Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Rolling Stones - Tattoo You (1981)

I'm not waiting on a lady....


Released August 1981

Recorded in sessions between 1972 and 1981

Running time 44.23

This was a not a "new" album from The Rolling Stones in that it was a collection of rejected songs that had been recorded for possible use on earlier albums, dating as far back as 1972. Having said that, they are all tracks of a high quality. In my view, there is not a duff track on there and all of them would have considerably enhanced the albums they were initially recorded for.


1. Start Me Up
2. Hang Fire
3. Slave
4. Little T & A
5. Black Limousine
6. Neighbours
7. Worried About You
8. Tops
9. Heaven
10. No Use In Crying
11. Waiting On A Friend                                            

The album's stonking, riff based opener,  Start Me Up, dated from the sessions for 1978's Some Girls and apparently started life as a laid-back reggae skanking number. Thankfully it changed over time otherwise we would have had that riff. A now iconic Stones track used either at the opening or closing of live shows.

Hang Fire dates from the same sessions and is probably the weakest track on the album  - an upbeat, almost punky rocker with some trite lyrics about nobody working hard enough in the UK. Slave dated from 1976's Black And Blue sessions and it is a tour de force - bluesy, rocky and featuring a great Jagger vocal and some excellent saxophone from Sonny Rollins too. A true high point. It would have raised the standard of Black And Blue no end.

Keith Richards' saucy Little T & A comes from 1979's Emotional Rescue sessions. It is ok, catchy enough, but, as with many of Keith's songs, it just sort of rambles gently and croakily along. From the Some Girls sessions comes the wonderful blues boogie of Black Limousine. Another high point. Another one from 1979 is the frantic vocal attack, Neighbours. The repeated title is a bit off-putting and while it seems lyrically bland, it has a breakneck punky appeal, a good vocal and an excellent Bobby Keys saxophone at the end.

Also from Black And Blue is the beautiful build-up ballad that is Worried About You, featuring some impressive piano from Billy Preston. Jagger's vocal is top notch on this too, going all falsetto at one point. Imagine Black And Blue with this and Slave on it.

Tops and the fetching Waiting On A Friend both date from 1972 and are both excellent. Mick Taylor featuring on the rocking and soulful former and some Latin-tinged, saxophone groove from The Goat's Head Soup Jamaica sessions makes for an appealing latter.

Heaven is one of those seductive Jagger "solo" numbers dating from 1979 with some hypnotic percussion and a "phasey" deliberately muffled vocal and No Use In Crying, from the same sessions, is a slow-paced, bluesy ballad with one of those instantly recognisable Jagger vocals. Has a bit of a feeling of automatic pilot about it, though. Heaven, though, is a remarkably addictive piece of work, worthy of repeated listens.

In conclusion, although not a "new" album, it certainly plays like one, to be fair, and doesn't seem like a collection of cast offs. It is by far the superior to Emotional Rescue and Undercover. It is a good album.


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