Today is Bill Wyman’s birthday. I had been looking for an excuse to review this record. I have been looking for a copy of this record for years. I have a copy with no album cover, but that doesn’t count. Speaking of album covers, I wanted the best version. You know the one I mean. The one with the working zipper on the front, the tighty whities inside, and the gold Andy Warhol stamp.
A few weeks ago I was in Hamilton, Ontario. I looked up ‘Hamilton thrift stores’ on my phone. I went to the first one on the list. The record bins were full of 500 or so of the usual suspects. As in, garbage, thrift store records. There were hundreds of albums no one wants. There were a handful of prospects but on further inspection they were too scratched to take home. I moved over to the cd section. This was more like it. Very good selection, in good shape. It appeared to me that possibly a local radio station had donated a bunch of stuff. There were a lot of promo cd’s and a ton I heard never seen. I was there for about an hour. I was within earshot of the front desk and could hear the 2 employees working. The guy asked the lady “Where did you find these records?” “The Beatles, Chicago, Steely Dan, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones…….” My ears perked way up by this point. My heart sank though when he said “Can you put these in the back for me?” I know how it works. I have a bit of inside information about thrift stores. The employees often grab the best music. Oh well. At least I have my cd’s. I looked for a while longer and brought my cd’s to the counter. I thought I would give it a shot anyway. I asked about the records that they were talking about. She said she had put them on the shelf. Apparently the guy did not want all of them. He only wanted The Beatles. I was so relieved. The records had been on the top and luckily no one else had come in and grabbed them while I looked at cd’s. The crown jewel of this haul was the Sticky Fingers album with the zipper. I know 50 cents is a lot to pay, but I wanted this album, so I gave in.
Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones. How come you sound so good?
Sway – A great, underrated song. Has more blues swagger and is a little less radio friendly than others on the album. I love the piano, drums, Mick’s voice and especially the guitar.
Wild Horses – I first heard this song in the early 80’s. I was being looked after by my cool aunt and uncle. They got me into so much 70’s rock. She told me this was her favourite Stones song, so I love it through blood.
Can’t You hear Me Knocking – WOW. That amazing guitar. Keef and Mick Taylor really show us how it should be done here.
You Gotta Move – An old school blues song originally done in 1948, and made popularized by Fred McDowell in 1965. Mick sings this with a Southern dialect. We can tell where the Stones got a lot of influence from.
Bitch – The brass. The bass. The geetar. The vocals. An almost perfect song. I’m sure I enjoyed it more than the censors did back in 1971. Just for shits and giggles I Googled “Bitch song”. I got Meredith Brooks, Elton John, and Bowling For Soup. WTFF. The best one ever and it does not come up.
I Got The Blues – A cross between blues and soul. It has mellow guitar, piercing horns, Mick’s voice, the military precision of the drumming and the amazing keys.
Sister Morphine – No mention of Marianne Faithful as co-author on my album, but after a long legal battle she was finally given her due. The amazing contrast between acoustic and electric guitars are the real stars here for me. Jack Nitsche guests on piano and organ and Ry Cooder guests with an amazing slide guitar. Get Ry Cooder to slide guitar my eulogy.
Dead Flowers – The Stones were hanging around with Gram Parsons during this time and perhaps he influenced the band off into country music territory. The guitars and piano have a honky tonk flavour and Mick has southern drawl.
Moonlight Mile – Mick Taylor was promised a songwriting credit to this song but was not given it. Unfortunately the ugly side of the business was creeping into the band. The song itself is possibly the most underrated song in The Stones collection. It has a bit of a Japanese theme as part of the guitar work was a redone bit originally done by Richards entitled “Japanese Thing”.
Happy Birthday Bill. Maybe for my next birthday you can come up with some of the magic you helped create on this album.