What's your favourite flavour? Cherry red....
Released December 1969
Recorded in London and Los Angeles
Running time 42.21
The Rolling Stones said goodbye to the decade that spawned them, the sixties, with another of their "big four" albums that straddled the turn of the decade that had begun so successfully with the previous year's blues rock masterpiece that was the magnificent Beggars' Banquet. With the emphasis a bit more towards "rock" than "blues" on this album, it is pretty much the equal of "BB" in many ways.
1. Gimme Shelter
2. Love In Vain
3. Country Honk
4. Live With Me
5. Let It Bleed
6. Midnight Rambler
7. You Got The Silver
8. Monkey Man
9. You Can't Always Get What You Want
The Stones were now firmly established a the masters of riff-domniated rock with a bluesy touch and this is exemplified magnificently in the iconic opener, Gimme Shelter. With a mesmeric opening guitar part and some typically drawled vocals from Mick Jagger it is a true tour de force. Certainly one of their best ever intros. A candidate for The Stones' best ever track. Love In Vain is a convincing return to the Delta blues style of the previous album, all acoustic and wailing, twanging bottleneck guitars and laid back bluesy vocals - "All your love's in voin". One of The Stones' best ever blues. If not the best. Keith Richards' blues from later in the album, You Got The Silver is from the same mould. Country Honk sees a re-adoption of the country rock, Americana-influenced style used on the previous album's Factory Girl. Here is produces a backwoods fiddle-dominated version the non-album hit single, Honky Tonk Woman. Nowhere near as good as the single, but it somehow fits the album and, to be honest I prefer it used here to using the single version.
The album's big blues rock anthem is the sprawling menacing Midnight Rambler with Jagger and guitarist Mick Taylor on superb form. Just check out that insistent, rumbling drum/guitar/harmonica intro. Just before this mighty track are two wonderful rockers - the leery Live With Me with its thumping drum sound and the acoustic/piano/drums of the the lazily lusty Let It Bleed. Again, Jagger's odd phrasing is to the fore as on "BB" - "we all need somewoh-an to lean o-wan". His sometimes quite ludicrous voice is perfect though, it wouldn't be the same with anyone else, or indeed anywoh-an else. Similarly Monkey Man ("Monn-kayy My-een") is just as it should be on another of the album's copper-bottomed Stones down 'n' dirty rockers. That sort of sums this album up - it certainly is down 'n' dirty, axle-grease caked blues rock. Indeed, Jagger refers to "my dirty, filthy basement" in Let It Bleed. It sounds like the whole album was recorded in that basement.
Then there is one more genuine Stones anthem to end proceedings, the even mightier You Can't Always Get ("git") What You Want - an extended rock anthem with build-up shades of Jimi Hendrix's The Wind Cries Mary and an invigorating gospel choir massive, dramatic ending.
The Rolling Stones at their absolute best.
Finally, there is a mono edition of this album in The Rolling Stones In Mono box set. Don't even think about it. Stereo every time for this one.