Big Cocksucker Blues (4 Reel Productions)
Cocksucker Blues. Bonus material: Saville Theater 1969, Australian Tour documentary 1973, various promos, Brown Sugar clip 1973, David Frost Show 1969, interviews with Mick Jagger, Mick and Bianca’s wedding
A paragraph on the back of this release says:
“With all the versions of this famous video floating around, we at 4Reel decided to put out the best possible version of Cocksucker Blues that we can find. The video and the audio are remastered entirely to achieve the highest quality. The same treatment was given to the bonus material, making this the DEFINTIVE version of Cocksucker Blues. Enjoy!!!” 4Reel Productions
Cocksucker Blues is one of the legendary hidden films. Much has been written about it, yet since it has never been legitimately released and can only be show in public once a year with the director present, not many people have seen.
And yet with the myriad about of unofficial releases it has a wide circulation. This release by 4Reel claims to be an improvement over what has come before and it is accurate. The quality will never be excellent unless the master print were used, but this edition is very good and might be the best we will ever have of it.
Quality aside, one has to question the merit of the film itself. Cocksucker Blues is reminiscent of the 1979 film Caligula. The Guccione film initially began as a serious docudrama of the reign of the Roman Emperor, written by Gore Vidal, patterned upon Robert Graves’ I, Claudius. But the influence of the Penthouse publisher transformed the movie into the most expensive hardcore porn film ever made and any point Vidal wanted to make about Roman politics was lost in the plethora of repulsive orgies.
What strikes the viewer after being bombarded with violence and perverted sex is the characters on the screen bear only a passing resemblance to actual humans. The world in which they live and the mores they live by are completely foreign to the audience resulting in making the characters a freak show.
Cocksucker Blues has the same effect concerning the Rolling Stones and their road crew. A note at the beginning carefully states that the non-musical portions of the film are staged. This is probably there to prevent prosecution more than anything else and is meant to depict what occurred during the Stones Touring Party.
This film bombards the viewer with scenes of violent sex bordering on rape by the road crew and gratuitous drug use. Intercut with this are scenes of the band in isolation. Even backstage at the Garden in New York on Mick’s birthday, where celebrities like Ahmet Ertegun, Truman Capote, and Dick Cavett lack and cohesiveness and turn out to be boring.
The movie is redeemed by the concert performances. It includes “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from the Burbank rehearsal. “Brown Sugar” comes from the Los Angeles June 11th, 1972 late show. “Midnight Rambler” is a mix of the June 25th early Houston show and the Forth Worth June 24th late show.
“All Down The Line” comes from the June 4th Seattle late show. The best footage is the “Uptight/ Satisfaction” jam with Steve Wonder from New York. Much of the time the lights saturate the screen obscuring much of the detail. Like many things, the legend of this film is more interesting than the film itself and the fact that it is available on many different titles means that anyone who wants to see it can. This edition by 4Reel does look much better than previous releases and is recommended.
There are many other bonus features that are more entertaining that the actual film. The first is the fragment from the Saville Theatre. Filmed on during the late show on December 14th, 1969, this is very good quality footage of these rare concerts.
The clip contains most of “Satisfaction,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” and about half of “Carol” before the sound cuts out. The first two songs were filmed with one stationary camera stage left. The third song begins in the same position but then there are shots from behind the stage and from the front (even after the sound cuts out). “Satisfaction” was televised on NBC in “Super Night of Rock ‘n’ Roll” on February, 1984.
Included also is the Australian Tour Documentary 1973. This contains great live clips of the band playing “Brown Sugar” and “Bitch” (both with the studio version overdubbed), as well as revealing interviews from the Melbourne press conference. This is in very good black and white.
There are five promo videos from the early seventies: “Angie,” “Dancing With Mr. D,” “Silver Train,” “Till The Next Goodbye,” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” All of these are in the best available quality and are fun to watch. Since these are relatively hard to come by it’s good that 4Reel included them.
The clip from the “David Frost Show” in 1969 includes only the Stones playing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” They also played “Honky Tonk Women” and there was an interview with Jagger, but neither of those two appear on this disc. Part of “Brown Sugar” from the September 28th, 1973 Munich show is included. This was broadcast on May 30th, 1976 on “Kaetschap.”
Finally there are interviews of Mick Jagger from both 1969 and 1971. The disc ends with never before seen private 16mm footage of Mick and Bianca’s wedding. Not that this has much to do with the Stones, but it is an interesting exercise in voyeurism. 4Reel utilized a DVD9 to accommodate all of the material and press this in the NTSC region zero for compatibility with all DVD players.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)