Archive for Get Yer Ya-Yas Out

The Velvet Underground As The Counter History Of Rock’n’Roll

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 28, 2014 by johnbuckley100

The 45th Anniversary edition of The Velvet Underground was released last week, and along with various mixes of the band’s great third album, there is a two-cd live set from shows taped, in remarkably clear four-track stereo, at San Francisco’s The Matrix over the 26th and 27th of November, 1969.

If those dates ring a bell, you clearly are a fan of rock history, for surely you realize the 27th was the first night of the Rolling Stones’ shows at Madison Square Garden, from which came both the concert scenes captured by the Maysles in Gimme Shelter and likely the greatest live album ever, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!

Think of it: in New York, The Rolling Stones were playing sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, on a tour that washed away the detritus of ’60’s psychedelia; The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World playing Chuck Berry songs alongside “Midnight Rambler” and “Stray Cat Blues.”  And in San Francisco, before maybe 200 people, the Velvets were playing a 37-minute version of “Sister Ray” and an early version of “Sweet Jane.”  And 45 years later, we realize that both bands, playing on the same evening, were laying down the epochal music that would influence every subsequent band that we love, that would, each in their own way, change our life, which of course was saved by rock’n’roll, if not “Rock And Roll.”

We already knew that The Velvet Underground & Nico was released the same day as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The notion that the Velvets were opening with “I’m Waiting For the Man” maybe three or four hours after the Stones, on the East Coast, were opening their set with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” reveals the Velvet Underground to be the perfect alternative act to the mainstream of ’60’s music, the perfect counterpoint to the conventional counterculture, their greatness tied up not simply in their music, but symbolically in in their obscurity, their swimming far from the established sea lanes of popular culture.

If you can, you really should buy the expensive “45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition,” of The Velvet Underground, even if it means a second job.  Easy for us to say, we know.  We do not feel the slightest compunction about recommending this extravagance, this extravaganza.  If you wish to know where any of our favorite bands come from, it’s here: both Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers captured in “What Goes On,” Galaxie 500 contained in the included version of “Ride Into The Sun,” The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Jesus and Mary Chain contained within it all.  It’s all worth it, especially when you think of The Velvet Undeground as the counter history of rock’n’roll.

Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert: 40th Anniversary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 4, 2009 by johnbuckley100

The only time we’d ever heard “Under My Thumb” played by the Stones on the ’69 tour, of course, was that scene in Gimme Shelter just before Meredith Hunter was murdered about 30 rows back from the Altamont stage.  To now hear it liver than we will ever be from the MSG stage that Thanksgiving weekend, aw man, it sounds alright.  As Mick would say, Can you dig it?

In ’69, the Stones came back from studio exile and a bad psychedelic album, followed by maybe their greatest album, Beggars Banquet, and certainly in “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” their greatest single.  They hadn’t even released Let It Bleed the week they played Madison Square Garden, if I have my dates right.  They played two sets a night, like they were a bar band back in Richmond! Strutting back on stage with all the rules changed — no more girls screaming, the band able to actually hear themselves — they were, sure, the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world, and certainly the tightest.

Being able now to hear not only “Under My Thumb” — the beat languorous, the riff sweetly filagreed by Keith — but also the way it swept into a medley with “I’m Free,” is not something I’ll get out of my head anytime soon.  I mean after all, having heard it in Gimme Shelter, as brief as it was, as crappy as they were playing on that cold night in Sears Point, California as mayhem was unleashed, I’ve never forgotten it.  And now we’re free to hear that riff any old time.

Getting to hear “Prodigal Son” live — I don’t care about “You Gotta Move,” never have — brings onstage that cottage party, mushrooms and acoustic guitars sensibility that Beggar Banquet was steeped in.

The revelation here, if there is one, is “Satisfaction.”  By the ’72 tour — when I finally got to see them — they performed it as a medley with “Uptight/Outtasite”, with Stevie Wonder’s horns and singers integrated into the band.  It was a novelty, and so “Satisfaction” has been for all those tours since.  But Heavens, the version here is stinging, with the twin guitar assaults by Keith and Mick Taylor.

I have always thought  that Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out was the greatest live album of its era, with Live at Leeds the only competition.  In my platonic dreams, the Stones would release Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones from the vaults, and we’d see how in ’72, they were even better — Nicky Hopkins on piano, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns, and Mick Taylor’s guitar arrangements reaching a unique lyricism, with Keith not yet showing he couldn’t hit a curve.

But if you’re thinking of perfection, adding these five songs to what we’ve always known as Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out is pretty damn fine.  Plus, the packaging and remastering’s pretty nice, too.


Update: So the DVD, with Maysle Brothers footage, is worth the price of the box set.  Did I forget that Jimi Hendrix was backstage talking with Keith, playing Keith’s Gibson with Mick Taylor?  It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gimme Shelter. For historical purposes, we also see Jo Berg telling Mick (as he strips off his shirt) that a certain someone is coming “up from the country” the next day to see the show.  Has to have been Bob Dylan, upstate in Woodstock… And of course there’s Janis Joplin as they show the band’s incredible version of “Satisfaction.”

Do The Rolling Stones Finally Get It?

Posted in Music with tags , , on October 9, 2009 by johnbuckley100

On November 3rd, not quite but approximately the 40th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ epic three-night Thanksgiving Weekend stint at Madison Square Garden in New York, the former “greatest rock’n’roll band in the world” is releasing a big box set commemorating the occasion.  What’s notable is that, for the first time, the Stones are digging into the vault and releasing live material we haven’t heard before.*

Yes, they pad the box set with a CD of Ike and Tina Turner and BB King’s performances as warm-up acts — where’s Terry Reid? — but the big news is this box set has the Stones performing “Under My Thumb” and “I’m Free,” as well as “You Gotta Move” and “Prodigal Son.”  Seems like a mighty big effort, and a big expense, just to get one’s paws on those four songs, but it’s the precedent that matters.  Other than on the great bootleg Liver Than You’ll Ever Be, and in snippets from Gimme Shelter, we haven’t heard these songs from this tour (‘less you were there.)

My theory on why the Stones have never dipped into their back live catalogue — most especially the soundtrack to the 1972 tour’s concert film Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones — is because decades after the Stones have had anything memorable to say, and years after they were anywhere close to being “the greatest” anything other than maybe moneymakers, they don’t want people to compare their current performances to the old ones.  Let’s face it, the moment Mick Taylor walked out the door and Ron Wood stumbled in, it was over as far as the Stones’ greatness on stage was concerned.  So they suppress the back catalogue of live shows.

They are the opposite of Bob Dylan, in every way.  Dylan is as vital in this decade as as he was in the 1960s, and in my opinion, more vital than he was in the ’70s and ’80s.  He keeps giving us these gifts in The Bootleg Series of shows and sessions we never thought would see the light of day.  He operates with vitality in the present tense and astonishes us with these remnants.  The Stones are parsimonious with their back catalogue and are just going through the motions as a “band” today. (It’s Mick, Keith, and Charlie, affixed to Ron Wood, who I still wish could be traded back to The Faces for a plectrum and a drum kit to be named later.)

So breaking into the vault for the four songs from 1969, when the Stones shook the rust off and officially ended the ’60s playing Chuck Berry as well as the greatest rock songs of all time — “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Street Fighting Man,” and a list too long to mention here– to audiences that couldn’t believe their good fortune, is a real occasion.

It’s a good move.   Please, sir, may I have more?

* Yeah, I know they put out a “rarities” album a year or two back, which did include the version of “Let It Rock” they played in the early ’70s, but we already had that from the Spanish version of Sticky Fingers as the substitute for the banned “Sister Morphine.”  All the other live songs came from the time following Moment It All Went Downhill — Ron Wood’s arrival.

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