Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Again, We Will Drink From the Lovin'Cup

From the fine people at Glorious Noise comes news that the legendary Rolling Stones album Exile On Main Street, will be completely reissued in May of this year.
With no plans to tour, (thank God, give Charlie a break..he's 68..his wrists are so brittle they could break during that short roll at the beginning of "Hang Fire"....and Ronny Rehab needs to work on his uppercut, Keef has coconuts to find and Mick has money to dole out to ex- wives and children)...

"The Stones reportedly plan to release a reissue of the 1972 album "Exile On Main Street" in May. The reissue is expected to contain a number of unreleased songs including "Plunder My Soul," "Following The River" and "Sophia Loren."

Man, this is great news. EOMS is by far the best Stones album, put out smack dab(pun intended) in the middle of their great 6 album run in 1972. It is almost cliche to say how "classic" this album is at this point, but it seems critics and many fans agree..Exile was the pinnacle ...a gritty blend of smoky basement rock,blues,gospel and soul bringing up roots and shining through the darkness that hovered over the sessions.  Patched together at first from outtakes and ideas dating as far back as 1968, recording started in a rented mansion in Nellcote, France where the Glimmer twins and Co. had escaped to from Britain to avoid being taxed to death. The sessions started rough, with Mick's attendance being spotty and because of the very new and unpleasant distractions of Keith's heroin abuse and a bevvy of hangers- on(including Gram Parsons). Overdubs and vocals were added to many songs when the Stones reconvened in LA, where Mick finally showed up and steered the ship right. Here is a brief feel for the sessions in both locations(provided by Wikipedia).....


Recording began in earnest sometime near the middle of June. Bassist Bill Wyman recalls the band working all night, every night, from eight in the evening until three the following morning for the rest of the month. Wyman said of the times, "...not everyone turned up every night. This was, for me, one of the major frustrations of this whole period. For our previous two albums we had worked well and listened to producer Jimmy Miller. At Nellcote, things were very different and it took me a while to understand why..." By this time Richards had begun a daily habit of using heroin. Thousands of dollars of heroin flowed through the mansion each week in addition to a contingent of visitors that included the likes of William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern,Gram Parsons, and Marshall Chess (who was running the Stones' new label). Parsons was asked to leave Nellcôte in early July 1971, the result of both his obnoxious behaviour and an attempt by Richards to clean the house of drug users as the result of pressure from the French police.
Richards' steadily-growing addiction began to inhibit him from attending the sessions ongoing in his basement, while Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman were often unable to attend sessions for other reasons. This often left the band in the position of having to record in altered forms without every member present. A notable instance was the recording of one of Richards' most famous songs, "Happy". Recorded in the basement, Richards said in 1982, "'Happy' was something I did because I was for one time EARLY for a session. There was Bobby Keys and Jimmy Miller... We had nothing to do and had suddenly picked up the guitar and played this riff. So we cut it and it's the record, it's the same. We cut the original track with a baritone sax, a guitar and Jimmy Miller on drums. And the rest of it is built up over that track. It was just an afternoon jam that everybody said, 'Wow, yeah, work on it'".
The basic band for the Nellcôte sessions is believed to have consisted of Richards, Bobby Keys, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts, Miller (a skilled drummer in his own right who covered for an absentee Watts on the aforementioned "Happy" and "Shine a Light"), and Jagger when he was available. Wyman did not like the ambience of the Richards' villa and sat out many of the French sessions. As Wyman appeared on only eight songs of the released album, the other bass parts were played by Taylor, Richards, and, on four tracks, upright bassist Bill Plummer. Wyman noted in his memoir Stone Alone that there was a clear dichotomy between the band members who freely indulged in drugs (Richards, Miller, Keys, Taylor, engineer Andy Johns and those of whom abstained to varying degrees (Wyman, Watts, and Jagger)

Los Angeles(Sunset Sound Recorders Studios)

Additional basic tracks (most probably only "Rip this Joint", "Shake Your Hips", "Casino Boogie", "Happy", "Rocks Off", "Turd on the Run", and "Ventilator Blues") were begun in the basement of Nellcôte and taken to Sunset Sound Recorders in LA where numerous overdubs (all piano and keyboard parts, all lead and backing vocals, all guitar and bass overdubs) were added during sessions that meandered from December 1971 until May 1972. Some tracks (such as "Torn and Frayed" and "Loving Cup") were freshly recorded in Los Angeles. Although Jagger (who had recently wed Bianca) was frequently missing from Nellcôte, he immediately took charge during the second stage of recording in Los Angeles, arranging for keyboardistsBilly Preston and Dr. John and the cream of the city's session backup vocalists to record layers of overdubs.The final gospel-inflected arrangements of "Tumbling Dice", "Loving Cup", "Let It Loose" and "Shine a Light" were inspired by Jagger and Preston's visit to a local evangelical church.
The elongated recording sessions and differing methodologies on the part of Jagger and Richards reflected the growing disparity in their personal lives During the making of the album, Jagger had married, which was followed by the birth of their only child, Jade, in October 1971. Richards was firmly ensconced with partner Anita Pallenberg, yet both were in the throes of heroin addiction which Richards would not overcome until the turn of the decade. Even though the album is often described as being Richards' finest moment, as Exile is often thought to reflect his vision for a raw, rootsy rock sound, Jagger was already expressing his boredom with rock and roll in several interviews at the time of the album's release.With Richards largely beholden to heroin, the group's subsequent 1970s releases—directed largely by Jagger—would experiment in varying degrees with other musical genres, moving away from the thoroughly roots-based sound of Exile On Main Street.

Nuff Said. I'm going to camp out in my basement with some French bread and cigarrettes(smoke machine) strum an acoustic while sleep deprived(feigning being nodded out), mumbling incoherently to a fake Anita or Mick while listening to Mahalia Jackson, the Memphis Horns, and Leadbelly to set the mood until May.

1 comment:

  1. I went to see Steve Earle in a little club north of Toronto a few years ago and he did "Sweet Virginia" as part of a mini encore set. I had to tell the girl that I went with that it was a Stones tune.

    A few drinks, a smoke and this LP takes care of everything else. Gram really pushed Keith toward some great stuff (not just the "cotton candy" heroin they were both blissed out on during that period)