The Rolling Stones – Some Girls: Live In Texas ’78

Some Girls: Live In Texas ’78 (2011)


1. Let It Rock 2. All Down The Line 3. Honky Tonk Women 4. Starfucker 5. When The Whip Comes Down 6. Beast Of Burden 7. Miss You 8. Just My Imagination 9. Shattered 10. Respectable 11. Far Away Eyes 12. Love In Vain 13. Tumbling Dice 14. Happy 15. Sweet Little Sixteen 16. Brown Sugar 17. Jumpin’ Jack Flash


Some Girls on steroids. Or coke, more likely. Either way, it’s another one of those new archival releases that just seem to be flowing out of the Stones’ camp these days – more specifically, a DVD/CD combo documenting a full July 1978 show in Ft. Worth, Texas to accompany the re-release of Some Girls. Like I was with Brussels, I have been intimately acquainted with a pristine soundboard version of this show for many years on a bootleg entitled Handsome Girls, and thus already knew that it completely ruled my ass like no tomorrow. However, I thought the official release of Brussels was slightly mismanaged due to the inclusion of mostly different, and inferior, performances to those that appeared on the popular bootleg, which in the process exposed some of the end-of-era bloat that crept into that fall ’73 tour. This release suffers from no such tinkering: Some Girls: Live In Texas ’78 is Handsome Girls. Well Handsome Girls minus one small bit of humorous Mick banter before “Shattered” that remains intact on the DVD but was deleted here, presumably to keep the show from running over the 80-minute CD time limit. Ha. CDs. I can’t believe they still make those.

Well, whatever you wanna call it, it’s the Stones at the most gritty, sloppy, balls out rockin’ best. Compare it to Love You Live from just one year earlier and it becomes obvious within about five seconds how much Some Girls had reinvigorated the band. I mean, if it weren’t for the vocals, you’d think that everyone had aged backwards about 10 years. There are raw, shitkicking guitars just flying everywhere at a million miles an hour. Ronnie Wood, now far from trying to act like Mick Taylor’s replacement, has instead just started playing like himself, which just so happens to match the band’s new style perfectly. He sounds like wild typhoon of nervous energy going in a thousand directions at once (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”), while Keith, no longer forced to be the “rhythm guitar,” isn’t all that much more anchored in his playing. And yet, despite the blistering, frenetic pace of the gig, it never once goes off the rails. Controlled chaos at its best. Throw in the fact that Mick is either drunk off his ass or pretending to be by doing a clownish, phlegmmy impression of Johnny Rotten, and it’s just like you were listening to a damn punk concert. Except with, like, guitar solos. But even with that considered, when they jam out a song for eight minutes now, it’s no longer because of Mick Taylor twiddling around for half that time. Which, of course, I have no problem with – I mean, have you heard that guy twiddle (guitar strings. Get yer mind out of the gutter)? But Keith and Ronnie’s telepathic riff swapping deal, though from a technical standpoint largely inferior, is an even more exciting—perhaps more populist—jamming model.

The 1978 trek was indeed one of the Stones greatest tours, though it was sadly one of their shortest – it lasted barely a month and half and never made it outside the U.S. The truncated nature of the tour can be attributed to various factors such as Mick having throat troubles, Keith’s drug trials, Keith trying to kick heroin and Keith getting into a fight with a kangaroo (I made one of these up. Think hard before you guess which one. Keith’s done a lot of crazy shit, you know…). As such, it’s one of their less heralded tours. But it was still very much their “comeback” tour, which can be largely attributed to the fact that they jacked up their guitar volume, fired Billy Preston’s showboating ass and replaced him with Ian Stewart and Ian McLagen, Woody’s former Faces bandmate (the logical next step would of course have been to replace the entire band with people named Ian, but I guess they decided it would be too much to bear to hear Ian Anderson perform a flute solo on “Brown Sugar”). The setlist was rather unusual as well – it included two Chuck Berry covers (including one as the set opener), “Love In Vain,” Mick Taylor’s old spotlight number (Ronnie, who had done the song with the Faces, fills in admirably), and a configuration of seven Some Girls songs in a row in the middle of the set. Now that’s confidence in your new material. Can you imagine them coming out today and playing seven straight songs from A Bigger Bang? The only people left in the stadium by the end of it would be me and the people in the wheelchair section whose caretakers would surely abandon them somewhere in the middle of “Biggest Mistake.”

So why no A+? Eh, I just don’t feel right giving traditional live albums the top prize – though I can think of one or two that might force me to make an exception. But make no mistake – if you’re a fan of the Some Girls era, or the Stones in general, or stripped down rock ‘n roll in general, this is essential listening.