The Rolling Stones, ‘Fully Finished Studio Outtakes’ (Black Frisco records BFR 101-103)
CD 1, Volume 1 (Time 79:20)
Nobody Perfect / Troubles-a-Coming . Dreams To Remember / Don’t Lie To Me / Fiji Jim / Eliza Upchink / Deep Love / She’s Doing Her Thing / Putty in Your Hands / Dog Shit / 20 Nil / Tell Her How It Is / You Better Stop That / Scarlett . Walk With Me Wendy / Never Make You Cry / Part Of The Night / Low Down
Volume 2 (Time 74:32) – It’s A Lie / I Can’t See No One Else / Not The Way To Go / Giving It Up / Hands Off / Built That Way / Keep It Cool / Can’t Find Love / You Win Again / Blood Red Wine / Fast Talking, Slow Walking / Cooking Up / Everytime I Break Her Heart / Dream About / Flip The Switch
CD 3, Volume 3 (Time 78:17) – Sanctuary / Desperate Man / Prairie Man / Living The Heart Of Love / Still In Love With You / I Tried To Talk Her In To It / Might As Well Get Juiced / Too Many Cooks / Curtis Meets Smokey / Covered In Bruises / Ivy League / Too Tight / Criss Cross / Strictly Memphis / It’s Only Rock and Roll / Studio Jam Session (Extreme Western Grip) / Studio Jam Session (Well Well).
I’ll preface this review in full by stating – BUY IT! A bold request but having heard this set a couple of times now, I believe it’s more than substantiated and deserved of a spot on your shelves.
According to a list on the IORR forum, we have been spoiled for releases from the Rolling Stones as of the past few years – Certainly not so much officially unless you count the various live releases, the BBC sessions, greatest hits and THAT, admittedly, very good single as gold, but unofficially, we’ve had Foxes in the Boxes, The Art Collins Tapes, the sessions from 2002, all of which popped up, relatively unannounced on the internet. The bootleggers caught up quickly in issuing these sets – sometimes remastering their captures – on silverdisk.
This release heralds the first time in a while that the the bootleggers have beaten the heads and got their wares out first and, damn, what a cache this is – If you’re a light water Stones fan, you’ll be unawares of what most of these songs are, if you’re a deep-end Stones fan, you’ll no doubt be thrilled at the contents as some of these titles have only been hinted at over on Nzentgraf, Nico’s exhaustive efforts to catalogue the Stones inventory and some of them have popped up here, confusingly, with different titles.
I’ll attempt to sort between what we’re listening to in this review and it’s ‘working’ title, however, the forums are your best place for a more dedicated and specific detailing of the studio sessions, should you require.
Pull up a chair, pop on your headphones – 50 tracks deep, this might take a while.
For clarity from the covers, the date listed after the song title is the one claimed by the bootlegger, I’ve placed the best guess and the track timing after each description.
CD 1, VOLUME 1 (TIME 79:20)
NOBODY PERFECT, ca. 1975 – Apparently from the Black and Blue sessions, I would argue that this track has much more of an 80’s feel, the production a give away – That and the drive of Charlie’s drumming. Both Ronnie and Keith’s licks playfully lap against each other. (1985 – 4:02)
TROUBLE’S A COMING, 1972 – Not 1972, surely but from much later in the decade. An incredible, insistent groove with a solid March – The chorus is fantastic in and of it’s own! Jagger’s vocals are mixed much lower in the mix than they should be so assume this to be an earlier rehearsal / working take that never came to fruition. Previously released as ‘Break Away’ – an embryonic version – on VGP’s ‘The Pain Of Love’ (1979 – 4:41)
DREAMS TO REMEMBER, Ca. 1983 – A classic Stones take on country tonk, Jaggers vocals are variously spoken and screamed while the band barroom it up in the background. The guitar licks flicker and squeak while the whole track has a cataclysmic tone of collapse. A certain 1970’s sound in the vein of John Lennon’s ‘Walls and Bridges’ album (1982 – 7:43)
DON’T LIE TO ME, 1972 – No, not that one but an 80’s version instead. Very interesting lyrics referencing a “Monkey Man”, this is in the very same style as ‘Troubles A Coming’ (Track 2) (1985 – 2:08)
FIJI JIM, 1978 – Originally heard on boots such as ‘Palace Pigalle’ (VGP), ‘Paris Outtakes Vol.2’ (Vigotone), ‘Hot Stuff Two’ (Great Dane) and several hundred more, this take is at the later stages of production (1977 – 3:38)
ELIZA UPCHINK, 1983 – Regards a certain lady of no scrupels, this dash of blues runs slightly longer than previously bootlegged at 4:38. (1982 – 4:47)
DEEP LOVE, 1985 – A deep and funky, loose guitar driven track from the Dirty Work sessions. Keith veers between roar and growl with his vocals. (1985 – 3:45)
SHE’S DOING HER THING, 1967 – Sorry? It sounds very much like a TMSR outtake – Fey 60’s Newleyisms, whistling, a jumpy mix between early Stones but with a psychedelic, whispy organ in the back ground. It IS one of those tracks that’ll have you sit, raise your eyebrows and mutter, ‘wow’. As you realise that, as Kinksian as it is, it would have made a belter or a B, arguably, A-side in 1967 without distracting from sales of the album. this has also appeared before on boot as ‘Title 15’, without vocals (1967 – 3:02)
PUTTY IN YOUR HANDS,1982 – Soul styled romp with Keith staring just as closely as Mick’s bellowed vocals. This track has as much sass as the girl who’s leading Mick around and up and down. It’s a cover-version of a Chirelles track from 1962 and makes a good fist of attempting to sound like it might. (1985 – 3:07)
DOG SHIT, 1983 – I guess you’d rather putty in your hands rather than the alternative but this track, which made it’s inaugural appearance on ‘Foxes In The Boxes’ as a thrilling instrumental now features vocals. A storming horn lead thruster with an insatiable appetite for longevity (Sounds about right, eh?) is far too good to have been left by the side of the road but here we are. (1983 – 6:05)
20 NIL, ca 1991 – A dusty little piece from the Voodoo Brew sessions (I wonder how deep THAT well is?) – It fits well of the time and would still sound amazing now. An extended, indieish into leads in to an almost primal squall from Mick while Ronnie and Keith ad-lib in the background, taking turns at stripping off levels of slow-burn guitar. (1997 – 5:43)
TELL HER HOW IT IS, 1971 – OK, you’ll hit the first few notes of this very well known bootleg placement (Otherwise known as ‘Potted Shrimp’), it’s upgraded – not by a million miles, accepted, but it’ll be an upgrade, that’s good enough, surely? No! 0.17 in – vocals! Much like the Exile tracks that got us stoked on the deluxe treatment of a few years earlier, this track is now replete with an extra pinch of Jagger salt and he sounds crazed! The vocals are of the fact that they sound vintage enough to be of the time – The beauty of looking after your voice for the past 60 years, I guess – we could ponder the fact that they could also have been recorded for the reissue but this stuff is better than we could have imagined. (1970 – 4:05)
YOU BETTER STOP THAT, 1983 – Short but sweet, very much of it’s time and sounding like ‘Neighbours’, the type of angsty, punky ripple with stabs of electric piano in the background. (1982 – 2:46)
SCARLET, 1975 – So we remember the debacle of this piece on the GHS reissue – None of the Stones or Jimmy Page (apparently) remember sneaking in to the studio in the prime of their careers and putting this to tape – Over two nights, granted, but maybe that’s how you measure time when you’re a rock star. The suns up or it’s not. Some of the overdubs present on the CV seem to be missing here from half way, so this may be one of the tracks that was laid down the first night, maybe? It’s far too good to be forgotten, far too good to be erased. Maybe if it had lingered for much longer the full session tape might have made it out .. It’d be nice to think. (1974 – 3:35)
WALK WITH ME WENDY, 1974 – Another ‘Dog Shit’ style track but replacing the horns with electric piano. Jagger bellows over the head of it all. (1970 – 4:02)
NEVER MAKE YOU CRY, 1977 – Another of those late, rain soaked Saturday ballads, spiked with a Little Rock . Blissfully dreamy, warm and regretful, it’s perfect. It’s also cleaner sounding that previously booted versions (1977 – 4:27)
PART OF THE NIGHT, 1976 – Also known as ‘Golden Caddy’ from the Pathé Marconi sessions (As heard on ‘Foxes In The Boxes’), this track might as well be ‘Never Make You Cry’ part two but one where the piano takes the place of the guitar instead. (1982 – 5:37)
LOW DOWN, 1997 – A Keith vocal for a change, one that was given up to Mick for the final BtB album – Keith’s voice here being buried under the instrumental (Though it’s a tight race between such a densely layered production), it was the right decision to give the job over. This take also features additional studio chatter after the take. (1997 – 5:02)
IT’S A LIE, 1978 – Another left over from the Paris Match sessions and also recently released on the ‘Foxes In The Boxes’ collection. Part Stones template, slide guitar and muted piano line. (1979 – 4:19)
I CAN’T SEE NO ONE ELSE, 1985 – A perfectly packaged double-entendre of a song. Mainly piano led but featuring a stinging Shadows styled guitar with a chugging rubbery bass-line and fabulous call and response harmonies. (1985 – 5:05)
NOT THE WAY TO GO, 1977 – A punky, ramshackle, 50’s surf romp with a lean line in lyrics (Jagger seems to give up part way through and riffs on the title instead). This version fades out quicker than previous versions in ‘The Harder They Come’ (Idol Mind) of Yellow Cat’s ‘From Paris To LA’ (1978 – 3:39)
GIVING IT UP, 1989 – Taken from sessions for the ‘Steel Wheels’ album, this version features an extra piano line that was absent from boots like ‘Training Wheels (Rattlesnake) (1989 – 4:14)
HANDS OFF, 1986 – A tough, thundering rocker with a quick, choppy tempo. Really very Stones-of-the-time. (1993 – 3:34)
BUILT THAT WAY, 1984 – Something rather different here – A ‘Heatwave’ style swing with a Queenish guitar line occasionally popping up through the background. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if this was a Style Council cover in all honesty. It’s really very different but cruisingly good. (1975 – 4:40)
KEEP IT COOL, 1982 – A clean little number, light piano lines with barely there guitars which drifts at an almost glacial pace. Jagger whispers his vocals at a volume that just barely breaks over the backing. Originally released on Foxes In The Boxes, this is the shortest version at just over 5 minutes. (1982 – 5:24)
CAN’T FIND LOVE, 1983 – I think this sounds like George Harrison’s / Bob Dylan’s ‘If Not For You’ in the smallest way. At nearly 7 minutes, it’s one of the longest tracks on this collection. The mixture also features a Buddy Hollyesq chiming guitar line over a strolling beat. (1982 – 7:22)
YOU WIN AGAIN, 1977 – A Hank Williams cover that was originally released on “Paris Results” and “From Paris To LA”. (1978 – 3:25)
BLOOD RED WINE, 1968 – The sister track to ‘Winter’, most regularly mentioned in tandem with it’s inclusion on the ‘Trident Tapes’ or any over-view of the “Beggars ..” sessions. I dare suggest it was too weak for album inclusion and ‘Winter’ was a more obvious choice for release on “GSH”. (1968 – 5:14).
FAST TALKING, SLOW WALKING, 1972 – Another of the more often bootlegged tracks from sessions in Jamaica. A woozy, swooning barroom lament with a joyous piano undercurrent underneath the spacey guitar lines and pattering, jazzy drum beats. An exceptional piece of work. There’s also a snatch of studio chatter at the end. (1974 – 5:49)
COOKING UP, 1982 – One of the speedier efforts to this set, short speedy guitar riffs as Ronnie and Keith dance around each other and Nicky Hopkins peddles away along side. A curious title to the track, however, it’s almost impossible to make out what Mick is singing about. (1982 – 4:11).
EVERY TIME I BREAK HER HEART, 1977 – A space-effect country lilt, the kind that the Stones seem to have perfected through the years remains unreleased and hasn’t appeared on any other bootleg before. (1977 – 7:05)
DREAM ABOUT, 1992 – This might the stray mutt of the collection. A shonky set of lyrics with a very rote drum backing and less than inspiring musical prowess. Thankfully, it’s buried in the middle of the set making it easier to forget. (1997 – 5:03)
FLIP THE SWITCH, 1998 – From the BtB sessions again, Flip is a solid Keith vehicle. A wildly different production with a disjointed feel – Not that that’s damning it with faint praise – it’s a brave move for someone who professes a more blues oriented style generally. (1997 – 4:33)
SANCTUARY, 1994 – An odd little breathy whisp of a ballad abound a curious organ bedding and bongos. As with the next track, it draws deeply on Minneapolis’s most famous son, unlike the following, it never seems to go anywhere and opposed to being sexy, sounds a little creepy. There’s a lot to be said for experimentation, though and this track is wildly different to what you might expect. (1997 – 4:54)
DESPERATE MAN, 1973 – a proto-Prince production of spidery silk slide guitar lines and falsettos. It edges in, stealing from styles as it shifts around too, showing just how versatile the band can be all in the space of a few minutes. (1997 – 6:11)
PRAIRIE LOVE, ca 1993 – Prowling funk work out with a breathy vocal line and slinky clockwork bass line. A B-side at best (And considering the glut of danceable remixes that littered CD singles at the time, that’s no bad thing). (1997 – 5:20)
LIVING THE HEART OF LOVE, 1974 – Very easily a mid-70’s production, it’s a close brother to ‘Silver Train’ and ‘Brown Sugar’, a repeated refrain starts the track before blossoming in to a broader chorus. (1974 – 3:27)
STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU, 1982 – While we discuss tracks that share DNA with a certain era, this track fits straight in to it’s date line. Ponderous, warm, reflective piano and sleepy pedal-steel are enveloped in this delicately produced ballad. (1982 – 4:25)
I TRIED TO TALK HER INTO IT, 1982 – A sweet country influenced piece with a great slice of steel guitar. It skips along merrily and wouldn’t sound out of place of any nu-country album released this side of the year 2000. This is longer than the ‘Dirty Work’ version too. (1982 – 4:44)
MIGHT AS WELL GET JUICED, 1998 – Borne of static and a moody, looping riff, an electronic throb permeates through this BtB track. This one is around a minute and a half longer than the CV. (1997 – 7:16)
TOO MANY COOKS, 1973 – An anomaly as this is obviously the John Lennon produced solo track that was oft’ traded until it’s eventual release on the solo best of, ‘The Very Best Of Mick Jagger’. It is a full minute longer here however (1973 – 4:57)
Curtis Meets Smokey, 1966 – Does exactly what it says it does – This soft shuffle Motown homage perfectly pastiches it’s grounding in Detroit soul. Apparently recorded in 1969, it wouldn’t have any of the bitter resentment of battalion fury of anything on Let It Bleed – We can only wonder what they were thinking at this point, it’s easy to hear why it never went anywhere but it is beautiful. (1969 – 4:17)
COVERED IN BRUISES, 1981 – A split combination of force between the Glimmer Twins recorded at the Pathé Marconi sessions – Barrel big and chunky with a fat bass line that drives. It’s an odd amalgam of a track but it really, really works. (1977 – 4:49)
IVY LEAGUE, 1994 – A more complete version of the track, slightly less complete than the version on Voodoo Stew (Vigotone) (1993 – 4:54)
TOO TIGHT, 1998 – A Keith lead track from BtB that was handed back to Mick for the CV. (1997 – 4:30)
CRISS CROSS, 1972 – Another from the deluxe catalogue after being a bootleg staple for so many years, most specifically on Idle Minds / Midnight Beat’s ‘Acetates’, it finally appeared with a striking video on the GHS reissue in 2020. (1973 – 3:40)
STRICTLY MEMPHIS, 1995 – This track appears almost fully formed, a soul funk stomp that cuts in on a take that’s already in full flow. This version adds a little extra brass. Take your pick of ‘Dirty Work’ outtake compilations previous – It’s probably already featured on there already. (1985 – 3:30)
IT’S ONLY ROCK’N’ROLL, 1973 – Saving the best to very nearly last, we’ve got a classic without it’s shoes on. A very early studio demo of IORR, the concept of which was apparently Mick and Ronnie in Ronnie’s home studio, prior to Ronnie’s invitation to join the stones, gamely joined by David Bowie. Long a treasured holy grail, here it is. Jagger and an over excited Ronnie seem to be all over this recording, Bowie, if he is there, has a more muted part to play in all this. I would expect that the second guitar part is Bowie and his harmonies could almost be imagined if you suspect that you hear something. Over all, the track sounds splendid, certainly not fully fleshed out, and you can hear that Jagger has found his next hit as he chuckles with glee. (1973 – 4:42)
STUDIO JAM SESSION (Extreme Western Grip), 2002 / STUDIO JAM SESSION (Well Well), 2002 – Already released on bootleg and possibly the only two tacked on for filling the time, these two instrumentals, from one of the last big leaks of material. 2002 – 3:04 / 3:01)
If the Stones are this heavy of new material they could very well have released it as a new album and we’d have lapped it up, even if they had been honest and dubbed it ‘Tattoo Two’, it would be a blessing.
This set has already started gaining traction and being copied by other labels. It’s your choice considering that they’ll be taken from the files that were uploaded on to the internet from this very version but make sure you grab at least one for yourself. The collector in you will thank you for it.
*With thanks to Gotdablouse for giving me the compunction to revisit a few points!