Rolling Stones: Some People Tell Me (R&B rehearsals 1977-1979)

The Rolling Stones’ late-1970s studio sessions were packed with casual demonstrations of the band's core competency as a rhythm & blues outfit. Nearly all of it must have been about limbering up and just having some fun, though there are a few tracks suitable for b-sides. Regardless, the relaxed, spontaneous character of the performances is one of the most appealing features.

The death of Charlie Watts caused me to pull this mix out, because I remembered being impressed with how many different blues and R&B modes he dropped into effortlessly, from extremely subtle, almost jazz-like minimalism to propulsive thumping. It’s his drums that give shape and drama to many of these tracks.

76-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Petrol Gang
  • Some People Tell Me
  • My First Plea
  • Little Cocksucker (inst.)
  • Blues with a Feeling
  • After Hours Blues (instr.)
  • I Ain’t Superstitious
  • Jimmy Reed Jam (instr.)
  • What Am I Living For
  • Armpit Blues (instr.)
  • When You’re Gone (Red Eyes)
  • Sweet Little Rock’n Roller (instr.)
  • The Fat Man
  • Shame Shame Shame
  • Broken Head Blues (instr.)
  • Up Against the Wall (instr.)
  • Sweet Home Chicago 1
  • Sweet Home Chicago 2
  • You Don’t Have to Go

The Rolling Stones: Respectable (1989-2012)

Last month (April 2020), The Rolling Stones dropped an excellent new song, “Living in a Ghost Town.” It has been 15 years since the band’s last album of originals, with new compositions released only occasionally on greatest hits compilations.

The mix presented here is a studio highlights reel curated by someone who has no significant history with 1989-present Stones. It pays no attention to any criteria but satisfying my personal desires as a 1968-1981 Stones super-fan. It’s full of b-sides and deep cuts, and it ignores a number of supposedly big songs from the era. My goals were authenticity and an avoidance of redundancy. (A few cool tracks got cut because they just didn’t fit.)

If you’re a Stones fan who has forgotten or never heard most of these songs, this mix is for you. You’ll find tracks that hit every historical Stones mode, from blues to ballads to bombast. And Keith songs.

96-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1:

  • Doom & Gloom
  • Let Me Down Slow
  • Saint of Me
  • How Can I Stop
  • Biggest Mistake
  • Break the Spell
  • Jump on Top of Me
  • Anybody Seen My Baby
  • Thief in the Night
  • Laugh, I Nearly Died
  • Always Suffering

LP 2:

  • I Go Wild
  • I’m Gonna Drive
  • Keys to Your Love
  • Any Way You Look at It
  • New Faces
  • The Worst
  • Thru and Thru
  • Lowdown
  • Fancyman Blues
  • Almost Hear You Sigh
  • Don’t Stop

Cover art by Martin Whatson, used without permission.

The Rolling Stones: Miss You Live (1978 Tour Highlights)

This tour deserves way more respect. For one thing, the band performed all of the “Some Girls” songs, except the title track and "Before They Make Me Run." That alone makes the tour’s setlist exciting and historically anomalous. The Stones were mostly a hits band, before and after this tour, and I don’t believe there’s any album that was as throughly performed live at the time of its release.

And it’s “Some Girls,” played exactly right by a gloriously fucked-up and entirely appropriate Rolling Stones. This mix pulls from all the FM broadcasts I could lay my hands on (a while back), plucking one version of nearly every song played on the tour. When it was right, it was great. 

There are a million miles between this band and the thoroughly boring one documented on the 1975 tour album, “Love You Live," released in 1977 – and between the 1978 tour all all subsequent, highly-professional ones. I’m not saying that all later live Stones is to be ignored, but rather that the 1978 tour was probably the last time anyone witnessed the unruly entity that built the Stones legend.

So, this mix tries to lock down that moment in an enduringly satisfying, album-like way. 

I messed with the typical setlist order of the tour, so that all the “Some Girls” material is grouped together. The mix leads and closes with older tunes.

80-minute mix zipped up here

  • Hound Dog
  • Starfucker
  • All Down the Line
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Miss You
  • Beast of Burden
  • Shattered
  • When the Whip Comes Down
  • Lies
  • Just My Imagination
  • Far Away Eyes
  • Respectable
  • Love In Vain
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Jumping Jack Flash

Important caveats:

  • I compiled this in 2010 and did not tag my selections with dates/locations. Subsequently (2011), The Rolling Stones released a full 1978 show from Fort Worth, Texas. I am sorry I can’t tell you which, if any, tracks come from that show.  
  • This mix was originally (and is still) posted as a Save Your Face virtual boxed set that includes two discs of curated studio outtakes from the “Some Girls” era. It’s one of several such multi-disc sets on the SYF blog. Since this live disc has more mass appeal than the half-finished outtakes, I thought it might make sense to break it out. (And I felt like making a cover image!) Choose your own adventure.

Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Disco (outtakes '75-'79)

Someone posted an enthusiastic comment about one of my Rolling Stones studio outtakes mixes, which reminded me that I never posted this one. It's definitely more marginal than the others, but it's a pretty serviceable super-extended 12-inch remix of an aspect of the band that was never allowed to dominate any official album.

This is a very selective sampling of Ron Wood era outtakes, focusing on the band’s half-formed funk/disco/jam band persona. Many of the tracks are the long, unedited basic takes of songs that were finished and released between ’75 and ’81. It was typical for the band to record instrumentals, which Jagger either picked up for songwriting or didn’t. Jagger’s ongoing engagement with contemporary pop, funk, reggae, disco, etc. seems to have equipped him well in this period to turn the sketch of an idea into a persuasive, half-rapped vocal. He sings, he declaims, he chants, he talks conversationally about Puerto Rican girls. In this long “Miss You” (which was perhaps released on a 12”) you hear him figuring out where his lyrical hooks are, which stories to tell, and which to cut.

Yes, there are three takes of “Dance” on the bootlegs, but don't get too excited. They don’t have any connection to the “part 1” and “part 2” designations of the songs on Emotional Rescue and Sucking in the Seventies. Instead, they are three very similar performances of the song’s basic moves, with Jagger sketching in some vocal angles, totaling 21 minutes. 

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Come on Sugar (1981 1975)
  • Slave (raw take 1975)
  • Hey Negrita (raw take 1975)
  • Everything is Turning to Gold (raw take 1977)
  • Miss You (alternate 1977)
  • I Love Ladies (1975)
  • Worried About You (original 1975)
  • Heaven (original 1979)
  • Jah is Not Dead (1979)
  • Disco Muzik (1978)
  • Dance 1, 2, 3 (1979)

Artwork: I have deleted the cover art I originally used, which turns out to be the logo of very cool DJs and remixers that you can check out here

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. 

Side Trips: The Rolling Stones – “Winter” 1971-1974 (Made in the Shade LP 2)

In 1975, about to go on tour with Ron Wood and unable to get Black and Blue out in time, the Stones released Made in the Shade, a canon-building, tour-supporting compilation drawn from their four most recent albums: Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup, and It’s Only Rock and Roll. The album defined the early Seventies as “Bitch,” “Angie,” “Tumbling Dice,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” etc. – the foundation of what would become the permanent post-Sixties Rolling Stones brand. 

This companion compilation is drawn from the same four albums as Made in the Shade and is intended to be its opposite. 

The Rolling Stones: “Some Girls” Companion

This bootleg mix presents three distinct slices of material associated with the Rolling Stones' “Some Girls” sessions and tour: Unfinished songs, R&B rehearsals, and 1978 tour highlights.

This period was arguably the band's last gasp as a working band, and the sessions resulted in a huge number of songs, finished, half-finished, and roughly-sketched. At least one version of everything that was at least close to half-finished is included here, unless the only version I could find had audio too shitty to tolerate.

The sessions also provide an amazing demonstration of the band's core competency as a rhythm & blues outfit. They often warmed up in the studio playing the blues, and a large amount of such material was recorded during these sessions. I definitely prefer it to the '72 Dallas rehearsals, the only other substantial recording of such material I know of.

Lastly, the '78 U.S. tour is generally regarded as a sloppy mess, but when it wasn't, it was far, far better than the '76 tour, and IMO really delightful. They played all but two of the "Some Girls" songs, so there was lots of fresh material to enliven their usual cruise through older hits. I picked versions from shows that were recorded for FM broadcast, but I can't tell you anymore which songs came from which shows, except for "Hound Dog," the chaotic show-opener from Memphis. This mix includes almost every song they played on the tour.

Unfinished Songs

mp3 mix zipped up here

Rhythm & Blues Rehearsals

mp3 mix zipped up here

1978 Tour Highlights

mp3 mix zipped up here