Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: 'Some Girls: Deluxe Edition' by The Rolling Stones

As soon as The Rolling Stones moved beyond the rudimentary blues and Chuck Berry homages of their first couple of records, they became Rock & Roll’s greatest bandwagon jumpers. Whether the times were ruled by pop, psychedelia, or the Dylan-led roots revival of the late ‘60s, The Stones were always game and almost always did it better than anyone else. After the rough transition that saw them lose their most polished guitarist, Mick Taylor, and their most competent producer, Jimmy Miller, The Stones got straight on 1978’s Some Girls. Although they’d definitely lost a good deal of true grit in the years that saw them gain the gritty Ronnie Wood but slip into a jet set lifestyle more befitting decadent royalty than decadent Rock stars, Some Girls is a solid selection of ten tracks well steeped in the late ‘70s triumvirate of New York punk, disco, and Smokey and the Bandit-style hick country. This may not be The Stones at the peak of their powers, but it is further proof that they could casually dip into the zeitgeist and come up with a bona-fide winner. Some Girls became their biggest seller and is regularly cited as the band’s last great record.

The new deluxe edition of Some Girls is genuinely fascinating because it reveals that even with all the fashionable posturing entombed on that record, The Stones never lost their love for the earthy Rock & Roll and blues that defined them in their earliest years. Appended to the original album— which is presented as a louder, though not necessarily clearer or punchier, remaster than the 1994 CD—is a bonus disc of The Stones sounding looser and more sincere than they had since 1964. Between channeling Studio 54 on “Miss You” or Johnny Rotten on “Respectable”, The Stones were jamming away on Hank Williams and Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon classics just because they dug them. Along with the covers are untailored originals such as “Claudine”, a lively Rock-a-Billy jam, the pumping blues “So Young”, a close cousin to “Dead Fowers” called “Do You Think I Really Care”, a light-hearted, slightly Latin jaunt called “Don’t Be a Stranger”. Fresh stuff.

A few of these tracks—“No Spare Parts”, “Don’t Be a Stranger”, “You Win Again”—didn’t receive vocal overdubs during the original sessions, so Mick gave them a go in 2011. Because his vocal delivery had already gotten more affected in his current style by the Some Girls sessions, his new vocals don’t stick out as much as they did in the bonus tracks on last year’s deluxe Exile on Main Street. You’d be hard pressed to detect any significant difference between Mick’s delivery on “No Spare Parts” and his work on “Do You Think I Really Care”.

At a non-sprawling twelve tracks, the Some Girls bonus disc creates the pleasing illusion of a long-lost Rolling Stones L.P. If it isn’t essential, it’s certainly a more respectable collection than Black and Blue or Dirty Work. Like Black and Blue, these numbers are more about performance than composition. Unlike Black and Blue, none of them are long-winded or half-hearted. Ultimately, the bonus disc is more of a contrast than a compliment to Some Girls, proof that real hearts still beat in the guys at a time when they seemed to be transforming into automated mimics for good.

Get the Some Girls: Deluxe Edition and the Some Girls box set
— which includes a bonus DVD, a 7”, a hardback book, and other goodies— at Amazon.com.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of Psychobabble200.blogspot.com is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.