The Rolling Stones: Taylor-Era Studio Companions (1969-1974)

My dive into innumerable, overlapping, frustrating Stones bootlegs yielded three studio companions to the Mick Taylor years (1969-1974). A handful of interesting “Let It Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers” alternate takes didn’t fit into this arrangement, but otherwise, this is pretty close to a thorough account of unreleased songs and a generous curation of all available material. Going deeper into iterative bootlegged versions of this sort of Stones material is a recipe for madness, based on my experience.

Shake Your Hips (outtakes ’69-’72)

This mix is comprised of "Exile" outtakes and kindred material. I have not taken into account what was released  on the “Exile” bonus disc from a few years ago (some tracks overdubbed by today’s Stones); everything here comes from bootlegs and is as-recorded originally. The dating goes back to 1969 because some of these songs were demoed that far back. They played “Loving Cup” at Hyde Park, July 5, 1969, their first – and historically gigantic – show after their drug busts and Brian Jones’ death. 

Some of the "Exile" songs included here use the same basic takes as the LP versions, or some intermediate stage of dubbing, but the ones I’ve chosen transform the results quite a bit, and I included only those that feature a different vocal by Jagger. 

If you’ve been craving an alternative universe or amnesia in which you could hear "Exile" for the first time, again, then this will get you part of the way there.

67-minute mix here

  • Exile on Main Street Blues
  • Stop Breaking Down
  • Hip Shake (2)
  • Shine a Light (1)
  • Loving Cup
  • Good Times Woman
  • All Down the Line
  • Who Am I/See I Love You (proto-Happy)
  • Exile on Main Street Blues (radio spot)
  • I Ain’t Signifyin’
  • Highway Child
  • Traveling Man
  • Hip Shake (1)
  • Shine a Light (2)
  • I Don’t Know the Reason (Hillside Blues)

Fast Talking (outtakes ’69-’74)

This is the more wide-ranging, Taylor-era counterpart to the "Exile" companion, above. The concept here is a hypothetical early Seventies Stones album, comprised of songs not released on the main five Taylor-era albums. 

Several tracks have been lifted directly from "Metamorphosis," my assumption being that most of us don’t listen to "Metamorphosis" very often, and that this is a better context in which to hear the Taylor-era outtakes included on that shabby anthology of leftovers. 

All of the Stones’ ’69-’81 outtakes present opportunities for “what if” fantasizing. This particular 12-song collection of unreleased and non-canonical ’69-’74 songs asks this one: What if, in the awkward pause at the end of the Taylor era, the band had engineered an early "Tattoo You," dredging the recent vaults for more or less complete songs that they could polish into a sixth Mick Taylor era studio album? Just to fill the tour-year space, until they could make a better Ron Wood album than “Black & Blue.”

As is, these songs/recordings range from half-formed to completely-finished. Pretend that this mix is the cassette that some tape-vault dude at the label sent to Jagger in late 1974 with a note reading, “Can we make this work?” One way or another, it’s the best fake early-Seventies Stones album you’ve never heard that I can compile.

The stand-out, lost tune here, IMO, is “Fast Talking.” “Criss-Cross Man” probably just needed a better lyric to be a stray mid-Seventies single. “Drift Away” should have been the bonus, non-LP, cover-song on “Made in the Shade” – and maybe the b-side of the aforementioned single. This version of “Memo from Turner” is stunning – destroying the Metamorphosis version – though it’s not strictly The Stones backing this lit Jagger. “Trident Jam” is probably from 1968, but whatever. Fake Stones album – GO!

54-minute mp3 mix here

(This is a new upload, with the version of "Jiving Sister Fanny" I'd meant to include in the first place.)

  • Criss-Cross Man (Save Me)
  • Jiving Sister Fanny (Metamorphosis version)
  • Drift Away (fast version)
  • Fast Talking
  • Memo from Turner (alt)
  • You Should Have Seen Her Ass
  • I’m Going Down (Metamorphosis version)
  • Two Trains (Still a Fool)
  • I Don’t Know Why (Metamorphosis version)
  • Downtown Suzie (Metamorphosis version)
  • Hamburger to Go (Stuck Out All Alone)
  • Instrumental (Trident Jam)

Ventilated (Dallas rehearsals ’72)

This is a generous sampling of a day of recordings made a month into the 1972 U.S. tour. It features instrumental jams, blues covers, and several complete performances of Exile songs that never made it to the live set. All tracks have been edited to begin at the point when everyone in the studio began to pay attention. Based on the available bootlegs, the Stones did not often rehearse songs to perfection in advance of tours and concerts; they limbered up. This rehearsal happened a couple of days before the band’s Fort Worth and Houston concerts, which can be found on bootlegs. 

There’s a lot to enjoy here, and I’m personally very happy to have several versions of Exile songs that they rehearsed but didn’t actually play on stage in that era.  Nonetheless, there’s an indifference and/or uptightness that makes this day’s recordings less than canon-worthy, as a whole. Still, it’s The Stones grooving away, however lazily, in 1972. There are only so many minutes of recordings that you can say that about, and I’ve deleted the most boring of those minutes to produce this mix:

63-minute mp3 mix here

  • Let It Loose (2)
  • Hip Shake
  • Torn and Frayed Jam (1)
  • Key to the Highway
  • Tar and Feather Blues Jam
  • Gimme Shelter Jam
  • Ventilator Blues (2)
  • Whip’s Crack and Tiger’s Snarl Jam
  • Jungle Disease Jam (1)
  • Untitled Jam (2)
  • 32-20 Blues
  • Delta Slide Jam
  • Good Friend Blues
  • Torn and Frayed Jam (2)
  • Satisfaction Jam (1)
  • Hats Off to Slim Harpo Jam
  • Ventilator Blues (1)
  • Studio Blues
  • Let It Loose (1)
  • Jungle Disease Jam (2)
  • Satisfaction Jam (2)