was a clavinet at times aren't I? Oh well, I love this song, I think it's exceptional, and I can't wait for this thread to kick off.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  12. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    Live bootleg:
  13. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

  14. Stencil

    Stencil Forum Resident

    Lockport, IL
    I love Mr D as well. Always makes me want to dance. This album sounds like they wanted to do a slick version of Exile. It didn't quite turn out that way, but I love its thick soupy feel. I like atypical Stones as well. Love the cover.
  15. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    I completely disagree on the opening track part; I think it's an excellent opening track in the same way Gimme Shelter is for Let It Bleed (the fact that GS is a much better song is besides the fact, by the way). The song lurks the album into consciousness with that very ominous opening riff. The band kicks in, in an almost equally gentle, but devious fashion and off we go. Surely it's not the best thing The Stones ever did but it works atmospherically as an opener for this album. My only real problem is not so much the murkiness of the mix (which actually fits the song) but the overall flatness which plagues the entire album. Good song, great start to what I consider the final "true" Stones album before they went high society.
  16. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    I would have probably opened the album with Heartbreaker. I like Dancing With Mr. D. and it is one of my favorites from the album but it doesn't really have radio airplay written all over it. Mick Taylor handles the bass on this one and Nicky Hopkins does his usual good job on the piano.
  17. Shem the Penman

    Shem the Penman Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Mr D gets a lot of unfair hate. I almost look at it as a continuation of "Soul Survivor" - that song rather crassly proclaims a victory in the wake of rock & roll deaths (not a criticism just the way I interpret it). In Mr D we get the same fears of danger and death:

    Hiding in a corner in New York City
    Lookin' down a forty-four in West Virginia

    Who knows the kind of stuff the Stones saw backstage over the years? Plus by now the drug rot is real, that darkness is all over Goat's Head. Plus it just sets the vibe of the album - even if it's not the best song I couldn't imagine a better way to start this album.
  18. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    Im in the middle with Mr D....not dancing with it but not skipping it. felt like it needed something more and instead just beat the riff into the ground. don't mind the lyrics or the murkiness....just the melody seemed to plod on. there a lot of songs on this album I love though
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  19. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Little Britain
    I love "Dancing With Mr D". My favourite track (with another one later on) of this oh so dreary album.
  20. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Once owned it, liked it, but loved the album cover :edthumbs:
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  21. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I like the idea of putting "Heartbreaker" first. Perhaps I criticize "D" because I don't think it's a good opener. It might have worked better in the fourth slot for me.
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  22. duggan

    duggan Forum Resident

    Shouldn't we finish Black and Blue before getting stuck into GHS?
  23. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    I would normally agree with you, but at the rate that thread is going, Guns N Roses will be done with their next album
  24. duggan

    duggan Forum Resident

    Good idea.

    DWMD was a dreadful choice for opener.
  25. RogerB

    RogerB Forum Resident

    I agree D sets the vibe and mood for the album. Not the classic opener that we had gotten use to from the Stones but it works as a mood setter.

    The live version from Brussels (posted above) totally kicks ass!!!!
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