Chain Saw Massacre (Dog N Cat DAC-110)
(70:07): Wanna Hold You, Too Much Blood, Pretty Beat Up, Chain-Saw-Rocker, Too Tough, Tried To Talk Her Into It, All The Way Down, Still In Love, Tie You Up (The Pain Of Love). Bonus tracks: blues jam #1, blues jam #2, blues jam #3 (The Stumble)
Chain Saw Massacre is another in a growing list of Rolling Stones Dog N Cat releases documenting their outtakes. Like some other titles, the material on this disc comes from the very productive Undercover sessions Pathé-Marconi Studios in Boulogne Billancourt between November and December, 1992. The majority of this title comes from the vinyl release Chain Saw Massacre (Outsider Bird Records OBR 458 029) and has several blues jams included as bonus tracks.
What really makes this disc interesting is the choice of material. Several takes of all these songs exist, but Chain Saw Massacre tends to favor the earliest versions of these well known songs. All these tracks have been issued before including the well known Jamming with Stu (VGP-240) in similar sound quality.
The first three tracks are first takes of songs that would later appear on Undercover. “Wanna Hold You” has the same melody and arrangement, but there are substantial differences in the lyrics and a very lyric guitar solo in the middle. “Too Much Blood” is very long, sounding like the band is running through the rhythm and melody for one of the first times.
Jagger directs and sings lyrics that are somewhat different than the final version (although it does have the Mick Jagger “Issei Sagawa” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” narratives in the middle and various other non-sequiturs such as “I said to the one-legged woman ‘Open your legs.'”) “Pretty Beat Up” is the first instrumental take of the final version, sounding very heavy and menacing. At this point was called “Dog Shit” in the studio.
“Chain Saw Rocker” is an unreleased song that I’ve also seen under the title “Cooking Up.” It is a fast-tempo Rolling Stones rocker similar in melody to “Wanna Hold You.” Richards’ guitar is very distorted and abrasive, Ian Stewart’s piano is rollicking, and Jagger’s vocals are buried so deep in the mix it’s almost impossible to hear exactly what he’s saying.
“Too Tough” is an early version of the song with Richards singing the bridge. “Tried To Talk Her Into It” is an unreleased Jagger/Richards original. It’s a fast-paced country song with jolly piano under Richards’ jangle guitar tone.
Jagger’s vocals sound ad-libbed as he tries to talk a girl into it. It’s a fun song which is also quite rare on silver disc, being found also on Chainsaw – Undercover Outtakes Vol. II (No Label RR 12)) and No Spare Parts: Through The Vaults Darkly Volume 2 (Godfather GF 219/220).
“All The Way Down” is in a rudimentary state with half-finished lyrics, and is followed by an instrumental take of the unreleased tune “Still In Love,” a slower paced ballad. It is a good song and it’s a shame it was never finished. Several other takes can be found on Think You Like It (Dog N Cat DAC-109).
“Tie You Up (The Pain Of Love)” is a very long instrumental take. The band pound the hell out of the melody and get into an infectious groove by the end.
For bonus tracks, DAC include three blues jams from the same sessions. There is a much different feel and sound to the tape. They are much more of a rehearsal than actually written tracks. These are probably warm up exercises. The band, including Stewart on the piano, play slow blues and by the end get into the Freddie King / Sonny Thompson instrumental “The Stumble.”
All of this material can be found in other collections so Chain-Saw-Massacre itself isn’t essential. But the tracks themselves are fascinating to hear since they contain such early takes of many songs that would appear later on Undercover.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)