The Rolling Stones – Sucking In Detroit (Rattlesnake RS 201/202)

Sucking In Detroit (Rattlesnake RS 201/202)

Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI – July 6th, 1978 

Disk 1 (58:21): Let It Rock / All Down The Line / Honky Tonk Women / Star Star / When The Whip Comes Down / Lies / Miss You / Beast Of Burden / Just My Imagination ( Running Away With Me) / Shattered / Love In Vain

Disk 2 (51:13):  Tumbling Dice / Happy / Sweet Little Sixteen / Brown Sugar / Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  Bonus tracks:  Respectable / Far Away Eyes / Hound Dog / Street Fighting Man / ( I Can’t Get No ) Satisfaction / Don’t Look Back

The Rolling Stones “Some Girls” tour has been very well documented in the past – mainly due to the amount of field & soundboard recordings that exist. Once people became accustomed to recording their favorite artist in concert, if not just for monetary returns, then for home listening pleasures or for trading for another show that they’d also like to hear.

That so many of these recordings exist then we should be thankful. This was a fertile period in the Stones career obviously noting that they had to make distinct changes to allow their sound to have some purchase within an expanding market & with ever mutating styles of music. ‘Some Girls’ would feature forays in to disco & punk & in doing so would launch their most fettered release in a few years & would become their biggest selling album in the U.S. to date. 

The most recent compilation from this tour “Some Kind Of Fashion” from Godfather Records ( GR 206 / 207 ) hosts a soundboard from the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, Texas. This particular set brings us a recently unearthed 24 track, mixed soundboard from the Stones show at the famous Masonic Hall, Detroit, Michigan on the 6th of July, 1978 for around 1,000 attendees.

There have been other soundboard tracks previously released from this show, which was apparently recorded for an official live album, the liner notes state that the only live track from this tour that was to make it out officially ( “When The Whip Comes Down” on to the compilation ‘Sucking In The Seventies’ ) was a good primer for the rest of the tour but in regards to these shows they demand more than just a single track on a half / half mix-bag & this release aims to rectify the situation in collectors circles. 

Right from the start the show sounds brutish & loud – beginning with Jagger’s bellowed & slurred introduction “And now .. Welcome the Rolling Fuckin’ Stones!”, the crowd reach near apoplexy at the band throw themselves in to a highly charged rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock” The tape is very well mixed Keith’s violent soloing & Mick’s vocals off to the left with Ronnie’s guitar & Charlies drums to the right with the audience reception a little way underneath to avoid the sterile quietness that is the curse of a few soundboards. 

This casts itself straight into “All Down The Line” – the first of the unreleased soundboard tracks for this set – with hardly a breath being taken by the band as they swoop majestically through their back catalogue. “Honky Tonk Women” is a solid standard xerox of the song as the players romp steadily away through it without too much fanfare – Although Ian Stewart & Ian McLagan’s piano fills are enviably blues & boogie affairs that seal the undercurrent. 

“Star Star” is a far more lusty rampage combining the best of the all the band – Keef’s rasping & skewed riffs reacting against the choppy piano lines that are thrown out. 

Mick’s slurred screed against security is brilliant rock n’ roll banter – Although he’s either wasted or has been practicing saying the line a little too much & ends up tripping over his words & fumbling slightly – It’s obviously what the audience wants to hear anyway & they react justly to the prod at authority by those rascally rock bullys. 

“Lies” – the second track from “Some Girls” tonight has a strong reputation to live up to – coming after the ballast of the bands earlier & more recognisable output it should stand tall on it’s own merits to be heard just incase some of the audience fancy a bar break but it absolutely exudes fury & is rended as a twirling menace, full of anger & venom. “Miss You” was the 8 and a half minute, disco shuffle work out that would take pride of place during this tour – Charlie’s expertly jazzish hi-hats shimmering, The intricate keyboard lines once again chiming across the board & the steady percussion work out forcing the beat along. Several times the song evolves around some serious work outs while Jagger whoops, hollers & works the crowd pushing the effort of the band. 

“Beast Of Burden”, begins the slower section of tonight, it is meticulously worked out sounding like it could have been plucked from a studio recording at it’s heart before having a subtle amount of extra instrumentation tacked on top. Wyman’s bass is one of the foremost instruments to this tune. Mick thanks “Motown” towards the end of the track before one of Keith’s masterful, expanding solos. “Just My Imagination” follows & continues the mid paced stretch. A great crowd shifting exercise with a good long coda that allows a lot of joining in for the audience & a furiously jammed ending that builds in stature in to a busy totem of sound.      

“Shattered” picks up the pace again. At is appeared to be one of the favorites to be played out live from the album it’s given a splendid outing in order to justify the reception it’ll receive. Beginning with Jagger’s maniacal laugh & the chugging, circular riff that buzzes around like an ever evolving memory. Once again the coda is used to great effect repeating the mantra ‘Shattered’ only to give way to more of Jagger’s improvisations along the lines of his state of mind [ ‘What A fackin’ mess’ ] 

“Love In Vain” shuttles the band back to one of their earlier incarnations – Without the harmonica that the C.V. uses one might think it might lose a lot of it’s wistfulness but this is taken up by the gospel floating organ, bar time piano & Keef’s wailing guitar lines. Already primed for anger from the previous track then Jagger pleads insanity by almost tearing his larynx apart, screaming the lyrics as if the devil himself has broken in, stolen his woman & left the shell of a broken man behind. 

Disk two kicks off with Mick cockily disparaging his guitarist for losing his plectrum “Oh, Keith hasn’t got a pick. Has anyone got a pick for Keith?” before making a ‘stupid’ noise mostly heard in school grounds to suggest someone has lost their brains. A truculent & passionate “Tumbling Dice” follows with a sweet guitar solo slap bang in the middle that almost suggests Keef wants to show up his singing partner. 

“Happy” is Mr. Richard’s turn at the microphone while Mr. Jagger shares chorus responsibilities. With the punk ethos these shows have then Keef’s voice fits in perfectly – Already ragged & foxed from a few years of substance abuse – the grotty, choked gargle that takes the message & runs with it – Keef certainly sounds like he’s been keeping happy for the past few years. While the seering guitar lines come thick the pace quickens up a few beats & then come to a screeching halt before the next cover – Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” springs up – Mick really lays on the southern accent for this & also plays around with the lyrics – “Tight dresses & Kotex” – Ian Stewart’s piano rolls are authentically 50’s styled 

“Brown Sugar” has to leave a real mark on the set & it’s instant riff alone seals the deal while Ronnie’s accompaniment is a screaming, rapid fire assault that runs rings around itself & gets tied up in knots. Charlie’s scatter gun drumming burns with an intensity & Mick’s gestations to join with him on the songs ‘Wooos’ are perfect – there’s no chance of any half hearted lyric rendering just an exalted & brief response from the crowd. 

Our showstopper tonight an incendiary “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that’s dragged out to nearly 7 minutes long joins the pantheon of renditions such as the ones from 1973 in Europe – see Rattlesnakes own “Brussels Affair” – an enduring & epic legacy to the power that this finely tuned & spirited band could create – There’s none of the slapdash, sloppy showman ship rumoured to be present from some of the other shows in this tour here but scintillating, hedonistic, bravado that ends the night on a positive high & leaves a branded mark on the minds of the attendees tonight. 

The bonus tracks picked by RS to highlight the other tracks played during the tour are rather superb too – A 50’s R&r styled “Respectable” from Memphis, Tennessee that finds Ian Stewart banging the life out of his piano keys & more giddy guitar work from the brothers Richards & Wood. A Country tinged “Far Away Eyes” from Lexington, Kentucky that is accompanied by a brilliant spoken word lyric & an almost insultingly shallow red neck accent by Jagger. “Hound Dog” from Memphis finds a drunken Mick welcoming the audience to the show & keen to showcase a special song that they’d picked up for the show – A Keef heavy boogie riff and a yelping vocal from Jagger are fun to hear & highlight a tour rarity. 

Passaic, New Jersey’s “Street Fighting Man” is a half excellent audience recording + half a good audience recording for the second half with all the power we’ve come to expect from this track – The blustering finale is here but slightly truncated from the early 70’s versions that would end in a tumult of flailing guitar work but the main of the track still holds on to it’s excitement. 

Finally “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” & “Don’t Look Back” from Oakland, California are from another good audience tape but of slightly lesser quality – They are close in sound to the Altamont Audience Tape – A swirling coda to “Satisfaction” brings out the retaliation of the lyric & holds it’s stature as a rock classic.

“Don’t Look Back” The poppy reggae Temptatios cover from his album ‘Bush Doctor’ on the Rolling Stones record label performed By Peter Tosh which also features Mick Jagger on vocals. While it’s not a Stones number per se then to have it included as it comes from the same tour is a wise idea – Very few support acts get bootlegged mainly due to the fact that they haven’t been heard in wider circles or they’re not whom the audience jave come to see so this rarity with a Stones involvement as there are unlikely to be many around.                     

The packaging is the usual high standard from the RS stable – An approximation of the poster from this part of the tour featuring a twist on the Chinese propaganda posters for work featuring a large breasted woman in dungarees & work cap poing the way toward a more prosperous future. Inside is a short essay on the Stones & their sea change in to becoming a successful group once more along with a multitude of great & colourful live snaps of the group.    

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  1. The tree nummers are from houston,I think so.

  2. DAC used the Wolfgang’s vault “low bit rate” MP3 stream, and added a “high frequenzy roof of noise” to cover up the lossiness, if someone were to check it with software. This “roof” is unbearable to listen to for us with “younger” ears (no kidding), because it’s a frequenzy which people over….30 or 40 will not hear (just like the “buzzing”-sound of a TV that’s on). Hopefully Rattlesnake used the high bit-rate stream for their release, and maybe touched up the recording with EQ (Rattlesnake is good at that work). Expecting my copy to arrive within the week. Thanks for the review.

  3. I found the sound quality of the Rattlesnake superior to Abandoned In Detroit. It was more loud, clear and lively sounding.

  4. How does the quality of this Rattlesnake release compare with Dog N Cat’s “Abandoned in Detroit”? And are the last 3 songs (“Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Brown Sugar” and “Jumping Jack Flash”) actually from Detroit, as all other sources are taken from Houston 7-19-1978? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! Great review!


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