Monday, June 14, 2010

Rolling Stones 22: Made In The Shade and Metamorphosis

Brought out to coincide with a tour, Made In The Shade continues the Stones tradition of marking time with a hits collection. It includes tracks from each of the four albums they’d recorded since starting their own label, complete with the third LP appearances of “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses”. Most of the tracks were hit singles, interspersed with such surprising selections as “Rip This Joint”. The cover was suitably atrocious, combining a desert motif with a dozing transsexual.

The album’s appearance made more sense when it turned out to have been released the exact same day as another compilation, and one they hadn’t endorsed. Metamorphosis was a shot from the bow of Allen Klein, consisting of outtakes from the sixties. This was not an Odds & Sods collection of should’ve-beens, but a true scraping of long-forgotten barrels. Most of side one consists of demos for other artists—Jagger-Richards compositions they would never record for their own albums, but featuring Mick’s guide vocals nonetheless with minimal backing from any other Stones. The opening alternate of “Out Of Time” sets the tone with its loud orchestra and awful female backing vocals; likewise a take of “Heart Of Stone” with Jimmy Page on guitar doesn’t live up to anyone’s expectations. Unlike the songs Lennon and McCartney gave other people, these weren’t hits, nor should they have been.
Things improve a lot on side two, with tracks from the latter half of the decade when the boys were true studio rats and mostly out from under manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s promotional thumb. “If You Let Me” is an Aftermath outtake that would have fit on Flowers, and appears oddly after a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Don’t Know Why”, allegedly recorded the night Brian Jones died. There are some refugees from the Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed sessions, such as the decadent “Family”, Bill Wyman’s “Downtown Suzie” and an alternate take of “Memo From Turner”. “Jiving Sister Fanny” and “I’m Going Down” may not have been classics, but they weren’t any worse than some of the Stones’ more recent work.
The album cover for Metamorphosis was about as awful as its shelfmate; it’s unknown whether anyone sent away for the matching T-shirt offered on the inner sleeve. The Stones did their best to ignore it, and it eventually went out of print. But when the ABKCO catalog was re-rolled out in 2002, Metamorphosis was included, complete with the two songs that were on the UK version left off the US copies. Mighty generous of them.

Here’s an odd footnote to the crazy saga: not content to sit out on the fun, Decca compiled the two-record Rolled Gold compilation for the UK by year’s end, covering most of the popular material from the Hot Rocks albums. For no apparent reason, an upgraded version (called Rolled Gold +) was released worldwide in 2007, with another twelve tracks from the same era crammed on.

The Rolling Stones Made In The Shade (1975)—
The Rolling Stones Metamorphosis (1975)—3
2003 SACD: same as 1975, plus 2 extra tracks

2 comments:

  1. Do you have an opinion on the 2002 Virgin remasters vs the recent 2009/2010 UM remasters of the post-ABKCO Rolling Stones albums? I haven't heard any of the new remasters and I'm wondering if the new remasters warrent another purchase of the albums. I'm particularly interested in "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile On Main Street".

    Geoff

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  2. I haven't had the patience (or more pointedly, the cash) to track down most of the Stones CDs, with a few exceptions. I'm holding on to my 1994 remaster of Exile because I read a pile of articles complaining about the compression; any other Stones catalog CDs are either those or the ABKCO 2002 versions. Got 'em all on vinyl, however, and I'll be holding onto those.

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