30 May 2009

Loved it at 18; Still Love it at 52: "It's Only Rock 'n Roll" ... Stones

It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974)
The Rolling Stones

.... If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust
Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?
If I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would ya think the boy's insane? He's insane. ....
(from title track)

Yea, Jagger's seen enough of these cloeing fans to take a tongue-in-cheek shot at them.

I just replaced this album after 25 long years passing since I last owned it. And my reaction was just as I hoped: Temps cover Ain't Too Proud to Beg rocks just as hard as it did, and Dance Little Sister's masterful
riff (Clapton praised it glowingly) undergirding Mick Taylor's lead fills, turning a hot song to a scorcher, all enhanced by the remastered sound.

And the real test: I've been spinning the disc almost daily for the few weeks I've had it. And enjoying every song ('cept maybe Short and Curlies, a lyrical throw-away with nothing innovative about the music.)

I love it so much it makes me wanna be a rock and roll guitar player (again), specifically one of the crowd of guitarists on the title track, It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It).

And the lyrics, the stories Jagger tells here -- the rockers grab you and throw you into the wall to get you to sing / growl along. And the tender ballads excel because they are wiped clean of sentimentality. These are realistic love affairs, with unkind women populating Jagger's world.

On It's Only Rock n' Roll, this blues-band-at-its-core shows there stuff as mature pop artists, now in the business of selling records and building their reputation of blue eyed soul men.

Still to come was the "mid-life" crisis the band would face once Ronnie got settled in as their second guitar player and The Glimmer Twins began acting like a married couple that needed a break. (I myself, I'm on Keith's side of this fight -- anyone would have to fight to survive with Jagger's crushing ego in the room.

Here we have Mick Taylor and Richards growing apart as players, but still playing together like nobody else (If You Can't Rock Me ) is a good example from this record; 3 of the Stones' most recent 4 albums were highlighted by Taylor's work with either Mick or Keith or both).

One more note from me, with a strong endorsement to check this CD out: the American kids too young for the
Viet Nam draft are also to young to have followed the career of the early Stones. It was albums like "It's Only Rock 'n Rock" and Some Girls (1978) that brought the kids who grew up on 70s music into an entirely new Stones fan base. 'And we like it, like it, yes we do.'


whiteray said...

Good assessment of an album that I tend to forget about when I think about the Stones. I'll have to go back and give it a listen. (Email me, Paco, at whiteray2 at yahoo dot com, for some news on Pacific Gas & Electric.)

Paco Malo said...

P,G & E -- I'm ready!