The Rolling Stones – Frankfurt 1976 (No Label)

RS F76-F

The Rolling Stones, ‘Frankfurt 1976’ (No Label)

Honky Tonk Women / If You Can’t Rock Me – Get Off Of My Cloud / All Down The Line / Hand of Fate / Hey Negrita / Ain’t Too Proud To Beg / Fool To Cry / Hot Stuff / Star Star / You Gotta Move / You Can’t Always Get What You Want / Band introductions / Happy / Nothing From Nothing / Outta Space / Midnight Rambler (76:37)

It’s Only Rock n’ Roll / Brown Sugar / Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Street Fighting Man – Stereo Soundboard Recording – Honky Tonk Women / If You Can’t Rock Me – Get Off Of My Cloud / All Down The Line / Hand of Fate / Hey Negrita / Ain’t Too Proud To Beg / Fool To Cry / Hot Stuff / Star Star / You Gotta Move (Intro only) (63:28)

Live at FestHalle, Frankfurt, Germany, 29th April, 1976.

Released in mid 2016, this new variation of an oft bootlegged (incomplete) show was a brand new find – a lower generation cassette recording of one of the Stones first shows (The second date) on their European tour of 1976. It was bootlegged with a colourful cover on CDR as soon as it was discovered, hence, this version is the first silver pressing of the upgrade. The No Label gang have decided not to remaster the tape, leaving it as it is. I fiddled with the EQ on my stereo system from the start and up until half way through ‘If You Can’t Rock Me’ to bounce up the bass a little and to add a little leverage and body to the listening experience.

Also including the Billy Preston guest slot, the show is again, very nearly complete – the only things missing is a minute in the middle of ‘All Down The Line’ (Too early for a tape flip surely?) which is replaced with part of the soundboard and a missing end to ‘You Gotta Move’ (Strange that both this recording and the soundboard are missing their latter parts!)

The first part of the audience recording is surprisingly loud, atmospheric and sharp, in glorious pseudo-stereo, beginning around a full minute before the Stones join the stage – it was still recorded a distance from the speakers however and so the loudest thing you hear is Jagger’s vocal, Keith and Charlie are just about apparent, Ronnie a little less so, Bill might as well have gone home.
Unless the soundman had had a late night the night before, there are problems with the levels of Keith’s guitar too as it comes crashing in to ‘if You Can’t Rock Me’ at certain times before flattening out again.

You’ll detect the odd whistle, clap or jeer throughout before the fixed minute, after that, the tape really bulks up and becomes much more fully rounded, the instrumentation sounds much more evened out and finally we get a more even stereo mix which certainly makes this recording worth sticking with but it does slide in to tinny again before the end and loses a lot of it’s bassiness.

The soundboard recording, long used for recordings such as Vigotone’s, ‘Live In Frankfurt 1976’ (VT-CD 10) and VGP’s, “Hear The Whistle Blow” (VGP 268) begins around 16 seconds before the band join the stage and thus features the bands introduction as they arrive. A rather dry presentation, the band may as well be rehearsing on an empty stage – the energy is there but the audience are barely audible – Neither is Mick for the first part of ‘If You Can’t Rock Me’ as he’s having some serious mic problems.

While, again, this is no Earls Court, Paris or Knebworth, for the soundboard experience and the upgrade to the audience recording (No matter how hit and miss that is) this is a very good addition to the catalogue if not exceptionally essential.

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