The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc)

Some Girls (Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc) (2011)

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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

 

The best Stones album since Some Girls!

Haha. Seriously, though. It is. And I don’t just mean the remastered album proper – the bonus disc, as a standalone piece, is a great Stones album. And unlike the Exile bonus disc, which waffles between tweaked up finished songs and rough, unfinished leftovers, the Some Girls bonus disc, devoid of rough takes or alternate versions of songs on the original album, was designed as, and plays like, a proper 12-song LP. And the fact that they recorded enough material during the Some Girls sessions not only for a whole separate album of high quality (at least one…  I can think of a few stellar outtakes that didn’t make the cut for this one), but one that, stylistically, doesn’t sound very much like Some Girls at all, is a testament to what a fertile creative period that was for the band. Yeah, there are a couple of punky “When The Whip Comes Down”-style hot rockers (“So Young,” Mick’s best song about statutory rape since “Stray Cat Blues,” though considerably more playful), but only a couple – most of the disc is dominated by the Stones’ more traditional blues and country stylings.

“More fast numbers,” as their motto went during these sessions, this ain’t. Yup, turns out “Far Away Eyes” wasn’t the only country song they recorded in ‘78; they just didn’t include them because too much twang would have interfered with the whole punk rock statement they were trying to make. But the ones they left off the album are hardly of usual outtake quality. The rollicking “Do You Think I Really Care,” previously known in bootleg form as “Yellow Cab,” is, musically, a worthy cousin to “Dead Flowers” and, lyrically, would’ve fit nicely on the New York-centric original album (I’m telling ya, I’ve been up and down 57th and Broadway and there ain’t no pizza place there that I can see like Mick says there is in the song. I suppose there could’ve been back in 1978. Or that particular location just fit the rhyme scheme. I’m gonna go with that last one). The slower, more sentimental “No Spare Parts” may not seem like much, but it’ll grow on you… a nice country song for the road, about the road. There are even a couple of authentic country covers here – the tongue in cheek version of Hank’s “You Win Again” is good fun, but consider the show stolen by Keith’s tender rendition of “We Had It All” (made famous by Waylon Jennings on the classic Honky Tonk Heroes album). If you’re one of those people that has ever derided Keith’s singing voice, take a listen to this one… stunning.

The rockers are great too, though they are largely more old fashioned than the punk-influenced stuff on the album proper. The 50s rock cover “Tallahassee Lassie” is the Stones at their absolute rawest and loudest (the original version, by Freddy Cannon, allegedly inspired Mick to write “Brown Sugar”). And it’s simply mind-blowing that the Jerry Lee Lewis-like boogie “Claudine” remained unreleased until now, but its back-story explains why. Discarded from Some Girls but slated to be the opening track on Emotional Rescue, the Stones canned it under threat of a lawsuit from the song’s subject, French singer Claudine Longet, who murdered her Olympic skier boyfriend and got away with it. I assume this was a big O.J.-like story to old people who were alive in the 70s, but that shit happened like 15 years before I was born so I didn’t know anything about it until I heard this song on bootlegs. Claudine is still alive, apparently, but I guess she doesn’t care anymore. Thank god, because the song kicks ass and every Stones fan should hear it.

In case you’re wondering, yes Mick went back and added new vocals again, but he does a much more seamless job readopting his Some Girls persona and voice than he did trying to recreate his Exile performance. Those attempts by and large stood out like a sore thumb; with these, well, there are a couple of songs here where I have trouble figuring out when the vocals are from. Kudos to Mick on that one.

Man, if they’d released this album back in 1979, it would’ve been a hell of a lot better follow up to Some Girls than Emotional Rescue was, that’s for sure. No, not every song here is Some Girls-worthy (the generic blooze “When You’re Gone” is fine but pales in comparison to the ostensibly also generic but actually swaggering beast of a blues tune “Keep Up Blues”; the calypso-flavored “Don’t Be A Stranger” grates after about 45 seconds when you realize that even though the first part is pretty catchy, it’s the only part of the song and just gets repeated over and over and over again until you can barely stand it anymore). But pretty darn close. I’ll take it.



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