Sad Sad Sad
Hold on to Your Hat
Hearts for Sale
Blinded by Love
Rock and a Hard Place
Can't Be Seen
Almost Hear You Sigh
Break the Spell
A sometimes tinny pop production as the Rolling Stones struggle to get back into the groove
- September, 1989
- Rock On Rock Recommends:
Mixed Emotions; Almost Hear You Sigh; Continental Drift
“I love Keith but I don’t think we can really work together any more,’’
> Mick Jagger about longtime love-you/hate-you brother in Rolling Stones arms Keith Richards
> to London’s Daily Mirror newspaper, 1987.
A HOSTILE TO EACH OTHER Mick Jagger and Keith Richards decided to meet on Caribbean island Barbados in January of 1989 > to see if the Rolling Stones were still a going concern.
Keith Richards told his wife he’d either be back in two days or two weeks > depending on how things went.
It ended up being about two months [Good ganja over there was it, Keef!!] > with five basic tracks for Steel Wheels recorded at the AIR studios in Montserrat.
Jagger and Richards had gone their own way for the past few years. The singer released a couple of solo albums > She’s The Boss and Primitive Cool >and Richards his own Talk is Cheap album > neither to great acclaim or success.
This “reunion”’ album is marred by crisp over-production techniques > in vogue in the 1980s. Many songs lack much gusto, but as with most Stones albums there’s couple of great tunes.
SO step up to the Steel Wheels plate Mixed Emotions, Almost Hear You Sigh and Continental Drift.
First single Mixed Emotions > released just before the Rolling Stones massively extravagant and hugely successful Steel Wheels tour of the US > soon has you surrendering to that effortless, almost off-beat signature Stones groove > as Jagger urges his partner to put their differences aside and go out and grab the world by the “scruff of the neck”.
Almost Hear You Sigh is a strong ballad with a more convincing, emotional vocal than on most songs here > Keith Richards on acoustic guitar cementing the lovelorn atmosphere.
Continental Drift is an experiment in Arabica > aided by the trance rhythms of the Master Musicians of Joujouka, a remote village in Morocco. Recorded by the band in Tangiers, the musicians were the same troupe recorded by now dead Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones in the late 1960s > one of the original world music albums.
Hold on to Your Hat is the album’s most charged rocker but ends up being fairly forgettable > as do Rock and a Hard Place and the aptly named Sad Sad Sad.
Funk blues numbers Terrifying and Hearts for Sale share a similar beat and similar disappointment > but for a flash of hot harmonica near the end of Hearts for Sale.
And there’s a few more songs > but enough said.
The Rolling Stones Steel Wheels five-month tour of the US was a giant musical and financial success > with a giant, multi-storey stage to boot > this metallic monster of urban decay encasing a dazzling light show.
The band > who hadn’t toured for seven years > were back on top, to the tune of enthusiastic reviews and crowds.
The Rolling Stones played to over three million fans, with then record gross takings of about $US200 million. Ticket prices were only a tad over $US30. [Yeah, damn cheap those days were, aye!]
The Stones then embarked on a European tour, under the moniker Urban Jungle.
> WRITTEN by MALCOLM LIVERMORE