Monday, May 03, 2010

Exile In May Street Part 1: The Rolling Stones Plunder Their Soul (And Their Archives)

Unlike their peers The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, The Rolling Stones have generally resisted plundering their unreleased material and sharing it with the masses. But that finally seems to be changing.

The Stones' forthcoming – and fourth, by my count – reissue of their tres decadent opus Exile on Main Street contains a full CD of unreleased tunes from their globe-trotting, booze swilling, wife swapping sessions in England, the South of France and L.A.

Exile redux comes out on May 18, but they have whetted our collective appetites with a newly unearthed track called “Plundered My Soul.”

"Plundered' finds our boys very much in the “Tumbling Dice” mode, with the loose, dank basement vibe that so many have tried in vain to reproduce. But Sir Mick Jagger, who is more fond than the others of staying contemporary, went in and redid some lyrics and vocals. He sounds more or less the same as he did back in ’72, only now he sounds like someone on a diet of age-defying workouts, not bourbon and Bianca.

The accompanying video makes clever use of the famous Robert Frank Exile cover, bringing the kaleidoscopic freak show that was the Stones circa 1972 to life.

“Plundered my Soul” also marks the return of another Mick: Mick Taylor, he of the epic lead guitar tones that mark the Stones’ best work from 1969's Let it Bleed to to the mid-70s. Relations between Taylor and the Stones have been notoriously frosty since he quit in ’76 or so. I don’t know whether they brought Taylor back to freshen up his leads because Ron Wood is having problems with booze and broads, because they thought it would be good PR for the album, or because they genuinely wanted him on the record. Whatever Mr. Jagger's motives, having Mr. Taylor back is a cause célèbre indeed.

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