Place Pigalle (Vinyl Gang VGP-362)
Place Pigalle is a four disc collection featuring Rolling Stones outtakes collected over a ten year period from the early seventies to the early eighties. Most of these songs are finished songs that were never used with some being early versions of officially released material and several in studio jams.
Since most of the outtakes come from Pathé-Marconi Studio, Boulogne-Billancourt right outside of Paris, this collection is named after the famous red-light district. These tracks, however, span a range of time from the Exile On Main Street sessions in 1971 to Tattoo You in 1981.
In presenting the material in rough chronological order, the listener gains a fascinating five hour snapshot of the Stones in the studio in the seventies. Many different titles throughout the years contain some of this material and Vinyl Gang use Place Pigalle Volumes 1-4 (Save The Earth STE 015, STE 024, STE 037, STE 040) as a paradigm.
As with any collection with different sources, the sound quality varies from session to session. However, since these are all studio outtakes they are all very good to some bordering on excellent.
Disc 1 (76:28): Drift Away, Slow Down And Stop, Living In The Heart Of Love, Fast Talking Slow Walking, Separately, Waiting On A Friend, You Should Have Seen Her Ass, Save Me (Criss Cross), Wind Call, Tops, I Got A Letter, Act Together, Slave, Do You Think Really Care, Black Limousine, Everlasting Is My Love (Vocal Version), I Need You
The set begins with a cover of Dobie Gray’s 1973 hit “Drift Away.” Dating from the January 14th to 28th, 1974 sessions at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany this features Nicky Hopkins on piano, Billy Preston, and Mick Taylor on slide. “Slow Down And Stop” dates from the first sessions after the 1973 European tour from November 13th to 24th, 1973 at Musicland Studios. These sessions were done without Mick Taylor and it is thought Ron Wood participated on some nights, helping with early versions of “Black Limousine,” “If You Can’t Rock Me,” and “Fingerprint File.”
“Slow Down And Stop” is a three minute long instrumental with an country twang in the melody. “Living In The Heart Of Love” dates from the same sessions as “Drift Away” and is an unreleased precursor to “Luxury.” “Fast Talking Slow Walking” is the earliest outtake in this collection since it dates from the Exile On Main Street sessions from the summer and fall of 1971 at Villefranche-sur-mer, France.
The next three four tracks originate from the same session at Dynamic Studio in Jamaica. Lasting from November 25th to December 21st in Kingston, it was this session that produced Goats Head Soup. “Separately” is a three and a half minute instrumental with Keith, Taylor, Hopkins on piano and Jimmy Miller on percussion. This is followed by the earliest incarnation of “Waiting On A Friend,” a song that wouldn’t be released for another decade. This version is also called “Waiting On My Friend.”
“You Should Have Seen Her Ass” with a great honky tonk piano by Hopkins, and “Save Me” (aka “Criss Cross,” “Criss Cross Mind,” and “Criss Cross Man” depending upon what you think Mick is singing in the chorus) are raunchy pieces of unreleased Rolling Stones smut.
Four out of the next five tracks are from early Black And Blue sessions, from January 22nd to February 9th, 1975 with the record unit at De Doelen Studio, Rotterdam, Holland. “Wind Call” in an unusual sounding instrumental. “Tops” is an instrumental version of the Tattoo You track originating from the Kingston sessions three years before.
“I Got A Letter” is from the Rotterdam sessions in early 1975. An instrumental and a take with vocals are in circulation, but this collection has only the latter with Keith on vocals. This is latter with Keith on vocals. “Act Together” is an instrumental also from Rotterdam as is the eight minute version of “Slave.”
The final version of the song would be pared down to six and a half minutes and be augmented with Pete Townshend on backing vocals, but this version sounds like a rough run through of the melody and it is a fantastic jam session.
“Do You Think I Really Care?” is the first of the Some Girls sessions which make up the bulk of this collection. They began in late 1977 at Pathé Marconi and ran through early 1978 and are endowed with a nervous energy not found in others. In late February 1977, when the band traveled to Toronto for the El Mocambo club gigs for Love You Live, Richards was arrested and charged with drug trafficking for the amount of heroin the police found him with. This carried a potential life imprisonment if convicted and there was a real concern that might happen. They worked on approximately forty songs in various states of completion during this time and it seems most are included on this release.
There are two variations of the same take of “Do You Think I Really Care?” aka “Yellow Cab,” and “Do You Think I Saw Her?” from the January 5th to March 2nd, 1978 Pathé Marconi sessions. The first is dominated by pedal steel guitar and the second replaces that with a Fender Telecaster. Vinyl Gang include the more interesting first version.
This take of “Black Limousine” dates from the same sessions. It began as early as the November 1973 Munich sessions where it was an instrumental called “Broken Head Blues.” It was further worked on five years later in Paris during the Some Girls sessions but was finally completed in the summer 1979 Paris sessions for Emotional Rescue and would be released in 1981 on Tattoo You.
This is followed by the first of three takes of “Everlasting Is My Love” from the same sessions. This version on the first disc is the “normal vocal,” and Vinyl Gang include the other two on the next disc.
The final song on the first disc is “I Need You,” another Some Girls outtake from 1978. This first surfaced along with various instrumental versions of “Shattered” soon after the release of Some Girls. This is a good keyboard dominated track with both Mick and Keith taking turns singing.
Disc 2 (77:57): Everlasting Is My Love, No Spare Parts, Hang Fire, Black Limousine, Everlasting Is My Love #2, So Young, Some People Tell Me, When You’re Gone, Munich Hilton, You Don’t Have To Go, Shame Shame Shame, After Hours, Armpit Blues, You Win Again, Do You Get Enough, Sheep Dip Blues, Worried About You
All but the final track on disc two date from the same group of sessions beginning with the second take of “Everlasting Is My Love.” This take is sung with falsetto vocals over a slide guitar. “No Spare Parts” is a six minute long, mid temp country song.
This is followed by an early incarnation of the Tattoo You track “Hang Fire.” At this stage the chorus is the same but the verses contain different lyrics (“my old lady’s she’s such a bitch…”) “Black Limousine” appears for a second time in this set. This version is similar to the other but with a count-in and is followed by the third version of “Everlasting Is My Love.” This take has a count-in and again has falsetto vocals, something Jagger would utilize more in the 1979 sessions for Emotional Rescue.
“So Young” is a three minute song with a great riff by Ron Wood. The song ws included on the collector’s edition of the CD single “Love Is Strong” in 1994. This is the original version which first surfaced on January 1993 on Paris Results (Outsider Bird PR 1 A/PR-1 B) and has slightly different lyrics.
“Some People Tell Me” date from the 1978 Pathé Marconi sessions and is a five minute long raucous, stinging blues number with Jagger barking the incomprehensible lyrics. It’s hard to tell what he’s singing about, but he sure sounds angry! “When You’re Gone” is a four minute long mid-tempo from the same sessions featuring Jagger singing a tale of woe with “I want you” repeated in the refrain. There is a great duet between Wood and Richards on this song and is worth checking out.
“Munich Hilton” begins with Jagger speaking through the studio monitors “Christine, just put it down with Keith. Charlie, no offense.” This is the second take from the 1977 Pathé Marconi sessions and is distinguished by the use of the hi-hat.
“You Don’t Have To Go” and “Shame Shame Shame” are Jimmy Reed covers from 1978. From the same sessions is “After Hours,” a jazz piece written by Avery Parrish and this is a rare glimpse into the Stones playing something jazzy.
“Armpit Blues” is an original Jagger/Richards blues instrumental and is followed by a great cover of the Hank Williams Sr. tune “You Win Again.” The Stones always had a covert love for Country & Western which found its way onto Some Girls with “Far Away Eyes.” Here they play a straight cover of a classic track complete with pedal steel guitar.
“Do You Get Enough” is an interesting calypso tune from the 1978 sessions which the Stones never released. Its chorus, “lucky in love,” would be the name of a Jagger solo tune a decade later. “Sheep Dip Blues” is a thirty-seven second long fragment of a slow blues with harp. The second disc ends with “Worried About You” from the 1979 Pathé Marconi sessions for Tattoo You. In this version Jagger sings in falsetto vocals.
Disc 3 (75:48): Everything Is Turning To Gold, Fiji Jim, What Gives You The Right, Los Trios Guitaros, Stay Where You Are, Dancing Girls, Broken Head Blues, Up Against The Wall, Broken Toe, Golden Caddy, Golden Caddy # 2, Dancing Girls # 2, Disco Muzik, Still In Love, The Way She Held Me Tight, It’s A Lie, Never Make Me Cry
Disc three opens with a take of “Everything Is Turning To Gold” from the early Some Girls session at Pathé Marconi in 1977. A four minute version of this track appears on the greatest hits compilation Sucking In The Seventies released in April, 1981. It is a scintillating track whose beat and rhythm recall the violence of “Undercover Of The Night” and it’s a shame this song has dropped into obscurity.
“Fiji Jim” (aka “Fiji Gin” and “Come Bring Your Electric Guitar”) dates from 1978 and exists in three different versions. One fades in, the second has a count-in with the mix favoring the lead guitar and the third has the count-in but with the mix favoring the rhythm guitar. Vinyl Gang use the third take in this collection but is about ten seconds longer than on other releases.
“Light Up” comes from 1978 and is a five minute mid-tempo instrumental with a repetitive riff that grows old very fast. There is another guitar playing solos but it is buried so far down in the mix it is practically inaudible.
“What Give You The Right” exists in various takes. This is the only track on this release that comes from the August 23rd to September 8th, 1978 sessions at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, California. There are three takes and Vinyl Gang use the third take with complete lyrics and pedal steel guitar. The next nine tracks are all instrumentals.
“Los Trios Guitaros” is a three minute long instrumental from the 1977 Pathé Marconi sessions and, as the titles suggests, has Mick, Keith, and Ronnie strumming riffs together to a happy sounding beat. It is nothing noteworthy but a fun track to listen to.
The next eight instrumentals all come from the early 1978 sessions at Pathé Marconi. “Stay Where You Are” is a ninety second slow paced workout with Keith playing a distorted lead. “Dancing Girls” aka “Brown Leaves” is a three minute long fast paced tune with Watts riding the cymbals. “Broken Head Blues” is a two minute long blues piece with great solos by Ron and Keith.
“Up Against The Wall” is another blues track over a hard rock beat by Charlie lasting six minutes and features slide guitar. “Broken Toe” is a two minute long instrumental more in the vein of the classic Rolling Stones groove. The first take of “Golden Caddy” is short, almost two minutes while the second take is longer, lasting over three. This is a slow paced ballad.
The second take of “Dancing Girls” aka “Brown Leaves” is six minutes long and taken at a slightly slower tempo. “Disco Muzic” is a six minute long track that is heavy on the bass over a disco beat. Mick’s vocals are treated to an echo effect and is a simple song about liking disco music and asking the girl to “let’s go home with me.”
“Still In Love” dates from the January 18th to February 12th 1979 sessions at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, the Bahamas. This is the early work done for Emotional Rescueand this track lasts 1:48 with Jagger singing in the falsetto voice he employed at that time.
The final three tracks on the third disc all come from 1978 Pathé Marconi in 1978. “The Way She Held Me Tight” is an almost completed track including vocals. “It’s A Lie” exists in two versions. One is the “harmonica” intro but Vinyl Gang use the second, “drums intro” version in this collection. The liner notes claim “Never Make Me Cry” date from 1979 Compass Point, but in reality it dates from 1978. There are three different takes. The first has guide vocals over the instrumental, the second which is included on this release is distinguished by Jagger announcing the chord changes, and the third has an electric piano in the arrangement.
Disc 4 (78:34): Piano Instrumental, Linda Lu, Sweet Home Chicago, Dancing Girls, Muck Spreading Dub, Petrol Gang, Never Let Her Go, Guitar Session, Never Make Me Cry, It’s All Wrong, Never Too Into, It’s Cold Down There, It’s Cold Down There # 2, Guess I Should Know, Heaven, Neighbours, Slave, Waiting On A Friend
The piano instrumental is an untitled four minute piece dating from 1978. The piano takes the lead accompanied by the other instruments and is a very happy and saccharine piece of work. This is followed by five songs from the Bahamas sessions in 1979.
“Linda Lou” is a cover of the 1958 Ray Sharpe blues with a great slide guitar solo in the middle. “Sweet Home Chicago” is not a cover of the Robert Johnson classic, but sounds like an original blues with Jagger saying to his woman “I’d sure hate to see you go…sweet home Chicago.”
“Dancing Girls” first surfaced on the Lonely At The Top LP on Nonedone Records in 1982. It’s a great piece of Rolling Stones rock and roll which uses the “Brown Leaves” riff in the verses from the previous year. “Muck Spreading Dub” is a three minute long instrumental with an interesting guitar riff over a rock beat. It sounds similar to “Cellophane Trousers” and the riff was used later for “Too Tough.”
“Petrol Gang” is a rehearsal track with Ian Stewart on bar room piano and Jagger on vocals. The lyrics deal with the then current energy crisis which is applicable today. “Please Mr. President, say it isn’t so / And I have a buck till I’m on duct ten row / Please Mr. President, say it isn’t so / I don’t wanna, pay $10.00 for gas / I got nowhere to go… I talk to Mr. Getty I talk to Texaco / I talk to Standard Oil / They say they got plenty to go..oh / Please Mr. President, say it isn’t so / I don’t have to sell my Cadillac that I, just paid for / I just paid for…”
“Never Let Her Go” comes from the 1978 sessions and the melody and chords sounds very similar to George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun.” It is a sunny little number which they probably didn’t release to avoid plagiarism.
“Guitar Lesson” comes from 1979 is a four minute long instrumental with Wood playing in the style of guitarist Dick Dale.
“Never Make Me Cry” is attributed to 1979 on the liner notes but really dates from 1978. It is a different take found on disc three with a short count in. The sound quality is slightly more hissy than the other version. The following five tracks all come from the 1979 sessions and are all very interesting pieces of work. “It’s All Wrong” is a very primitive sounding demo of a song that was never completed. It has a fast tempo and could have been a fantastic rocker.
“Never Too Into” is a five minute long, fantastic sounding rehearsal with Keith mumbling some lyrics. The first take of the instrumental “It’s Cold Down There” is three and a half minute mid-tempo funk work out. The second take is a minute and a half take of the same tune but with the tempo in double time. Finally “Guess I Should Know” is a four minute long slow paced song in which the lyrics are buried down in the mix.
The next three songs originate from the 1980 Pathé Marconi sessions. “Heaven” is an early take with guide vocals. There is another version from these sessions with the lyrics as found on Tattoo You but is not included in this collection. “Neighbours” is a rough sounding take with different solos and with an out of tune saxophone in the solo.
“Slave” is the same long version found on disc one but with a short count-in and in inferior quality. The final song in the collection is a take of “Waiting On A Friend” dating from the April to June 1981 sessions in Paris and at Atlantic Studios in New York.
Place Pigalle isn’t comprehensive since there are many more outtakes from the seventies and eighties in circulation. But focus, for the most part, upon the one studio they used more than any other in that time period, it works as a crash course in the work the Stones were doing in studio in preparation for their official studio output.