The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert

Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert (1970)

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1. Jumpin’ Jack Flash 2. Carol 3. Stray Cat Blues 4. Love In Vain 5. Midnight Rambler 6. Sympathy For The Devil 7. Live With Me 8. Little Queenie 9. Honky Tonk Women 10. Street Fighting Man

 

Now this is more like it. Frankly I’d think it would go without saying that, on a Stones live album, the guitars should be louder in the mix than the shrieking girls in the audience. To be fair, they didn’t really have the power to make that happen when they did Got Live. But in the two years the Stones spent off the road between early 1967 and 1969, rock concerts changed drastically. I’m not sure what happened, to be honest, but the teenybopper screaming girl era ended pretty abruptly. Maybe without either the Beatles or Stones touring, people were forced to actually listen to the music. Maybe it had something to with the intellectual bent that Dylan introduced to rock music. More likely it was development of louder amps that could actually overpower the noise level of tens of thousands of people. But whatever it was, 1969 might as well have been a full decade after 1966. The Beatles never made it back on stage and thus were never forced to stake out their place in this transformed touring world. The Stones were, and the verdict was clear: they were now the undisputed Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Band in the World.

They were a completely different beast in 1969 than they were before they took a break from touring, for obvious reasons. They had spent the previous two years writing and recording the best material of their career, and flaky Brian had been replaced by a new hotshot guitarist to occupy stage right. Not to mention Keith, who was at his absolute peak of both playing and songwriting. Anything could have happened to them after undergoing the personnel change and spending all that time off the road, but any doubts about the Stones’ potency that anyone who saw a show on the ’69 tour had were surely allayed from the moment Keith struck the thick, meaty opening chords of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” That shit’s like rock ‘n roll crack.

Ya Ya’s was recorded at Madison Square Garden in November ’69, only a couple of weeks before Altamont (which was incidentally and improbably one of the Stones’ best shows ever, maybe even better than those documented on Ya Ya’s, and notable for featuring the live debut of “Brown Sugar.” Yeah, that’s definitely the most notable thing about it). Or at least the music was; basically all the vocals were overdubbed my Mick and Keith in the studio and don’t sound anything like the typical vocal performances from the rest of the tour. But you, know, whatever. Who cares. At least they didn’t replace Mick’s banter… “I think I busted a button on me trousers, I hope they don’t fall down… you don’t want me trousers to fall down, now, do ya?” The album definitely emphasizes the New Stones – eight of the ten tracks are from either Beggars Banquet or Let It Bleed, or are singles from the same era (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women,” featuring a new verse about “strutting on the boulevards of Paris”). The other two songs are Chuck Berry covers, including a revived “Carol,” which is so fuckin’ good that even Berry himself called it the best cover version of one his songs ever. And lemme tell ya, a guy as prickly and egomaniacal as Chuck isn’t big on dishing out compliments to almost anyone, except possibly girls for looking pretty when they pee. As for the other new aspect of the Stones, Little Mick, he’s more deferential to Keith as far as lead playing goes than he would be on subsequent tours, but he begins to emerge out of his shell starting on a menacingly slowed-to-a-crawl rendition of “Stray Cat Blues,” shows off his slide expertise on “Love In Vain,” and even builds up enough confidence to one-up Keef on the classic jivey rearrangement of “Sympathy For The Devil” – MT’s long solo sort of blows away Keith’s on that one, actually. I mean, Taylor is by far the more technically virtuosic soloist between the two of them, so it’s not exactly shocking. But the ’69 tour was far less wank-heavy than the ’72-’73 tours, for better and for worse… personally, I think Keith’s playing on “Carol” here is just as brilliant as any of Taylor’s greatest solos.

Now, Ya Ya’s wouldn’t be looked on as the holy grail of live Stones albums it is today if the planned but shelved live album of the ’72 tour had come out. It also forgoes one of the best parts of the ’69 shows – the mini-acoustic set of just Mick and Keith with a National guitar doing “Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move.” Fortunately, the 2010 “40th Anniversary Edition” adds those two as bonus tracks, as well as three other staples of the ’69 tour setlist (balladic renditions of “Under My Thumb” and “I’m Free,” plus “Satisfaction”). So no excuses for not hearing it. Cause you need to. “Paint it black, you devils!!”



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