The Rolling Stones – “…Sad Songs Is All I Know” (no label)

“…Sad Songs Is All I Know” (no label)

Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA – July 15th, 1975

Disc 1 (59:50):  Opening, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, If You Can’t Rock Me-Get Off Of My Cloud, Star Star, Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Happy, Tumbling Dice

Disc 2 (70:14):  It’s Only Rock’n Roll, band introduction, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Fingerprint File, Angie, Wild Horses, That’s Life, Outa Space, Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Jumping Jack Flash

After playing five sold out shows at the Forum in Los Angeles, The Rolling Stones moved up the California coast for two shows at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  Less well known than the LA shows, the two Cow Palace concerts are very loose affairs with the same energy as the previous week but with mixed results. 

At least five audience tapes are in circulation for the July 15th Cow Palace show, the first of the two.  The earliest to be released was on the 2LP “…Sad Songs Is All I Know” (Thrown Records T-CPSF) pressed in the eighties.  It’s a very good to excellent audience tape but is missing the opening “Fanfare For The Common Man,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “You Gotta Move,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and the Preston numbers “That’s Life” and “Outta Space.”  

Since then, other tapes have been utlized for the compact disc titles including Tour Of The Americas 75 (Digger Production DP 9301-9303), and on It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Part-One TOTA-1975-1 (VGP-036) and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Part-Two TOTA-1975-2 (VGP-037) and later re-released and remastered as a double CD  with the same title and the serial number VGP-036/37.  Another independent release is The Rock ‘n’ Roll Show (Stones of Fire SOF 8003) and on discs one and two of The Complete Cow Palace Tape 1975 (Idol Mind Production IMP-CD 045-48).

“…Sad Songs Is All I Know” is a beautiful copy of the vinyl release.  The songs, which were placed out of sequence to fit onto the two LPs, are restored to the proper running order and the missing songs are patched with the Vinyl Gang version of the show because the sound quality of that tape is most close to the vinyl.

One can tell during the first show that they expended a lot of energy in Los Angeles and they are very good for confirming Keith Richards’ assertion that:  “I haven’t been on a tour yet where I was bored. At the end of that tour [Tour Of The Americas] we began to look around for dates, because for us it’s just starting to get good because this is a brand-new band for us. It’s got a lot more fire. The last band was too intellectual. 

“There ain’t a band in the world that can survive without going on the road. If a band doesn’t play in front of people and turn them on at least as much as we do, and I don’t think we do it enough, then they’re not a band. You rehearse for a month, get the tour going, crank it up, and just as you’re hitting top gear the last gig comes and it drops for nine months.”

Before “Starfucker” Jagger tells the audience that Keith has “got a problem with his amplifiers” and that the song is “about a girl from New York who got into some very bad ways.”  During “You Gotta Move” Billy Preston brings a religious revival fervor to the mix giving the song an interesting dynamic.  

Charlie Watts plays a bit of a jazz shuffle as an introduction to “Happy.”  The first San Francisco show has a version of “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” but these versions with Ron Wood never sound as intense as the ones with Mick Taylor did on the previous European tour.  This is the song’s final performance in this tour.

A flaccid version of “Fingerprint File” prompts Jagger to complain that he “can’t sing it in the right key” and introduces the next couple of songs as “the part of the show when you grab what you got and feel sorry.”  After the Preston set Steve Lawrence, Steve Madaio, Bobby Keys, and Jesse Ed Davis play horns on “Brown Sugar,” “Rip This Joint” and “Street Fighting Man.”  An energetic version of “Jumping Jack Flash” closes the show.  

The no label Stones label have a solid track record in producing excellent quality silver pressed editions of hard to find vinyl releases.  “…Sad Songs Is All I Know” is another great addition to their catalog, offering an vivid glimpse into the latter days of the Tour Of The Americas.  

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  1. Nice for those who don’t have it I suppose. Both SF 1975 shows were torrented on dime from master audience tapes. Excellent recordings both sounding very similar. I was not aware 5 different audience tapes were available from these shows. Too bad we’re given a needle drop instead of both masters being released as a 4CD set. Having both Idol Mind’s original 4CD set of both Cow Palace shows and VGP’s 7/15 discs and the from-master torrents this is a pass, sadly. No Label has released some really good titles in the past. Putting out “from vinyl” CDs is not really a plus for collectors looking for upgrades. I grew up in the South Bay. In the early 1970s I rode my bike to Underground Records in San Jose almost every weekend. LP boots were $3.00 per disc then. Those were most definitely the days.

  2. Yes, the sound quality is pretty good as you state, but I still prefer the VGP ‘remastered’ 2CD version of this show. Have a soft spot in my heart for the Cow Palace growing up in the Bay Area

  3. I’m not really a big fan of this show. It’s a let down after the exciting final show in Los Angeles. This has pretty good sound quality, however.

  4. Taken from vinyl?
    Seems like a very intersting release, as the vinyl is (somewhat) hard to find, at least in NM condition.
    The 2nd show in San Francisco 1975 is much better than this one, performancewise. This July 15th show starts of pretty sloppy and they sound somewhat tired, allthough Jagger tries his best, at times. But the 2nd half of the show really works – then things start to take off.


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