Sunday, 14 May 2017

"Some Girls: Deluxe Edition 2CD Version" by THE ROLLING STONES (November 2011 USA Universal Republic Records 2CD Reissue) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Party Like We Used To..."

Recorded in Paris in October 1977 and March 1978 but rooted in the insanity of a financially crumbling New York City over 3500 miles away - the Stones embraced Punk like they were born to the manor - albeit a more grotty manor than the ones they were used in tax exile. "Some Girls" rocked – two fingers up to everything – ludicrously un-PC – so Rolling Stones – and I loved it.

But for me this November 2011 Universal Republic Records 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' is a mixed bag of great music and truly lacklustre presentation (why is any fan of The Stones surprised by this). Here are the far away eyes, beasts of burden and respectable reconstruction details...

USA released 21 November 2011 - "Some Girls: Deluxe Edition 2CD US Version" by THE ROLLING STONES on Universal Republic Records B0016235-02 (Barcode 602527840550) is a 2CD Reissue with 12 New Tracks on Disc 2 that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 - "Some Girls" (40:44 minutes):
1. Miss You [Side 1]
2. When The Whip Comes Down
3. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
4. Some Girls
5. Lies
6. Far Away Eyes [Side 2]
7. Respectable
8. Before They Make Me Run
9. Beast Of Burden
10. Shattered
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 14th British (16th American) album "Some Girls" - released 19 May 1978 in the UK on Rolling Stones Records CUN 39108 and the same day in the USA on Rolling Stones Records TP 39108. Produced by THE GLIMMER TWINS - it peaked at No. 2 in the UK and No. 1 in the USA. All songs written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards except "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" which is a cover version of a Temptations song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.

MICK JAGGER - Lead and Backing Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
KEITH RICHARDS - Lead Guitars, Keyboards, Bass and Backing Vocals
RON WOOD - Lead Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar (Tracks 2, 6 and 10) and Backing Vocals

SUGAR BLUE (James Whiting) - Harmonica on Tracks 1 and 4
IAN McLAGAN - Piano on Track 1 and Organ on Track 3
MEL COLLINS - Saxophone on Track 1

Disc 2 - Bonus Material (41:30 minutes):
1. Claudine
2. So Young
3. Do You Think I Really Care
4. When You're Gone
5. No Spare Parts
6. Don't Be A Stranger
7. We Had It All
8. Tallahassee Lassie
9. I Love You Too Much
10. Keep Up Blues
11. You Win Again
12. Petrol Blues

Disc 2 Guests:
IAN STEWART – Piano on Tracks 1, 2, 3, 8 and 11
CHUCK LEAVALL – Piano Solo on Track 2
SUGAR BLUE (James Whiting) - Harmonica on Tracks 1, 4 and 7
DON WAS – Bass on Track 6
MATT CLIFFORD – Percussion on Track 6
JOHN FOGERTY and DON WAS – Handclaps on Track 8
All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards except for "We Had It All" - written by Troy Seals and Donnie Fritts (a Waylon Jennings cover from 1973) and "Tallahassee Lassie" and "You Win Again" which are Freddie Cannon and Hank Williams cover versions.

A word about the original artwork versus this reissue - I've 14 vinyl copies of the British "Some Girls" album bought across the decades in a failed attempt to get all the different colour-coded sleeves in the one place. In fact I'm certain no one seems to know the truth about how many different sleeves there is for this 1978 LP (six, seven, eight who knows?). Perpetuated by the hardback book in the ludicrously overpriced Super Deluxe Edition - the common consensus is that there are six variants - five of the original Peter Corriston 'Rolling Stones As Drag Queens' die-cut sleeves and a further sixth 'Pardon Our Appearance – Cover Under Reconstruction' second-pressing variant because the offending originals had to be withdrawn due to legal pressure.

As ever our entirely angelic celestial-choir of misogynistic British ne're-do-wells had deliberately courted controversy with their saucy artwork and less than subtle songmanship - especially on the truly incendiary lyrics to the title track that names the sexual peccadillos of women from all sorts of racial backgrounds (black ladies come out best although Michael may not have enough Huntley's Jam for them). So why the legal recall - under the lurid adverts for strapless bras with elasticised inner pockets, perma-styled and care-free wigs (boy cuts an option) were die-cut holes on the front sleeve under which could be seen smiling mugshots of very famous ladies. But Raquel Welch, Lucille Ball, Farah Fawcett-Majors and the estates of Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe were all amongst the celebrities who didn't dig the artistic joke and filed against their images being used on what was then perceived as being a platter of schoolboy sexism railed loudly against by upstanding society types like the Reverend Jesse Jackson. American artist Peter Corriston had done Led Zeppelin's magnificent "Physical Graffiti" double-album die-cut sleeve in 1975 and would do the next three Stones albums too - "Emotional Rescue", "Tattoo You" and "Undercover".

I mention the sleeve's history because this particularly gutless American-based Deluxe Edition uses the 'Under Reconstruction' reissue artwork instead of the different coloured originals – a sanitised image that is about as shocking and appealing as a smelly sock in a University Student’s laundry basket. All four of the gatefold flaps on the inside of the 2CD set are the same – insanely dull snippets and close-ups of the reconstructed artwork that show little or no imagination. So what do you get? There are a couple of new black and white photos of the band in the studio in the 24-page booklet - the witty assessments of each band member as if Mick, Keith, Ron, Bill and Charlie were women around the edges of the back cover and the song titles that were in tiny print beside the garish Magazine Ads for lady products are blown-up to take a page each. And finally there are some excellent but short liner notes called "Love And Hope And Sex And Dreams" by ANTHONY DeCURTIS (the title is a lyric from "Shattered"). DeCurtis explains about the backdrop to the LP's inspiration  – New York City – a town in the grips of serial killer Son Of Sam, financial ruin with landlords torching slums for the insurance money (the Big Apple was famously bailed out by President Ford) while a strange mix of decadent Disco, bare Punk and bloated Rock music filled the nightclubs, stadiums and bars. But again the liner notes sloppily miss out guest credits for the album on the final pages like they didn't exist (see my list above for details) and there's zip discussion of the new recordings. And why didn't someone print the lyrics for an album that was in part defined by its radical and no-holes-barred words? It all feels like less instead of more somehow. The Rolling Stones used to be so Rock 'n' Roll - but now they're so corporate-safe. Thankfully there's the music that includes some very cool new entries...

Disc 1 is the STEPHEN MARCUSSEN and STEWART WHITMORE Remaster done in 2009 and doesn't pretend to be anything new even though some hated it (I think it's brilliant). The second CD of new tracks (supposedly outtakes) was done in Paris and New York in 2011 and mastered by the same duo. Both sound storming to me.

The first Rolling Stones LP to benefit from Ron Wood's official presence in the five-piece band turned out to be a barnstormer. Side 1 opens with the irresistible "Miss You" – that fantastically sexy rhythm that's neither Rock nor Disco but somewhere in-between – Jagger's Puerto Rican girls lyrics so racy yet so true - Sugar Blue and his slinky Harmonica part and the Mel Collins Saxophone solo that seals the deal. What a bloody winner. With the brilliantly funny and knowing "Far Away Eyes" on the B-side – the US 45 of "Miss You" on Rolling Stones 19307 went to No. 1 in June 1978 and deservedly so. "When The Whip Comes Down" is the first sign of Punk - a fantastic little rocker that took on a life of its own when they did it live. Quite why they follow Whip with a Temptations cover version is anyone's guess - but their very Stones take on the 1971 R&B No. 1 of "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" fits perfectly. You also hear those duelling guitars on this incredibly muscular remaster with Ian McLagan's Hammond Organ contribution barely audible.

Even now I can recall the first time I heard the utterly astonishing title track "Some Girls" - shock and awe and just a little appalled too. How could anyone be saying this stuff? You know you're in trouble when it opens with Sugar Blue's fantastic Harmonica warble. With lyrics like "...some girls give me children I never asked them for..." and "...some girls take the shirt off my back and leave me with a lethal dose..." - the song was never going to get on the Sunday Hymn Sheet for Westminster Abbey. But in its defence (if that’s the right way to phrase it) the words were true in Jagger's brain and many didn't like that in-your-face stance. But re-listening to it now and that stunning Harmonica/Guitar combo makes it a bit of an angry masterpiece for me. The rip-roaring and equally snarling "Lies" ends Side 1 with the core five-piece band sounding more vital than they had in years.

Side 2 opens with the countrified preaching song "Far Away Eyes" – Ron Wood's Pedal Steel Guitar perfectly complimenting Jagger's hilarious song-on-the-radio story (send 10$ to the church of bleeding hearts in Los Angeles). Back to Punk and heroin with the President on the White House lawn and no problem that can't be bent - "Respectable" became a single too and another live thriller. Keith's "Before They Make Me Run" is the forgotten song on the album and while it's a half-decent bopper you can't help think that Jagger's vocals would have lifted it out of the ordinary. But all is redeemed with a lethal one-two of "Beast Of Burden" and "Shattered" - the two aspects of the Stones I love - melody one moment - snotty rockers the next - and brill at both.

I genuinely hadn't expected much of Disc 2 - but it's got some corkers amidst the good and merely ordinary. Ian Stewart gives it some Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano-pumping bopper "Claudine" where a wee bit of instrument-echo makes the song feel Fifties. But then we're hit with a total gem and something you can't help but feel should have been on the album or at least a B-side to say "Miss You" - the Punky and very un-PC "So Young" where Mick is clearly tempted by the flesh of girls on the school run rather than the office pool (it's a federal offence). They Countrify "Do You Think I Really Care", Blues Boogie "When You're Gone" (with Jagger on Harp) and Piano Ballad "No Spare Parts". Of the others I like the raw "Keep Up Blues" about Italian Suits and keeping up with the fashionistas and their take on the hank Williams classic "You Win Again" is the best of the covers. Jagger brings it all home with a Piano and Vocal on "Petrol Blues" - a track that suspiciously sounds like an actual demo from the period.

The album "Some Girls" still stands up and in 2018 amazingly will be 40 years young. But while there are moments on that second disc that evoke the old Stones magic - I still wish the packaging wasn't so utterly lame.

Time to get up and get into something new which they and artist Peter Corriston would do on 1980's "Emotional Rescue". In the meantime don a 100% miracle fibre wig, slip on those red leatherette stilettos and get whipped by this Rolling Stones bad boy. In the comfort of your own home of course...

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