With Two Weeks To Go Until The “Exile On Main Street” Re-Release

We have been listening to Stones bootlegs.  To the many, many sets we have collected of shows between 1971 and 1973, spanning the era of the Exile band — the Stones with Bobby Keys and Jim Price, and the magnificent Nicky Hopkins.  So let’s call it the bootleg span from Get Your Leeds Lungs Out — British tour, pre-release of “Bitch” and “Brown Sugar” — to Happy Birthday, Nicky — the Perth sets from the 1973 tour just before Billy Preston (unfortunately) replaced Nicky for that year’s European tour.  And of course the best recording qua recording is the Leeds set from ’71, and we just realized why.

You know how when the Franco government refused to let “Sister Morphine” come out on Sticky Fingers, and rather than have it be a blank four minutes of vinyl they put on that version of Let It Rock”?  Well, that song came from the Leeds show.  How do I know?  Because it’s on the Leeds bootleg… from ’71.  It was an official recording!

The set isn’t perfect.  They haven’t yet figured out how to incorporate the horns on certain songs (“Street Fighting Man” is a botch.)  But it is an official recording, from the Rolling Stones sound truck.  And for that reason alone, it’s magnificent.  Go track it down.

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