Archive for The Rolling Stones

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

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 5, 2010 by johnbuckley100

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.

Thanks Uncut, For The Deadstring Brothers, Shaky Hands

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on March 13, 2010 by johnbuckley100

In the Uncut Magazine that serves up heaping platters of remembrance and enigmatic quotes from The Glimmer Twins about the upcoming archaeological exhibit from Exile On Main Street, they include their wonderful monthly gift of a free CD, this time comprising bands that sound like they’ve spent as much time listening to the Stones as the gang at Tulip Frenzy.  Now, some of the usual suspects are present — components of the Drive-By Truckers, Dan Baird — and yet there are some notable omissions — how can you have a compilation of Stones soundalikes without anything by Izzy Stradlin and the Ju-Ju Hounds?  There are also a number of bands/artists featured that we’d either never heard of or never taken the plunge for, e.g. Deer Tick, Israel Nash Gripka.  However, there are two stand-outs so worthy of  breaking out of the pack that we choose to feature them here:

The Deadstring Brothers

The Michigan-based Deadstring Brothers are showcased with a song called “Houston” from their 2009 album Sao Paolo, and as an intro, it’s a pretty good reminder that in the early ’70s, the Stones were as much an influence on Southern Rock as on the culture at large.  I mean, “Houston” could as easily be featured on a Lynyrd Skynyrd homage.  However, the title track sounds like what might have happened if Oscar-award winner Ryan Bingham had stumbled onto the set of Performance, as it has almost perfect Ry Cooder-Keef jamming chops underneath a scratchy-voiced, hair-chested vocal.  And the whole album stakes out that region between Dallas, Texas and the Butter Queen and Mick’s estate with the Rolling Stones Mobile Truck parked out front to record Sticky Fingers. Maybe throw in Big Pink in Woodstock for a full sense of the geography they cover. What a revelation these guys are!  Nicky Hopkins has clearly come back from the dead to play the piano pieces, and is that Merry Clayton and Kathi McDonald on the backup vocals?  Sao Paolo should have been on everyone’s Top Ten list from 2009, and here’s the good news: these guys are prolific, and promise more stuff in 2010.

The Shaky Hands

This Portland, Oregon combo come out of a different Stones tradition, and interestingly enough given their rainy surroundings, it’s not the one where they’re woodshedding in Redlands with John Phillips and Marianne Faithful’s Milky Way bar.  On their 2009 release Let It Die, The Shaky Hands prove they come more out of the pop-anthemic “Start Me Up” school of Stones classicism. Remember how great that first Kings Of Leon album sounded?  You’ll love these guys: tight and twisted three-chord rockers with throbbing beats and a lead guitarist who probably thinks Steve Cropper’s guitar solos had too many notes in ’em.

Thank you Uncut for turning us on to these two bands in particular.

In Preparation For The Re-Release of “Exile On Main Street”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 12, 2010 by johnbuckley100

News that the Rolling Stones would in April release a remastered version of Exile On Main Street, complete with three songs never before released, is an event the anticipation of which led Tulip Frenzy to reach for the top shelf in the library. Around these parts, we don’t have a headful of snow, but we have roads full of it, which makes getting out of the cabin treacherous, and encourages contemplation of deep thoughts, to wit, “Is Exile the Stones’ greatest album?  Or perhaps more apt, is the making of Exile, followed by the Stones ’72 tour, the greatest of rock myths, up there with the motorcycle-shredded Dylan recording The Basement Tapes, or the Beatles, having bickered their way through Let It Be, deciding to end fittingly with Abbey Road.”

Having pondered it, we think the answer to both questions may be yes.

We have before us Bufffalo Tom  frontman Bill Janovitz’ superb book, a track by track analysis in the 33 1/3d series entitled, natch, Exile On Main Street. We have Robert Greenfield’s 2006 book, Exile On Main Street: A Season In Hell With The Rolling Stones, as well as his ’72 tour classic, STP. We finally got our hands on both the DVDs of  Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones, and Robert Frank’s tour film, C*cksucker’s Blues. Like we said, it’s been a long few weeks with few outlets.  We do not have Dominique Tarle’s book of photos, Exiles, because that goes for about $4k, and we admit we didn’t go back to the bible — Stanley Booth.  But still.

Greenfield’s book on the making of Exile, published many years after the fact, does a superb job of creating the mise en scene, as he actually was, for a time, at Nellcote, Keith Richards’ tax-exiled home in Villefranche-sur-Mer in the South of France — the former Nazi headquarters, a sprawling villa with a basement suitable of being remade into a recording studio, though as “Ventilator Blues” would illustrate, not much air.  Thirty-five years after the fact, years after being approved by Keith to do the definitive Rolling Stone Magazine interview and being invited on as a journalist member of the ’72 Stones Touring Party (STP), Greenfield has no reason to cover up Keith’s junkie behavior, and he lays it out in full.  Judging from his book, it is a miracle Exile was recorded, given the dysfunction of the band — Mick freshly married to Bianca, who was pregnant and wanted to stay in Paris, well away from the band and the record they had to record; Keith and Anita Pallenberg getting deeper and deeper into smack; virtually everyone else, save Charlie and Bill, falling down the junkie rabbit hole.  Amazing the record ever got made.

What Greenfield’s book lacks is the same thing his Stones tour book lacked: a sense, or even an acknowledgement, of the primacy of the bloody music.  (Compare STP to Michael Lydon’s brilliant, majestic Stones ’69 tour chapter in his great book Rock Folk. Lydon could cover the wackiness of a Stones tour AND serve as a great rock critic, groking on the music; Greenfield can paint a picture of what went down in the Playboy Mansion when the Stones stayed there, but we don’t get a real sense of just how magnificent the Stones were when they played that same night in Chicago.) In his book on the recording of Exile, we know who was sleeping with whom, we learn the really sad story of Gram Parsons hanging with Keith and partying with him, and then being banished because when he was around, all they did was play guitar in the garden and shoot smack.  But we don’t get what we really need, which was a view of how, exactly, was “Tumbling Dice” recorded, what happened the night they finally got “All Down The Line” in the can, etc.

Martin Elliott’s The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions is, of course, even more useless, with hilarious sentences like this: “The problems of recording in a family situation at the villa were evident.  Tempers became frayed, the band being particularly annoyed when Keith Richards would disappear for hours as he put his son, Marlon, to bed.  He would reappear in the early hours ready to record until dawn.”  Isn’t that something?

Bill Janovitz does the far better job of just listening to music and telling us what he hears.  If you put together his insights as a musician with some of the interviews with Andy Johns and others over how the album was actually made, you do get a sense of the prodigiousness of Keith’s drive to get what he was hearing in his junkie-addled head onto the vinyl that emerged in May 1972.  Janowitz has a pretty fascinating point of view that many of songs revolve not around Mick writing about some woman, but about the Mick-Keith relationship, and I admit, I will never again listen to “Soul Survivor” without thinking of Jagger’s point of view that his “partner in crime” was drowning in smack.

Of course, it’s all there in the music, that clotted sound, that turgid flow.  Whole genres emerged from Exile: Alt.country came from the 2nd side, for example, and the classic Stones sound that launched a thousand bands sprang from the 4th side.

Watching Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones is a reminder that, on the ’72 tour, the Stones reached the high water mark, not just for themselves, but maybe for the art form: musically, and in terms of the tour mythos, and certainly in terms of a single band’s tour having an impact on the culture at large.  I remember what it was like to be going to the Stones’ concerts that summer: you felt as if you were entering the most important room in the world.  And of course it was.

We await the remastering of Exile On Main Street.  Spring can’t arrive soon enough.

The Rolling Stones, Courtesy of SnagFilms

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 29, 2010 by johnbuckley100
Our friends at SnagFilms have just posted a five-part documentary on the Stones. We haven’t seen it all, but did dig the footage from the ’72 tour, and Villefranche-Sur-Mer, where Exile On Main Street was recorded.  Good Lord, is that really Anita Pallenberg, circa 2006?  Check out Just For The Record – Part 2, which shows the Stones sucking in the ’70s. Thanks, Snag!

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New Songs From “Exile On Main Street”?

Posted in Music with tags , on January 16, 2010 by johnbuckley100

Uncut reveals that the remastered version of  the Rolling Stones masterpiece Exile On Main Street will be released on April 12th.  But if that information sets the heart beating fast, consider this:  It will include three previously unreleased songs.  Now, neither “Following The River,” “Plunder My Soul,” nor “Sophia Loren” show up in Martin Elliott’s The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions,” and we don’t seem to have them on any of the bootlegs stored deep in the secure vaults of Tulip Frenzy World HQ.  So this is a very exciting announcement, and we’ve but 90 days or so until we see if this is right.

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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