The Rolling Stones – Think You Like It (Dog N Cat DAC-109)

 Think You Like It (Dog N Cat DAC-109)

(65:39):  I Think I’m Going Mad, In Your Hand, Undercover Of The Night, Still In Love, It Must Be Hell, Wanna Hold You, Undercover Of the Night, Undercover Of The Night, Pretty Beat Up, Crazy Arms, Too Much Blood, Still In Love

A string of successful albums in the late seventies and early eighties with Some Girls, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You, the Rolling Stones emphasized tunes written firmly with disco, dance, funk and punk in mind to keep up with the times.  Undercover was a more conscience return to more “topical” songs of social commentary, much like their artistic move in the late sixties.  But instead of writing a classic in the vein of Beggar’s Banquet  or Let It Bleed, their newest effort was destined to spawn a few bizarre, violent videos and slip in to (relative) obscurity.

Not to say it was unsuccessful at the time of release.  Undercoverreached 4 in the US and 3 in the UK and produced several hit singles “Undercover Of The Night,” “She Was Hot” and “Too Tough.”  Kurt Loder in Rolling Stones sang the album’s praises, calling it “a perfect candidate for inclusion in a cultural time capsule: should future generations wonder why the Stones endured so long at the very top of their field, this record offers just about every explanation. Here we have the world’s greatest rock & roll rhythm section putting out at maximum power; the reeling, roller-derby guitars at full roar; riffs that stick in the viscera, songs that seize the hips and even the heart; a singer who sounds serious again. Undercover is rock & roll without apologies….

“If there are disappointments on Undercover, they can only be claimed in comparison to past Stones triumphs. If the album lacks the epochal impact of, say, Sticky Fingers, then perhaps it’s because the mythic years of pop are past – by now, even the Stones have long since bade them goodbye. But Undercover seems to be more felicitously concentrated than Exile on Main Street, and while it may lack that album’s dark power and desperate atmosphere, it does deliver nonstop, unabashed rock & roll crafted to the highest standards in the business. And that, rest assured, will do just fine.”

Outtakes from the album came out only a few years after the album’s release on the vinyl release Think You Like It and on compact disc releases such as The Pain Of Love (VGP-052), Jamming With Stu (VGP-240) and All Mixed Up (Rabbit Records RR 024/25).  Dog N Cat have been issuing old Stones outtakes with artwork from the original vinyl, and they replicate Think You Like It on this release.  The sound is good but still high generation and hissy.

The recordings come from work done at Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris from November to December 1982, The Hit Factory in New York in May 1983 and Compass Studio in Nassau, Bahamas in early June.  The first track is the Emotional Rescue outtake “I Think I’m Going Mad” from Paris.  A four minute edit of this song would appear as the b-side to “She Was Hot” in 1984.  But this is a fourteen minute long jam session on the tune, repeating the melody ad infinitum with Richards on vocals.  The tune has a strong resemblance to “Beast Of Burden” and has never been issued officially on CD.

Several tracks are early takes of songs used on the album.  “Undercover Of The Night,” the LPs first song and must successful single, has three takes scattered throughout the disc.  The first take is mainly drums with a bit of guitars in the very end.  The second take again features the drum tracks, but Ronnie and Keith weave their guitar jamming over the rhythm section.  On the third and final track Mick joins in with the lyrics.  It is interesting to hear the rhythm section of the song isolated in the song’s raw form.

“Wanna Hold You” dates from the 1982 Paris sessions.  On Undercover it is a three minute long, repetitive bore.  It sounds more like filler than an actual track.  The outtake on this disc is six minutes long.  But, in addition to the repetitive riff is an interesting guitar duel in the song’s latter half which was cut out of the official version.  It is a shame that part was excised because it is the song’s only redeeming feature.  

“Pretty Beat Up” was first titled “Dog Shit” and then “XXX.”  This version is an instrumental run through featuring harmonica and extra guitars with none of the horns that would be featured on the commercial version of the song. 

“It Must Be Hell” is the final song on the album and their more blatant, and trite, “message” songs.  The outtake on this disc is pretty close to the final version including lyrics.  The final outtake of a released song is a two minute forty-five second long fragment of “Too Much Blood.”  It’s mostly a repetition of the chorus and a few minutes of the melody before fading out and lacks the Issei Sagawa and Texas Chainsaw Massacre spoken interludes.

“In Your Hand” is an unreleased tune.  Lasting five minutes forty-seconds, it’s a fast tempo piano driven number with vocals.  Mick’s voice is buried deep into the mix making it difficult to hear what the song is about. 

“Still In Love” is a slower paced ballad in two takes.  The first lasts five minutes twenty-two seconds and is lead by the piano.  Richards plays a pretty melody over the rhythm and Wyman’s bass is quite active in the arrangement.  The second take is seven and half minutes long.  In lesser sound quality, this version has some lyrics with the melody and builds into an impressive crescendo in the middle.  It is a good song and a shame it was never finished.

“Crazy Arms” is the final unreleased outtake on the disc.  A ninety second tune with Richards on vocals, it’s a catchy slice of New Orleans blues and a nice slide guitar.  It’s an unusual track and, like with “Still In Love,” could have been an interesting song if they finished writing and recording it.

Think You Like It is a good release overall of interesting material from a good Stones record.  The vinyl artwork is faithfully reproduced on Dog N Cat’s inserts, even to the point where the final three tracks, which were not on the vinyl, are listed as a bonus. 

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