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Old 01-10-2012, 05:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Rolling Stones: "Beggars Banquet," "Let It Bleed," & "Sticky Fingers"

In this thread, I'll post reviews of The Rolling Stones' golden era trilogy of albums that invented sleaze rock in the process.

Beggar's Banquet: 1968
Let it Bleed: 1969
Sticky Fingers: 1971

Here's some background on The Rolling Stones



Overview
The Rolling Stones released their first album in 1964, and they were a part of the original British Invasion. Like the other bands of British invasion, The Rolling Stones arrived on the scene in America wearing suits and playing mainly pop covers with some original material mixed in, and like the other bands of the era, they quickly shed their uptight facade, and acclimated to the quickly changing rock and roll climate of the mid-1960′s. By the late 60′s, The Rolling Stones had really established themselves as the rebels of rock and roll, and they really found their sound starting with their 1968 release “Beggar’s Banquet.” “Beggar’s Banquet” was the first of 4 records that many classic rock fans consider 4 of the greatest rock albums of all time. “Beggar’s Banquet” was followed by “Let It Bleed” in 1969, “Sticky Fingers” in 1971, and then “Exile on Main Street” in 1972. 1968-1972 was definitely The Rolling Stones golden era, but they continued to release relevant albums through the 70′s making them into on of the biggest rock acts in the world. Meanwhile, their peers from the original British invasion were either broken up, or releasing far less relevant material. After the 70′s, many bands from the 60′s and 70′s struggled to transition into the changing music scene of the 80′s, but the The Rolling Stones did it with ease by continuing to release albums and transforming their live shows into full blown sold out stadium tours. The Rolling Stones are still recording and touring today (2011). They released their most recent studio album “A Bigger Bang” in 2005, and it went platinum, clearly demonstrating that The Rolling Stones are still a relevant force in rock. In total, The Rolling Stones have released 29 studio albums and 12 live albums, and they have sold over 200 million albums world wide.

Genres and Styles
Rock and Roll

Original Band Line-Up
Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, harmonica, percussion
Keith Richards – guitar, backing vocals
Brian Jones – guitar, harmonica, percussion, backing vocals
Charlie Watts – drums, percussion
Bill Wyman – bass guitar, backing vocals

Golden-Era Band Line-Up
Mick Jagger – lead vocals
Keith Richards – electric guitar, six & twelve string acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Mick Taylor – electric, acoustic and slide guitar
Charlie Watts – drums
Bill Wyman – bass guitar, electric piano

Current Band Line-Up
Mick Jagger –Lead vocals, guitars, harmonica, keyboards, bass guitar, percussion
Keith Richards – guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, bass guitar
Ronnie Wood – guitars
Charlie Watts – drums, percussion
Darryl Jones- Bass Guitar
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet- 1968


The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet- 1968
RMR Album Rating- 10


Two questions…
#1: If you didn’t know the Rolling Stones were British, and you listened to this album, would you think the album sounded British?

#2: If you listened to this album and had no reference to the Stones or the album’s release date, when would you guess it was released?
In response to the first question. I would answer no. To me, “Beggars Banquet” sounds very American, and the style of the album sounds very rooted in southern American culture; it just defines what traditional American rock and roll should sound like.

In response to the second question, I would also answer no. In fact, I would have no idea when it was released. “Beggars Banquet” sounds very timeless. Nothing sounds dated. The production, music, and lyrics all sound very fresh and poignant, and it is hard to believe that it was recorded in 1968.

The style of the album is tough to describe, but (as mentioned) it sounds very inherently American. It’s a combination of classic country, riff rock, bar rock, blues, and a myriad of other styles, including sleaze rock– a style that The Rolling Stones were in the process of inventing. Every instrument sounds very real and organic, and Jagger’s singing is very twangy and laid back, which also adds to the southern American feel of the album. As an example, I love the chorus of “Dear Doctor”:
“Oh help me, please doctor, I’m damaged/ There’s a pain where there once was a heart/ It’s sleepin’, it’s a beatin’/ Can’t ya please tear it out, and preserve it/ Right there in that jar?”
I also want to highlight “Stray Cat Blues,” which is a very important song because it shows the Stones testing the water to see what they could get away with in terms of suggestive material, and it really opened the door for the content on “Let it Bleed,” and “Sticky Fingers.”
“I can see that you’re fifteen years old/ No I don’t want your I.D./ I can see you’re so far from home/ But it’s no hanging matter/ It’s no capital crime… /Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat/ Oh yeah, don’tcha scratch like that/ Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat/ Bet your mama don’t know you scream like that/ I bet your mother don’t know you can spit like that…/ You say you got a friend, that she’s wilder than you/Why don’t you bring her upstairs/ If she’s so wild then she can join in too”
Then you have the two signature songs from the album. The opener “Sympathy for the Devil” and the closer “Salt of the Earth.” Keith Richard’s riffing is at its best of the album on these two songs, as is the other instrumentation. Jagger’s lyrics and vocal delivery are also excellent. I also love the lyrical content of “Sympathy for the Devil,” as it presents the devil as the “evil” in all of us. It’s not a groundbreaking concept, but they certainly pull it off well.

To conclude this and return to my two opening points, “Beggar’s Banquet” is a timeless classic American sounding album, and it is the start of The Rolling Stones golden era of albums, which also contains “Let it Bleed” from 1969, “Sticky Fingers” from 1971, and “Exile on Main Street” from 1972.

"Dear Doctor"


"Salt of the Earth" (Live '70)


"Salt of the Earth" Featuring Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting. I look forward to seeing these reviews as they fold out!

I don't know the Stones as nearly as well as I should quite yet, but Beggars Banquet has always been my go-to album when I've wanted to listen to them. Mainly because Sympathy for the Devil got me to listen to the album many more times than most of their other albums. Each time I listen to Banquet I enjoy it a little bit more!
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Interesting. I look forward to seeing these reviews as they fold out!

I don't know the Stones as nearly as well as I should quite yet, but Beggars Banquet has always been my go-to album when I've wanted to listen to them. Mainly because Sympathy for the Devil got me to listen to the album many more times than most of their other albums. Each time I listen to Banquet I enjoy it a little bit more!
I used to be what you would call a radio Rolling Stones fan, meaning that I liked all the Stones songs that were played on the radio, but I never really got into them or bought any of their albums. Once I picked up "Beggars Banquet," I was hooked and started collecting their albums, many of which are amazing all the way through. Frankly, I think that any music fan should have at least "Beggars Banquet," "Let It Bleed," and "Sticky Fingers" in their collection. There is really not a bad song on any of those three albums, and those three albums created a genre in the process: "sleaze rock."

I'll post my review of "Let It Bleed" soon.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I basically started with their Forty Licks greatest hits because my grandma had it laying around the house and I was like "hey, why not?" Beggars Banquet was the first actual album I picked up, though.

I have everything from Aftermath to Exile except Their Satanic Majesties and Sticky Fingers. Obviously I need to pick up Sticky Fingers but I'm still finding time to give their other albums repeat listenings, so not a big loss for now. Havent seen a copy in good condition at my local record store yet either. Just junky copies with broken zippers...horrible!
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Obviously I need to pick up Sticky Fingers but I'm still finding time to give their other albums repeat listenings, so not a big loss for now. Havent seen a copy in good condition at my local record store yet either. Just junky copies with broken zippers...horrible!
I somehow scored a perfect condition Sticky Fingers with working zipper for $3 bucks at my local used record store (also got Yessongs in almost mint the same day for $3 bucks)... great day at the record shop.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have everything from Aftermath to Exile except Their Satanic Majesties and Sticky Fingers. Obviously I need to pick up Sticky Fingers but I'm still finding time to give their other albums repeat listenings, so not a big loss for now. Havent seen a copy in good condition at my local record store yet either. Just junky copies with broken zippers...horrible!
Put "Goat Head Soup" and "Some Girls" on your list as well: Also excellent.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Put "Goat Head Soup" and "Some Girls" on your list as well: Also excellent.
Some Girls was on my pick-up list but Goat Head Soup wasn't. I'll make sure to pick it up!
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good review RMR, I agree that Beggars Banquet is an incredible album. I'm myself a big Stones fan as well.
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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.



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