Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Exile On Main Street : The Verdict

"You're not nuts. It's good to care."

I could spare you the drama, but then that would be bullshit. My UPS driver showed up at 4:20 and dropped the box---admittedly top heavy---three times! I thought about explaining the contents to him--- outtakes, "Tumbling Dice," Gram Parsons, "Keef", "BE CAREFUL IDIOT!," like that. But he was distracted by the Weimaraner taking a dump near his front of my house. (Really.)

On to the music...which arrived with the appropriate you can see.

The big box is lovely. The sound of the vinyl is stunning. Really, it is. I unraveled a bit when I first opened the hard cover book. I rifled through the pages, looking for the credits and some sort of song annotation. Nothing much. Some nice words from Anthony DeCurtis and snippets about the album from the band from various points in their career, but nothing at all about the outtakes and new stuff on Disc Two.

I did get bunched up a bit to find the original album credits edited to now include every Stone on every song. "Happy" didn't used to include Charlie on drums. I thought it was only Jimmy Miller. I was already uncomfortable with the overdubbing and newly recorded vocals on the additional material, but did they have to change the original band credits? What's next, a dance remix of "Factory Girl?"

"At least Ron Wood's not on it."

It's really hard to get over how much "Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren)" and "Dancing In The Light" sound like new Jagger solo tunes. Very good Jagger solo tunes, mind you, just not something I expected on an "Exile" release. And sorry, but no amount of tweaking is going to make Mick sound like he did in 1971. I think it's obvious. It works the least on "Following The River," the most disappointing of the new-ish tracks.

On the other hand, "Plundered My Soul," "I'm Not Signifying" and "So Divine (Aladdin Story)" sound like pure Stones and really made me happy, and the alternate "Loving Cup" and "Soul Survivor," with Keith on lead vocal, happier still.

"I think you gotta just let go, hold your nose, and listen to them just as Stones' songs. I'd rather have them than not have them."

Most of you collectors will be familiar with "Good Time Woman," the fun, but inferior early version of "Tumbling Dice." It's inclusion here only exemplifies what's wrong with the refurbished tracks. It's an average outtake that now sounds thrilling when nestled among the hot vocals and production of the new tunes.

THE VERDICT: it's still worth every penny and every minute of your time. I'd rather buy "Exile On Main Street" three more times over than a lot of other music which gets just as over-hyped.

"You're not nuts. It's good to care."

(Quotes are from an ongoing text with a friend as I listened.)


steve simels said...

My advance copy was unpackaged, so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes with the real set.

As for the music, I think you're pretty much on the money -- some of the new stuff is great, and I'm just grateful to have it.

Jeff said...

"At least Ron Wood's not on it."


cooljerk said...

somehow, i still don't know if i want/need this set...right now, i'm happy with the original release...i wonder if, when you add the new tunes, this will still be one of the great rock and roll records of all time...and will the remixed songs that i know and love even sound as great as they once did?...i feel like i'm already ahead of the game--the review was very entertaining...

Anonymous said...

Who is this guy "Cool Jerk"? He is a smart guy.

Kevin Bernardo