Sunglasses in the basement, what the … (from left) Keith Richards with the dangly wrists, Mick Jagger hands in pockets (feeling his dangly bits), Ron Wood with the crow’s nest hair, and Charlie Watts looking like … er, Charlie Watts.
1. Street Fighting Man
2. Like A Rolling Stone
3. Not Fade Away
4. Shine a Light
5. The Spider and the Fly
6. I’m Free
7. Wild Horses
8. Let it Bleed
9. Dead Flowers
10. Slipping Away
12. Love in Vain
13. Sweet Virginia
14. Little Baby
A crisp, rich semi-acoustic sound as the Rolling Stones tone it down and display their great musicianship
- November, 1995
- Rock On Rock Recommends:
Good as a complete package
THERE was a spate of “unplugged” albums in the early-mid 1990s triggered by the success of such acoustic recordings by guitar legend Eric Clapton and rock and roll turned to schmaltz singer Rod Stewart.
The Rolling Stones refused to go the whole acoustic hog > instead a semi-acoustic approach with slices of electric guitar.
Stripped showcases a tight-knight on-song Rolling Stones > they had after all started more than 30 years ago.
There’s lashings of harmonica from Mick Jagger, blending Keith Richards and Ron Wood guitars, the irrepressible Charlie Watts laying the beat on drums and a host of enriching back-up musicians.
Among them new bass man Darryl Jones > jazz background playing with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Darryl Jones also toured with Madonna, Sting and Eric Clapton.
Chuck Leavell tinkles the ivories on Stripped, Bobby Keys is on sax and Lisa Fischer among the backing singers.
Stripped is a hot mix of concert recordings and studio reworkings of previous tunes.
‘Mick Jagger told me the wrinkles on his face were laughter lines, but nothing is that funny’
> writer and jazz/blues artist George Melly
THERE’S two news songs on Stripped > the joyous and appropriate appropriation of Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone and the blues of Little Baby > original by African-American blues veteran Willie Dixon.
“Thank you, Bob” says Keith Richards in tribute to Dylan, who used to claim he could have written the Jagger-Richards 1960s youth frustration anthem (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – but they couldn’t have written this song > Dylan’s youth movement hit of the same era. Well, the Rolling Stones can certainly play it.
The Stones can also certainly play their own protest movement hit Street Fighting Man > which opens Stripped > an album that delves deeply into the band’s songs from the 60s and early 70s.
Among them Not Fade Away > which builds like a train starting up and chugs into rhythm > with nice guitar rips.
Piano-led Shine A Light has an unusual for the Rolling Stones deference to the Almighty Himself [whoever he > or she > may be]
Also titillating are sexual seduction The Spider and the Fly, longing love ballad Wild Horses and lonesome blues Love in Vain > all with deft acoustic touch and Keith Richards in fine back-up vocals on the chorus of Wild Horses.
Keef backs up vocals again on country rock tune Dead Flowers > with Ron Wood on lap-slide guitar. “I felt like a hillbilly there for a minute > just for a minute, mind you” says Jagger > an Englishman putting on his “best” American southern drawl.
There’s even a good Keef vocal on his own ballad Slipping Away.
Piano rollicks along with the Rolling Stones on Let it Bleed > one of the best songs from the classic 1969 Stones album of the same name.
Hippiedom, peace and love abound in I’m Free > this version better than the 1960s Stones original.
There’s beautiful acoustic playing on heartbreak ballad Angie and closing song Little Baby is a worthy addition to the Rolling Stones blues repertoire.
Perhaps the only disappointment is Sweet Virginia > lacking the swagger of the original, the best song on the Rolling Stones highly acclaimed 1972 album Exile on Main Street.
> WORDS by MALCOLM LIVERMORE