Monday, July 07, 2008

The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out

This live album shows the Stones at their peak, with great songs and wild audience adulation (without the unadulterated mania shown in Got Live If You Want It), but also shows some of their weaknesses. Make no mistake, this is a great record, but it does show that some of the songs’ strengths are from the terrific studio production.

This is evidenced immediately on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. Like I said, this has rockin’ energy, but the tones of the guitars are not as strong as on the recording. Of course, there is a lot more going on than just 2 guitars, bass and drums on the single. Regardless, this is still one of their best songs ever and a great start to this set.

They keep the rave-up going with their updated version of “Carol” with Keith showing off his Chuck Berry riffs before moving into their lascivious “Stray Cat Blues”. Oddly, this might even be played a little slower than the studio version, but it builds with a nice intensity with Taylor’s guitar leads as Mick invites sweet young things up to his room.

Their arrangement of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain” is emotional and strong, with biting slide parts. “Midnight Rambler” takes on a new life from the album version and while we miss the visuals of Jagger pounding the stage with his belt, this is still wild stuff.

“Sympathy For the Devil” is virtually a different song in this live setting, considering the different instrumentation (no congas or acoustic guitar) and the lack of backing vocals. Pretty great, though, and another cool, extended solo from Keith.

Another favorite song of mine is “Live With Me”, which I think excels in the live setting and may even be better than the studio one. Stripped down, with raw guitars and rocked up a bit, this is another testament to their talents. Their second homage to Berry is “Little Queenie”, which sounds positively filthy coming from Jagger & company.

Once again, “Honky Tonk Women” is quite a change from the record – both in Richards’ licks and even Mick’s words. It definitely has a rockin’ groove, though!

The set closes with “Street Fighting Man”, which definitely is rocked up, less restrained and more Taylor-lead-centric. A cool ending to a fine r’n’r record.

Hearing this album for the first time was actually pretty thrilling for me in that it showed the “greatest rock’n’roll band in the world” as loose – even sloppy – and not a band that copied their own recordings. This was pretty liberating for a teenager learning to play guitar. I realized that maybe I didn’t have to play note-perfect Jimmy Page/Eric Clapton leads to play in a band. So, thanks guys – for a superb record and a lesson in r’n’r!