Voodoo Early (SODD-107)
(76:08): Love Is Strong, You Got Me Rockin’, Sparks Will Fly, The Worst, New Faces, Moos Is Up, Out Of Tears, I Go Wild, Brand New Car, Sweethearts Together, Suck On The Jugular, Blinded By Rainbows, Baby Break It Down, Thru And Thru, Mean Disposition, The Storm
Over the past year SODD have been busy releasing studio based titled featuring alternate takes from the Rolling Stones’ well known albums. Voodoo Early focuses upon the Grammy winner Voodoo Lounge, released in 1994. The ultimate collection of Voodoo Lounge outtakes and sessions are found in the two massive boxsets Voodoo Brew (Vigotone VIGO 147-150) and Voodoo Stew (Vigotone VIGO 152-155). These two gorgeously packaged sets set a high standard for the hobby and are absolutely essential to any Rolling Stones collection.
Voodoo Early is essentially a reissue of the first disc of Voodoo Brew titled The Alternate Voodoo Lounge (VIGO 147) along with “The Storm” from Rehearsals, Alternate Mixes & Early Versions (VIGO 150). The sound quality is comparable too so for those who already own the out-of-print Vigotone boxsets do not need this title. However, for those do not, this is a good overview of an alternate look at the album.
It follows the same sequence as the released LP. “Love Is Strong” is slightly extended with an additional instrumental section. It lacks background vocals, guitar overdubs, and has a different mix on the vocals. “You Got Me Rockin'” is essentially the same except extra guitars overdubbed in the mix. “Sparks Will Fly” is identical to the final version found on Voodoo Lounge except for very subtle differences in the mix.
“The Worst” has a different vocal take, is missing Jagger’s backing vocal, and has an extra instrumental bridge featuring the pedal steel guitar which contributes an additional forty seconds to the song and is followed by “New Faces” which has a count-in. “Moon Is Up” is also identical to the commercial version except is missing the castanets.
“Out Of Tears” has faint conversations at the very beginning buried under the piano. This take also lacks backing vocals and some guitar overdubs. “I Go Wild” follows which is a slightly slower tempo, lacks backing vocals and has only one rhythm guitar in the mix. “Brand New Car” is extended by forty-five seconds and features Keith on backing vocals.
“Sweethearts Together” misses the accordion but has backing vocals and a fiddle in the mix. “Suck On The Jugular” has different guitar overdubs, and additional keyboard and speaking in the background before the group chorus. “Blinded By Rainbows” is missing some guitar overdubs but otherwise is almost identical to Voodoo Lounge.
“Baby Break It Down” is also very similar to the final version but is extended by two minutes past the fade on the studio cut, so there are several more minutes of Jagger singing “Long way to go / You’ve got a long way to go…”
Richard’s “Thru And Thru” is extended by almost two and a half minutes. It features a haunting, unsettling synthesizer melody and ghostly piano faint in the background and some added effects and missing backing vocals. This version is more effective than the released version and is close to being a masterpiece in moodiness.
“Mean Disposition” is identical to the released version but shortened slightly, and the single “The Storm” has an acoustic slide track audible in the right channel and vocal reverb that’s not present on the single. Voodoo Early, while isn’t a replacement for the giant box sets that were released fifteen years ago, is certainly a good one disc reduction of the interesting alternate takes for the songs that appear on the album. The sound quality is extremely good and the sequencing is very enjoyable.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)