Album no. 149/1001
The Stones are back baby! This is the first album where Keith gets to sing lead vocals on a whole song, the first with Mick Taylor on guitar, the last to feature Brian Jones (sorry Brian), and the only album to feature a choir publicly disowning a song it sung on due to the ‘relentless drug ambience’. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
The opening track of this is ‘Gimme Shelter’ featuring Merry Clayton doing a pretty extreme vocal solo. There’s an isolated version of the vocals on youtube, which I strongly recommend checking out. After her voice breaks you can hear Jagger yell out ‘WOO!’ and it’s really goddamn cool.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: YEAH BABY
CL: No. But I really REALLY liked Beggars Banquet, so I hope this follows in the same successful direction.
NK: I hate to be too obvious but ‘Gimme Shelter’ is the best Stones song and up there as one of the best songs ever.
CL: I agree with you – ‘Gimme Shelter’ is EXCELLENT.
NK: There’s a lot of other good stuff here too. ‘Midnight Rambler’ is great fun (I LOVE the guitar sound), ‘Love In Vain’ is a great heart breaker, and ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ is pretty decent as these things go. ‘Let It Bleed’ is a really fun song as well, the playing sounds really live. ‘Let It Bleed’ has been described as a great example of the Stones making a slightly sloppy approach work for them rather than against them. Sounds right.
CL: I really like ‘Monkey Man’ off this – it starts off sort of loungey, with this piano interlude, then in comes the guitars to rough it all up. I think that’s a really good song. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are enough of those really excellent songs on here…
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: DO NOT listen to this if you’re walking or riding near traffic. The car horns at the start of ‘Country Honk’ will really freak you out.
CL: That’s an important public service announcement.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think this is another album that doesn’t have any bad songs on it. I don’t think it’s as good as Beggar’s Banquet was, but it’s still pretty great. It’s bookended with two such good songs that you can forget about the stuff in the middle, but everything is good. There’s more evidence of a country influence here, especially the country cover of their own ‘Honky Tonk Women’. It still definitely comes in as one of the best Stones albums.
CL: I don’t know, this album has a much more country vibe than their previous ones and I don’t think that’s a good thing. I really don’t like ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, so I can’t agree with you about bookending the album with ‘great’ songs.
Will you be listening again?
NK: You bet.
CL: I don’t think I’ll do the whole album, but there are definitely a couple of songs that merit multiple listens.
Listen to Let It Bleed on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.