Thursday, December 31, 2009

CD Odyssey Disc 73: The Rolling Stones

For the next disc, I have decided to put a new CD back in the mix. Santa was good to me and put some music in my stocking.

I had asked Santa for some Dick Dale surfer guitar, and was surprised to find the Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers". That's OK though - Dick Dale was something I might not have bought, but wanted to hear. The Stones fit that bill perfectly as well. Santa knows me better than I know myself!

So, without further ado...

Disc 73 is...Sticky Fingers

Artist: The Rolling Stones

Year of Release: 1971

How I Came To Know It: I'v known the Stones all my life, and I used to own the ubiquitous "Hot Rocks" on tape. This album was bought for me by Sheila/Santa. Apart from the two "Hot Rocks" tracks (Brown Sugar and Wild Horses), I didn't know it.

How It Stacks Up: The Rolling Stones have 25 studio albums. I have only 1 (this one). Of the one I have, this one is the best. I have a feeling it will stack up well if I had more, but who knows?

Rating: 4 stars.

I wasn't sure how I was going to like this album on Christmas morning, but immediately decided to dive in and see how it went. Since then, I've listened to it five times in five days (twice yesterday). I have not been disappointed.

Also, since my last couple reviews have taken the piss out of Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, I think a third band from that era is in order.

I know next to nothing about the Stones, apart from the fact that Keith Richards is a member of the living dead - likely a lich, but as he ages I think maybe a mummy. My buddy Casey is a huge fan, and has kept the pilot-light of my interest burning for years. Thanks, Casey!

Back to the album - which is a great one. This record starts with the very recognizable "Brown Sugar". This is a good song, but hardly my favourite on the album.

I'll skip all the obvious stuff here - except to quickly point out that the Stones are a very tight band, that can obviously play their asses off. In particular, I don't think I've ever appreciated Keith Richards' guitar until now. It is like I've listened to the Stones a thousand times but only truly heard them now. The headphones likely helped on that account (I listened while painting the evil cleric - coming soon!).

A couple things on this album stick out (apart from the trouser snake on the album cover).

Firstly, I really enjoy the blues-rock sound which is the natural pocket of the rolling stones. In particular "Bitch" is a sweet track for this, and I think my favourite on the album.

Secondly, I like the range of the music - something I didn't fully expect, having been fed only anthologies and hits most of my life. In particular, the use of strings (very noticeable on "Moonlight Mile") and the ability of Richards to switch from blues-rock to country-rock on tracks like "Dead Flowers" and the aforementioned "Moonlight Mile". I should've expected this, as one of my favourite Stones' tracks is "Far Away Eyes", but I didn't realize the sound was so prevalent.

I also really dug the otherworldly sound on "Sister Morphine", which reminded me a bit of Steve Earle's "CCKMP" which I reviewed as part of his "I Feel Alright" album back on July 30th. Like that song, "Sister Morphine" captures the numbness of the drug addict in the throws of addiction.

Lastly, what really hit me was that the Stones play with emotion. They understand that rock and roll should not just be heard, it should be felt. Frankly, hearing it is what makes me realize what I've been missing a little bit in the Beatles review for Rubber Soul recently posted.

In short, I was pleasantly surprised. This is my first Stones album, but it won't be my last.

Best tracks: Wild Horses, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Bitch, Sister Morphine, Moonlight Mile.


Joel C. said...

If you're looking for a recommendation for a subsequent purchase, I've recently (over the past year) been enjoying 'Let It Bleed' and 'Exile on Main St'. They're both excellent in their own way...

'Bleed' for the quality of the singles...and 'Exile' as a straight ahead bluesy rock album. It is one of the few double albums I own that wouldn't be better served by trimming the fat and making one stellar album (unlike Use Your Illusions 1&2)

All that being said...I am not a long time Stones fan...just felt like blabbing.

priestfan said...

This one is even better on vinyl.
Not only do you get the fuzzy sound quality, but the zipper on the fly actually opens. I always face it towards an album I found on the side of the road as it does some damage.