Trident Demos (Dog N Cat DAC-123)
Disc 1 (66:15): Travelin’ Man, Leather Jacket, Jiving Sister Fanny, Give Me A Hamburger To Go, Dancing In The Light, I’m Going Down, Blood Red Wine, Potted Shrimp, Downtown Suzie, Save Me, Aladdin Story, Family, Still A Fool, And I Was A Country Boy, Sleepy City
Disc 2 (47:00): Who Am I?, Trident Jam, Memo From Turner, I Don’t Know Why, Too Many Cooks, Family, instrumental, Soul Survivor, I’m Not Signifying, All Down The Line, Rocks Off, Rip This Joint
The Rolling Stones’ transition with their new guitarist Mick Taylor is an interesting period. It was a time when they were progressing into social commentary and maturing into a guitar based rock and roll band. The so called Trident demos have been in circulation since the seventies with several releases on vinyl and, in the past twenty-five years, on compact disc.
Dog N Cat released much of this material several years ago on The Trident Mixes (Dog N Cat DAC-52). Their new release Trident Demos covers the same ground but with additional songs. For the Trident tracks, it follows the old vinyl release Trident Demos 1969 (Chelsea Records 2R-68).
“Travelin’ Man” is another unreleased song recorded at Olympic in October, 1970. “Leather Jacket,” recorded on June 22nd, 1970 at Olympic Studio in London, is a lighthearted and infectious pop instrumental whose sunniness is outside the pale of the Stones.
“Jiving Sister Fanny” was recorded on July 2nd, 1969 at Olympic Studio, the day before Brian Jones died. Two versions with different lyrics were recorded that day. This is the rarer of the two, having appeared on some pressings of Metamorphosis while the second take appears on most pressings of the album and on the London Years.
“Hamburger To Go” (aka “Give Me A Hamburger To Go” and “Stuck Out Alone”) dates from sessions at Olympic from March and April, 1968 and remains unreleased. “Dancing In the Light,” dating from the spring of 1970, is another upbeat instrumental but with some recognizable Stones raunch.
“I’m Going Down” was initially worked on between April 17th to July 1969 at Olympic Studio and later right before the US tour from October and November, 1969 in Los Angeles. This take, which was also used for Metamorphosis in 1975, dates from July 14th and July 15th, 1970 at Olympic. This track differs from the commercial version by having a false start. This track features Bobby Keys on sax, Rocky Dijon on percussion, Stephen Stills on guitar, and Bill Plummer on upright bass.
“Blood Red Wine” was recorded May, 1968 at Olympic Studio. Jagger sings the vocals, Nicky Hopkins plays piano, and no other information is available. It has never been released which is a shame because it is the most intriguing song in this collection.
“Potted Shrimp” and “Aladdin Story” come from the same time period as “Leather Jacket” but recorded at Stargroves. ”Downtown Susie” is a Bill Wyman tune recorded on April 23rd, 1969 at Olympic Studio and is the same as the version on Metamorphosis except is shorter at the fade by five seconds.
The first version of “Family” dates from May, 1968 in Olympic and it the arrangement with the electric guitar. The acoustic guitar arrangement which would appear on Metamorphosis would be recorded the following month. “Still A Fool” was recorded at the same sessions and is a ten minute jam on the Muddy Waters tune. Jagger tries his best to sing like the blues singer too.
“Who Am I?” (aka “See I Love You”) is a true mystery. It is listed on this release as being from Olympic Studio in March to May 1970. Others sources say late 1969 and even others from Jamaica 1972 and still others claim it comes from 1963 because of its simplicity. The best sources say it was recorded on July 14th – 15th, 1970. The final Trident jam is another mystery. There is no name associated with it and was never used by the band.
“Too Many Cooks” is an interesting inclusion in this set. Technically, it’s a Mick Jagger recording, not Rolling Stones. It was recorded in December 1973 at the Record Plant in Los Angeles and was produced by John Lennon and features guitarists Danny Kortchmar and Jesse Ed Davis, keyboardist Al Kooper, bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Jim Keltner and, on backing vocals, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson.
Neither Lennon nor Bill Wyman, who was present at the session, appear on the track. It’s a fascinating excursion into funk the likes of which the Stones would never attempt. It can be found on The Very Best of Mick Jagger released in 2007.
The final six tracks are the “Nicky Hopkins Tape.” These date from the Exile On Main Street sessions in 1971. The sound quality is less than the other recordings. They are more dull, but still listenable.
It starts off with a seven-minute long unreleased instrumental. It is a slow to mid tempo tune dominated by slide guitars and piano over the heavy rhythm section. The main melody breaks several times into a gorgeous piano interlude and into one featuring the slide guitar.
The other tracks, “Soul Survivor,” “I’m Not Signifying,” “All Down The Line,” “Rocks Off” and “Rip This Joint” are all instrumental takes of the songs that would be released in 1972 (except for “I’m Not Signifying,” which would come out in 2009 with a new vocal track.)
Trident Demos is a strange release on many levels. DAC released much of it before in similar sound quality, and the bonus tracks (including “Too Many Cooks”) come many years after. I’m not sure what is achieved. It’s a good way to obtain this material for those who don’t have it, but otherwise this isn’t essential.