Here’s one that blind-sided me a bit, I just bought a brilliant LP on a whim, Rolling Stones From The Vault: The Marquee Club Live In 1971. I didn’t mean to, it just sort of happened. The previous couple of Stones live releases were just a bit too late to really pique my interest*, but this one? with all the ferment and fervour over the revamping of Sticky Fingers going down at the moment, seems to have just slipped into the racks without too much fuss but it is slap bang in that six-year span of their career that interests me most. At £16.99 for the vinyl and a DVD of the whole performance, it just had to get bought.
It’s a bit of a funny one, it wasn’t really a proper gig but a performance for Swedish TV at the Marquee Club in front of an invited audience of about 150 folk, so the atmosphere is a bit funny and the cheers between songs are a bit weedy. BUT the Rolling Stones are proper troopers and throw themselves into it as thought they were playing in front of a slavering throng of 100 thousand and they clearly relish the chance to show off the songs from the forthcoming Sticky Fingers, which wouldn’t hit the shops for another month. It is the new tracks that steal the show too, especially ‘Bitch’ and ‘Dead Flowers’, on the DVD you can just see how much the band are enjoying their new creations – they know just how good their new album is.
The show is excellent, Jagger wired and skinny as you want in a short, sequined Bolero cardigan of the kind usually sported over a dowager’s ball gown; Keith, impossibly cool-looking, impassive and stubbled – captured before he fried all his synapses; Mick Taylor never looking totally at ease, but playing some truly amazing guitar and the rhythm section of all rhythm sections, just doing their thing immaculately and unobtrusively. The late Bobby Keys gets a lot of air time too, which is nice to see.
What I like best here is the fact that this is a band really still trying, still working hard, long before they became a brand, or a machine. There’s a real sense, especially when Jagger is blowing some great harp on ‘Midnight Rambler’ that they still feel they’re a blues band who got lucky. They are more than that though, so much more, I mean just look at them! No-one has ever got close to being this rock and roll cool, the bonus here being that at this point they had enough humanity left in them to still be broadly sympathetic and relatable characters.
I can’t recommend this highly enough to any Stones fans in the room, or any of you who, like me, lost your patience with them a while ago. Buy this LP. This is great music from a great little band, the sound has been restored and mixed by Bob Clearmountain and as for the package … Wow! I’m not so keen on the masking tape chic of the cover, but get past that and we get a gatefold full of memorabilia and clips, a cut-out holder for the DVD and a couple of great pictures on the inner sleeve. This has been lovingly put together exactly the right way and I salute them for that.
Tell you what though not a single picture of Wyman anywhere on the LP, apart from a small head shot on an old poster. They don’t do forgiveness those Stones boys do they?
Anyway, I’m off to listen to ‘Bitch’ over and over again, or until my Southern Comfort runs out.
Feeling so tired, can’t understand it
Just had a fortnight’s sleep
I’m feeling so tired, Ow! so distracted
Ain’t touched a thing all week
I’m feeling drunk, juiced up and sloppy
Ain’t touched a drink all night
I’m feeling hungry, can’t see the reason
Just ate a horse meat pie
Yeah when you call my name
I salivate like a Pavlov dog
Yeah when you lay me out
My heart is beating louder than a big bass drum, alright
Yeah, you got to mix it child
You got to fix it must be love
It’s a bitch
562 Down (Still)
PS – Given the passing of 44 years, the picture quality is very decent and none of that horrible gimmicky camerawork and/or editing that mars a lot of footage from the era too.
*although all the bits I heard, via a friend were very good indeed.