Monday, July 5, 2010

Rolling Stones 25: Some Girls

The punk scene threatened to bury the Stones along with The Who and all the other so-called boring old farts, and to their credit, the band rose to the challenge. Some Girls is about as straight a guitar album as they ever made, and has rightfully retained its status as a favorite since its release.
That being said, it’s not a punk album per se, but with its nod to disco, it is a New York album. In the aftermath of the Son of Sam, multiple blackouts and the Yankees winning streak, Some Girls evokes a sweaty summer in the city like few others. “Miss You” retains some of the funk from Black And Blue, stretching it into a cool strut. “When The Whip Comes Down” crams suggestive lyrics under the same two chords for four minutes before another Motown classic, “Just My Imagination”, gets a similar two-chord treatment. The title track ran into trouble with its lyrics, but at least Mick isn’t taking himself too seriously. “Lies” closes a strong side in a nod to the Knickerbockers, an American garage response to the British Invasion, right down to the harmonies.
As proof that Mick was having a good old time, “Far Away Eyes” is perhaps one of the funniest songs they’ve ever done, and one of their most effective country pastiches since Beggars Banquet. “Respectable” is the closest they come to punk, and a truly fun track. Keith steps up for his one vocal, and statement of purpose, “Before They Make Me Run”. He may have kicked heroin, but he had to relearn his singing style. “Beast Of Burden” and “Shattered” were both big radio hits, and are probably playing somewhere right now, the former a slow one, the latter a tough jam with a rapped vocal.
Your enjoyment of Some Girls will probably depend on how sick you are of those last two songs. They do sound much better taken in context. It’s a strong album recorded well, especially the guitars and Charlie’s drums. The Stones threatened to get silly as they approached their forties, but at least they stayed fresh—and in Keith’s case, alive and healthy.
Since it had worked to some success with the Exile On Main St. reissue, the album was expanded 33 years after the fact, with a mix of outtakes and newly finished tracks. Some of the better candidates, of course, had already ended up on Tattoo You, but big points were made by finally releasing “Claudine”, the legendary bootlegged song about the former Mrs. Andy Williams. “So Young” had been a B-side in the Voodoo Lounge era, but everything else was known only to collectors. Of the “new” songs, “No Spare Parts” was the key track, a simple country lope without a trace of New York. Along the same lines, Keith nails the weepie cover of “We Had It All”, much better than Mick’s raspy take on “Tallahassee Lassie”. Likewise, “You Win Again” deserves a smoother touch than given here, at the expense of Ron Wood’s pedal steel—one of the few compliments we’ll ever give him. “I Love You Too Much” crosses the 1978 vibe with today’s vocals pretty well, and the disc ends with another brief joke, Mick on piano and singing the “Petrol Blues”.
All together, the new stuff shows a different side of the band than the original album. If this method is the only way we’re going to get some of these outtakes, so be it. It’s a shame to keep them hidden.

The Rolling Stones Some Girls (1978)—4
2011 Deluxe Edition: same as 1978, plus 12 extra tracks


  1. wardo, what do you think of the outtakes? i, a brockton-raised stones nut, love them them. some girls disappointed me from the beginning. i liked it quite a bit, but i was forced to concede that darkness, released the week before, exceeded it. his wasn't because some girls did not have great songs, it was because i hated the production. i know it was striving for punk faux-diy but all i could hear were great riffs buried. these outtakes sound like the stones album i was hoping for in 78, and, oddly, make me like the hopelessly, to me, muffled originals sound better

  2. Truth be told I haven't heard the 2011 version yet, outside of "No Spare Parts", which seemed kinda ordinary. But I'm hoping to pick it up in the next month or so ($$ being what it is) and I will update this post accordingly.

  3. i definitely think it is worth giving a listen. i kinda hate giving them the money, but the exile extras were so good that i decided to spring for this one too and i am not disappointed.