Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Rolling Stones - Ladies & Gentlemen - The Rolling Stones (1972)


  

The Rolling Stones at one of their live peaks - playing material from the late sixties/early seventies albums with a verve, vigour and energy pretty much unrivalled in their long career. The set list contains not too many rarities though, save Chuck Berry's "Bye Bye Johnny". "Dead Flowers" has some excellent guitar and Jagger's best lazy, affected vocal. A highlight is an authentic, bluesy "Love In Vain", with some raw, dirty guitar and a real "live" sound to it. Therein lies a lot of the appeal of this album - its unpolished, rootsy energy. There are some great horns bits near the end of "Vain", and at the beginning of a rough and ready "You Can't Always Get What You Want". Down 'n' dirty, industrial Stones at their best.

The sound quality is a little bit hit and miss, to be honest - raw and edgy and a little bit hissy, but somehow it doesn't matter.  It has a good, deep bass sound but there are slightly muffled moments, at times. There is, however, a good "up for it" live atmosphere to the set.

Apparently, because it was originally recorded to be played through cinema speakers as opposed to home stereo systems, there is precious little stereo separation and the sound does not transfer over quite as well as it might. "Street Fighting Man", for example, is huge, bass-wise (as too is "Tumbling Dice") and has an aggressive attack in delivery, but there is still something just a bit dense about the sound, especially in comparison to many of the other live albums. That said, the sound just seems to suit the raw, bluesy sound of "Midnight Rambler", which is great on here. "Bitch" too just blows you away with its grubby, greasy, punchy appeal, as does "Rip This Joint". "Gimme Shelter" is simply magnificent, with a superb intro.

There are far better live albums from this era for sound, however. Check out the reviews of the "From The Vault" series. Also, the Leeds University Set from the "Sticky Fingers" "deluxe edition".

B+

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