Sticky Fingers Alternatives (SODD 106)
(75:41): Brown Sugar (Early-Vocal), Sway (Recorded in Stargroves Studios in Newbury), Wild Horses (Alternate version from February 1970’s session at Olympic Studios), Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Another mix), You Gotta Move (1970 and finally made it onto Sticky Fingers in 1971), Bitch (Mono-Mix), I Got The Blues (Mono-Monitor-Mix), Sister Morphine (Basic-Stereo-Mix), Dead Flowers (Another mix), Moonlight Mile (Another mix), Cocksucker Blues (Originates from the mid-seventies), Let It Rock (Live at Leeds 7″ Original mono mix), Satisfaction (Rare live outtake from the legendary Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out live album from 1970), Good Time Woman (A/K/A “Tumblin’ Dice” Early-Version), Silver Train (Early-Version), All Down The Line (Early-Rehearsal), Brown Sugar (Alternate-Mix), Brown Sugar (Mono-Single-Mix)
The recording for Sticky Fingers covered a very long time span in the Rolling Stones’ career. The earliest work goes back to the Let It Bleed sessions in early 1969 when “Sister Morphine” was recorded. More work was done in December that year at Muscle Shoals in Alabama, throughout 1970 in Olympic studio with the final touches made in January 1971.
At at time when the Stones were entering a troubled adolescence, making the transition from pop act to psychedelia to dangerous on-the-edge blues and social commentary, Stick Fingersstands out as among their darkest creations. Stephen Thomas Erlewine writing for Allmusic points out, “Sticky Fingers manages to have a loose, ramshackle ambiance that belies both its origins and the dark undercurrents of the songs. It’s a weary, drug-laden album – well over half the songs explicitly mention drug use, while the others merely allude to it – that never fades away, but it barely keeps afloat.”
While Rolling Stonegave it a mixed review, calling “Brown Sugar” in particular “middle-level Rolling Stones competence. The lowpoints aren’t that low, but the high points, with one exception, aren’t that high. As to the performance itself, the chords, harmony, and song are powerful stuff. The instrumentation however, is too diffuse, occasionally undermining the vocals instead of supporting them.”
Sticky Fingers Alternatives is a new collection by SODD meant to present some of the better documents from this era. Nothing on this release is new, but it does offer a convenient order for enjoying the alternate takes of the material. There collection appropriately begins with “Brown Sugar” with an alternate vocal including Roy Orbison style interjections. The disc closes with two more versions of the track. “Brown Sugar” (alternate mix) is the same stereo take from the album but with subtle differences with the volume of the guitars, with a pretty little Mick Taylor solo at the end which was edited out of the released track, and lacking the saxophone. The final “Brown Sugar” is the mono single mix.
“Sway,” “Wild Horses,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Dead Flowers,” and “Moonlight Mile” are all the same takes for Sticky Fingersbut with noticeable differences in the mix in either the vocals, guitars or other instruments.
The rest of the disc contains tracks that were recorded during these sessions but are either unreleased or were reworked for later releases. “Cocksucker Blues” was recorded in 1970 as the final single for Decca, intentionally obscene to anger the record company. It was only ever officially released in West Germany in the 80s but has since been discontinued. The sound quality of the track on SODD is excellent.
“Let It Rock” was recorded at Leeds in 1971 and was only issued as a B-side to “Brown Sugar” and has never been included on any of their compilations. It is included here in excellent sound quality. “Satisfaction” is an outtake from Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out recorded in New York in November 1969 and released in 1970. “Good Time Woman” is the first take of “Tumblin’ Dice” and “All Down The Line” is a radically different arrangement than would appear on Exile On Main Street.
Overall the sound quality on this release is excellent, but most Stones collectors already have this material on other titles. But for those who do not have these tracks, this is a nice compilation of very common material.
Just noticed I should have written Santanaesque in case anyone is wondering.
Hi roertd7: Regarding the alt mix of “Can’t You Her My Knocking,” I honestly cannot hear the difference in the mix. The version on this release is one second longer than the official release but I can’t hear any differences. Perhaps if someone with better ears than me can hear can post his observations.
All of this material has been around for a long time, though I didn’t know there was an alternative mix to Can’t You Hear Me Knocking. I recall reading somewhere that Mick Taylor kicked in with his Sanataesque guitar solo and caught the band unawares and they had to stay with him. He added that there was only ever one take so what this alternate mix sound like will be interesting to hear.