If you ever forget how good the Rolling Stones really were back in their heyday, the new edition of Sticky Fingers with outtakes and live recordings and this live shot from the Marquee Club should set things right all over again. Simply put – and restating what’s become a mossy truth – rock and roll doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.
Upon initial release in March 1971, the album marked several firsts for the band. The Stones’ contract with music czar Allen Klein and Decca Records ended in ’70, freeing them to launch their own label and chart their own direction. It also marked the debut of the band’s lips-and-tongue logo, which is as recognized as that of Coca-Cola and many another. Best yet, it marked the first release of tracks the Stones cut at Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, plus Mick Taylor’s fully formed debut with the band.
These first Muscle Shoals tracks – including “Brown Sugar” and “Dead Flowers,” among others – were recorded during the band’s 1969 American tour, but had to wait in the can until the LP’s release more than a year later.
We’ve all probably worn out at least one copy of Sticky Fingers, but, listening to it anew provides a phenomenal reminder of the way rock was at the dawn of the bad old ’70s. And the live cuts on the second CD from the Roundhouse in ’71 add to this.
Taylor and Keef are simply awesome on guitar, tossing off licks culled from the blues and Chuck Berry with rough, ramshackle abandon, working together perhaps better than any other guitar combo in the Stones’ history. And Charlie Watts is his usual superlative self.
Even better is the Stones set from the Marquee. The playing is again stellar and the sound almost impossibly clear and powerful for a live recording.
This From the Vault collection includes a CD and DVD of the show, which includes several Fingers cuts, including “Bitch” and “I Got The Blues.” Best yet may be their version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – sans Keith’s earth-shaking lick but with full R&B treatment.
It’s tough to believe a rock-and-roll band could get much better than this. But, better was soon to come.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s November ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.