Rolling Stones – In The Park 1969 (SODD 015)

In The Park 1969 (SODD 015)

Hyde Park, London, England – July 5th, 1969
Eulogy For Brian Jones, I’m Yours And I’m Hers, Jumping Jack Flash, Mercy Mercy, Stray Cat Blues, No Expectations, I’m Free, Down Home Girl, Love In Vain, Loving Cup, Honky Tonk Women, Midnight Rambler, Satisfaction, Street Fighting Man, Sympathy For The Devil

What was supposed to be the first Rolling Stones gig featuring their new guitar player Mick Taylor turned out to serve a completely different purpose with the death of Brian Jones two days before the free concert in Hyde Park. The emotion of the day carried the band through out of tune instruments, a lousy PA and being upstaged (musically) by a young King Crimson to produce one of the most memorable concert experiences in the archives. Unofficial releases surfaced first on vinyl on In Concert 1969 (Diamond Sound), Hyde Park July 1969 (Contraband), Hyde Park, England 1969 (MTR-2) a copy of the Contraband, and Free Concert Hyde Park.

On CD it has seen released on Hyde Park 1969 (TSP-CD-023-2), Hyde Park 1969 (BG-013), Hyde Park 1969 (Vulture Records Vulture 003), Stones In The Park on Living Legend (LLRCD-032), Stones In The Park on World Productions (WPOCM-0789-D-027-2), Hyde Park 1969 (BonBon 844738-2), Stones In The Park (VGP 296), Highway To Heaven (DWP 007) and In Memory Of (Crazy Mama). Most of these were sourced from the television broadcast which is good although “boomy” in places. A very good mono incomplete audience recording surfaced several years ago and was released by Scorpio on In The Park (SCRD-001).

There are three different sources for this show. The first source is a mono recording from Grenada television and this source includes “I’m Yours And I’m Hers”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “I’m Free”, “Love In Vain”, “Honkey Tonk Women”, “Midnight Rambler”, “Satisfaction”, “Street Fighting Man”, and “Sympathy For The Devil”. “Midnight Rambler”, “Satisfaction”, “I’m Yours And I’m Hers”, and “Street Fighting Man” are incomplete. The second source is a stereo FM radiobroadcast which contains “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Mercy Mercy”, “Stray Cat Blues”, “No Expectations”, “I’m Free”, “Love In Vain”, “Loving Cup”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Midnight Rambler”, “Street Fighting Man”, and “Sympathy For The Devil”. The introduction is cut and has DJ chatter in several tunes. The third source is an incomplete mono audience recording from “I’m Yours And I’m Hers”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Mercy Mercy”, “Stray Cat Blues”, “No Expectations”, “I’m Free”, “Down Home Girl”, “Love In Vain”, “Loving Cup”, and “Honky Tonk Women”.

The SODD release is a mixture of all three offering a complete aural picture of the event. The beginning of the tape comes from the video source. “I’m Yours and I’m Hers” also comes from the video source. “Jumping Jack Flash” is a combination of the video and FM sources. “Mercy Mercy” comes from the FM source except for the introduction, which comes from the audience recording. “Stray Cat Blues”, “No Expectations” (and is placed in its proper place in the set list. Other releases place it after “Jumping Jack Flash”) and “I’m Free” likewise are sourced from the FM recording. “Down Home Girl” comes from the audience recording. “Love In Vain” and “Loving Cup” (introduced under its original name “Give Me A Drink”) all come from the FM tape.

“Honky Tonk Women” begins with the FM source but changes to the video source when the drums enter. “Midnight Rambler” is mostly from the FM source with the video source edited in the middle after four minutes to eliminate the DJ chatter. The song is musically complete although the effect is a bit jarring. “Satisfaction” comes from the video source. The final two numbers, “Street Fighting Man” and “Sympathy For The Devil” both come from the FM source. On the tape after the final song there is a British narrator speaking about the impact of the event and the magnitude of the crowd who all came out on that day to see the Stones and pay tribute to the memory of Jones.

This was the first live performance by the band since filming The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus on December 12th, 1968 and is ragged. After Jagger gives an emotional reading from Shelley’s poem “Adonis” they play a set that has some similarities to the one used on their US tour later in the year. “I’m Yours And I’m Hers”, “Mercy Mercy”, “No Expectations”, “Down Home Girl”, and “Loving Cup” (announced as a new song to appear on their next album but wouldn’t until 1972’s Exile On Main Street) would be dropped.

The highlights are really contained in the end of the show with mesmerizing performances of “Midnight Rambler” and “Street Fighting Man” and a seventeen-minute version of “Sympathy For The Devil”. The band were joined onstage by Ginger Johnson’s African Drummers and contains some of the longest jams the band performed on that song. SODD limits this release to five hundred copies with the first two hundred coming with a bonus cdr of an acetate of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out. However the Hyde Park performance is the center concern of this release and this edition is fantastic. The edits are very nicely handled and this is definitely worth having.

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