Stones’ “Plundered My Soul” Out

Have you ever had a dream where a deceased loved one is alive and talking to you?  That’s a little bit what it’s like to hear the glorious “Plundered My Soul,” out this week as a teaser from the forthcoming Rolling Stones reissue of Exile On Main Street. Hearing Keith Richards singing, not croaking, backup vocals, not to mention Nicky Hopkins on piano, is surreal — and wonderful.  The song has a definite “Tumbling Dice” vibe, but is no augmented fragment — from the great and fully formed lyrics to the performance by seemingly the whole Exile-era band, this feels steeped in the dank basement musk of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Just where did this song fit in the recording sessions that made up the Exile-era?  We know that tracks for “Stop Breaking Down” were recorded as early as 1970 in Olympic Studios in London, and that the backup vocals for “Tumbling Dice” and “All Down The Line,” for example, were recorded in the Spring of ’72 in LA.  Sounds here like aspects of the background vocals — Mick singing falsetto, for example, which he didn’t really begin to do in earnest til later in the ’70s — were probably what they added most recently in the studio.  Moreover, there’s a trace of an organ in the background, which does make one wonder whether Billy Preston might be in there somewhere.

But you can’t bring Nicky Hopkins into the studio these days; he’s gone to the same place where Keith’s high-end vocals went.  It sounds like the lead is Keith, not Mick Taylor, but I could be wrong.

This feels a little bit like that first time you heard “Tumbling Dice” blaring from a dorm room window in May ’72.  A thrill, and a tonic to the soul.

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