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Old 01-12-2012, 07:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default The Rolling Stones: Let it Bleed- 1969

The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed- 1969
RMR Album Rating- 9

On “Let it Bleed,” The Rolling Stones created an album of songs built on the same foundation that they constructed on their previous album “Beggars Banquet,” but this time around they included three signature songs rather than two, and they pushed the boundaries of their new style (now referred to as sleaze rock) even further.

All the songs here (and on “Beggars Banquet”) are unquestionably classics, but there are three songs from this album that have become signature songs in their catalog, and there were only two on “Beggars Banquet” (“Sympathy for the Devil” and “Salt of the Earth”). The Signature songs here are the opener “Gimme Shelter,” the title track “Let it Bleed,” and the closing track “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” All three of these songs are hallmarks of classic rock and known note for note by most classic rock fans; therefore, I refer to them as signature songs, which is quite an accolade considering how good all the other songs on the album are. The other song that I’ll mention is “Monkey Man” because I like it just as much as the aforementioned three songs. Although I don’t think it can be considered one of The Stones’ signature songs, it is still classic in every way.

The other new element of “Let it Bleed” is its further exploration into The Rolling Stones’ signature sound, which has now become a recognized genre called sleaze rock. I have found it tough to find a direct definition of sleaze rock anywhere, but to me, the Rolling Stones forged it starting with this album’s predecessor “Beggar’s Banquet.” They really braced its structure on this release, and then they finally perfected their version of the sound on their next release “Sticky Fingers.” For me, Sleaze rock really has to have three critical elements, regardless of who is playing it. First, the music has to be very riff oriented, and the rhythm guitarist, along with the vocalist, usually create the core of the sound. Second, the lyrics and vocals have to be a bit sleazy, and they are usually hedonistically suggestive. Third and lastly, the whole package has to be delivered with swagger and attitude. I’ll mention that sleaze rock has become heavier over the years and there are now many metal sleaze rock outfits, but the inherent qualities of the sound that The Rolling Stones forged are still intact.

Most of the songs on “Let It Bleed” have the sleaze rock sound and feel, but the best examples of the sound come from the songs “Country Honk,” “Live with Me,” and “Let it Bleed,” which follow each other in sequence on the album. The riffs, lyrics, and attitude are really drenched in sleaziness. In terms of lyrics, The Rolling Stones tested the water of sexual suggestiveness on “Beggars Banquet” with songs like “Stray Cat Blues,” but they really take the suggestiveness a step further on “Let it Bleed” with these three songs. Here are some great lines from each of these sleaze rock classics.
Country Honk
“She blew my nose and then she blew my mind”

Live With Me
“Whoa, the servants they’re so helpful, dear/ The cook she is a whore/ Yes, the butler has a place for her/ Behind the pantry door/ The maid, she’s french, she’s got no sense/ She’s wild for crazy horse/And when she strips, the chauffeur flips/ The footmans eyes get crossed/ Doncha think there’s a place for us/ Right across the street/ Doncha think there’s a place for you/ In between the sheets?”

Let it Bleed
She said my breasts they will always be open/ Baby, you can rest your weary head on me/ And there will always be a space in my parking lot/ When you need a little coke and sympathy…/ Yeah, we all need someone we can cream on/ And if you want to, well you can cream on me”
I will note that some of these lyrics might not seem overly dirty and sexually suggestive compared to some current song lyrics (2011), but you have to remember that “Let It Bleed” came out in 1969, and there just wasn’t anything else this suggestive, so these songs and lyrics certainly cemented The Stones’ reputation as the rebels of rock.

My only complaint with the album is that the songs “You Got the Silver” and “Midnight Rambler” are a bit weaker than any of the rest of the tracks on the album. I actually really like “You Got the Silver,” and it is very similar to many of the songs on “Beggar’s Banquet,” yet it doesn’t resonate quite as much as the tracks from “Beggars Banquet” did. “Midnight Rambler” sounds like an Allman Brothers Band song to me, but The Stones don’t pull off that style of song as well as the Allmans do. It also has a fairly long run time, and it starts to drag a bit by the end. These are minor complaints, though, and both of these songs are still 9-star songs for me.

All in all, the album is a complete winner, and even its slightly weaker moments are easily overshadowed by its signature classic songs and its forging of the sleaze rock genre. It is also the centerpiece album of The Stones’ golden trilogy of albums, which many people consider three of the greatest classic rock albums of all time.

Post Script:
There are two versions of the song “Country Honk”: “Country Honk” and “Honky Tonk Women.” “Country Honk” was written first, and it is the version of the song that is included on this album. Keith Richards said they included “Country Honk” rather than “Honky Tonk Women” “because that’s how the song was originally written, as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers, ’30s Country song.” However, the “Honky Tonk Women” version has really become the most popular version. Richards has also said that Mick Taylor is the one responsible for the transformation of “Country Honk” into “Honky Tonk Women” by electrifying its sound and turning it into a rock song. The first verse of each song is also slightly different.
Country Tonk
“I’m sittin’ in a bar, tipplin’ a jar in Jackson”

Honk Tonk Women
“I met a gin soaked bar-room queen in Memphis”:
A bar-room queen would be referring to a bar dancer and prostitute, which further demonstrates The Stones’ perfect sleaze rock lyrics.
Both songs are awesome in their own way; it really just depends on what you’re in the mood for.

My music reivew site: RMR Music Reviews

Last edited by RMR; 01-12-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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