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Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Well the Stones have a new record out, and the usual questions are being asked, and the usual derision is being handed out to certain records that have been time and again accused of being less than good, most notably, Black and Blue. Stop it, now. How many Rolling Stones albums have they made? Let's see.

England's Newest Hitmakers
12 x 5

The Rolling Stones, Now!
Out Of Our Heads
December's Children (And Everybody's)

Between The Buttons
Their Satanic Majesties Request

Beggars Banquet

Let It Bleed

Sticky Fingers
Exile On Main Street
Goat's Head Soup
It's Only Rock'n'roll

Black And Blue

Some Girls

Emotional Rescue

Tattoo You


Dirty Work
Steel Wheels

Voodoo Lounge
Bridges To Babylon

And now the new one, A Bigger Bang. That's 24 US releases, not counting live albums, ep's, and compilations. Multiply by ten gives you 240 songs. Thta's alot of music. Can you expect them to release Exile after Exile? Considering what was going on in the Stones camp during Black and Blue the only surprising thing is that it got made at all. I think it's a damn good record and I'm tired of hearing how it's 'unfinished' or 'weak'. Hand of Fate. God damn that song rocks. Lyrically I think it's one of Mick's best.

The hand of fate is on me now
It pick me up and knock me down
I'm on the run, I'm prison bound
The hand of fate is heavy now
I killed a man, I'm highway bound
The wheel of fortune keeps turning round
Turning round, turning round
I should have known it was a one horse town

My sweet girl was once his wife
He had papers the judge had signed
The wind blew hard, it was stormy night
He shot me once, but I shot him twice
The hand of fate is on me now
It pick me up and it kicked me right down
Kicked me right down
Kicked me right down

Killer stuff. Cherry Oh Baby is great. I even like the silly Billy Preston inspired vamp Melody. Sorry guys, this one's good. Go knock on Emotional Rescue or Dirty Work, but not too much, there's gold in them hills as well.

I knew you would jump on the Black N Blue thing. I had to cut my Trickster comment short (if you can believe that), but wanted to add that you were my main source of the more obscure Stones tracks for the earlier records and you'd be correcting me shortly I'm sure. I thought I might make it up to you on the "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" pick. Like B&B for you, I LIKE It's Only Rock n Roll. I have B&B, but for some reason don't get a chance to listen to it that often. I'll bring it with me on the plane Friday.
"Paying $100 to watch the Stones on a big screen TV in a football stadium." Hmmmmm...

What do yuou guys think about the size of the show (not to mention the size of the corporate sponsorships)? Do you think it's still (really) about the music?

I ask this not to be critical, but to get the thoughts of long time Stones fans who are also somewhat disdainful of the current state of the music business (big corporations pushing the same blandness).

Fair questions, my answers...

Rock bands tour to make money. Anybody that denies this is lying. They get to keep more of the margin from touring vs. record sales as we all know. Unless you're a one-person act, touring for a popular band that can fill stadiums is immensely expensive. If you can get sponsors to pick up the tab, more power to ya. I have no problem with that at all. As a matter of fact, until Jason mentioned it in his blog I really had no idea who was sponsoring the tour, or if it was being sponsored at all.

The size of the venue... I don't really see it as something that can be helped from a logistical perspective. Sub The Floyd for The Stones and ask yourself whether you'd go see them at Shea Stadium. For me, I would. Listening to either of these bands would be worth it. Of course, there is a breaking point from a cost factor. Would I go see/hear them from the third deck at Shea for $250? Probably not. $150? $75? You get my point. As a die hard fan I'd pay a lot to see them in a smaller venue, but my chances are reduced do to ticket demand and the Stones don't have enough days in a year to play all small venues in as many cites they will be visiting, they are senior citizens after all.

As someone who has seen the Stones only in their post masterpiece lives and only in the big outdoor sports areas, the only way to have made it more spectacular was to have been closer to the stage, but both shows were a most excellent experience to me and worth the coin (I think they were $75 for the Steel Wheels Tour, I passed on the $300 seats for their show here in Atlanta this time around, electing to spend the $600 to come hang out with you guys and see my inlaws over the Labor Day week(end)).

The Stones are also one of the few bands that, while getting taken to the cleaners early in their career, figured out how the industry was shafting them, started the move of artists fighting to gain control of their catalog, and retain a more equitable share of their tour profits. They pioneered what is now commonplace in the industry: owning your own label and retaining publishing rights to your music (at least for all their post London recordings).

The last time I saw the Stones on the tube was the MSG show on HBO. They sounded fantastic. They played a great blend of their staples and more “fans only” numbers from their extensive catalog. They also looked like they were having a fuckin' ball. Maybe it's the dollar signs, maybe it's the love of their craft, maybe a little of both. If I were sitting front row center watching Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ron, Bobby Keys, and Chuck Lovell rip through an on the nail rendition of "Brown Sugar", it wouldn't matter to me either way.

See ya soon…
I'll admit that Black and Blue sounds better in retrospect than it did at the time (when Keith called it an audition tape for the new guitar player). But if "Hand of Fate" represents a great Jagger lyric then it just goes to prove my belief that no greater band ever got by with worse lyrics. Mick Jagger could sing "I Enjoy Being A Girl," w/ Keith on high harmony and it would sound great, but songcraft ain't their strong suit, especially in Jagger's case.

Five or six genius classic albums, and two lifetimes worth of indespensible singles are nothing to sneeze at. But let's not overrate the drivel or forgive them their most user-unfriendly sins just because they're The Stones.

$250 for view-obstructed seats behind the stage sold as "on stage seating," is just cynical avarice. Few other touring acts could get away with that. No other doing act would actually try to do it.

And "Suck on the Juglar" DOESN'T sound any better in retrospect.
The Stones can, and will, do whatever they want. We all wish we had that kind of clout.
Black and Blue is great

It is one of my all time favor records to take a shower to and that's saying something.

Hand of Fate in particular is great

my favorite track off of the new record, Rain Fall Down, sounds like it was recorded at the Black and Blue sessions.

and that's a good thing!
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