Saw this Rolling Stones doc this week at a schoolroom-style showhouse that opened up last year on South 3rd in Williamsburg, just off Bedford. It’s called the Spectacle Theater. It’s BYOB and has room for an audience of 25, plus folding chairs—and there’s space up front for those who want to sit on the carpet. Real homey.
There was a nice introduction by a fellow who teaches film at The New School, David Meyer. (He also has a book out about Gram Parsons, which I’d like to check out). He told us the Stones suppressed this film as soon as it came out, showing as it did the debaucherous spectacle that was their 1972 Exile on Main Street tour. It wasn’t as lurid as I’d expected—but the Stones are almost invariably shirtless, pulling shirts (and pants) off the groupies in their bus, smoking weed (and other things) and there’s a needle scene too.
Completely unexpected, however, was the film credit to Robert Frank (yes, that Robert Frank) who filmed the whole thing, along with a team of kids armed with cameras and mics. The shots are spectacularly bad, frequently washed out, but musically there are some truly electric scenes. Go about six minutes in on this clip and you’ll see Stevie Wonder launch the Stones into ‘Satisfaction.’ A great moment in rock’n’roll.
The acoustic, country-tinged tunes on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed have always been my favorite Stones, so when Captains Dead posted this compilation of acoustic Stones studio outtakes last week, I jumped on it.
‘No Expectations’ is the cream of the crop, presented here in raw form, without the drums, Hammond or piano trills featured on the Banquet version. No studio gadgetry here, no overdubs either. To record the song, they simply set up open mics in the studio between band members and played live.
The result is an incredible open sound, where you can hear every rattle and hum of Brian Jones’ tear-jerking slide lead. And Keith backs things up on guitar, playing with the open tuning he later used for ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (also featured on this comp). Go grab it!
Beautiful, beautiful ballad, driven by fantastic dirge-like guitar work from the Stones’ Ronnie Wood. He teamed up with George Harrison on this track (it also appears on Harrison’s 1974 album Dark Horse)
The whole album’s worth a listen — an all-star 70s cast, including several Stones (Mick & Keith), Rod Stewart, George Harrison and a bunch of great session musicians. The sound is huge…reminiscent of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue.