Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rocks Off

Exile on Main St.
Side One, Track One
"Rocks Off" – 4:32

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When I first started this blog, I was enthusiastic about getting to two areas of the Stones discography: their shitty late-70s and 80s material, and Exile on Main St. – the former because it's always more fun to write about bad things than good things, and the latter because Exile is a special album to me, one that has accompanied me through every music phase that I went through over the years. Reviews of the album typically use the words "sprawling" and "mess" in the description, and there can be no argument that Exile is maybe not as concise as it could have been. However, by trying to do so many things on those four side, not limiting themselves to the best material or apt arrangements, they managed to produce music that can appeal to a listener is different ways depending on the mood.

Exile opens with Keith playing that brutal "Rocks Off" riff, and the effect is opening your front door to have someone punch you in the face.

Charlie and Mick Taylor come in, beefing up the sound, and then it's off to the races, with Jagger slurring incoherently about real and imagined slights. Here and there you hear a phrase that sticks out

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me.
Chasing shadows moonlight mystery.
Headed for the overload, splattered on the dusty road.
Kick me like you've kicked before, I can't even feel the pain no more.

But I only get my rocks off while I'm dreaming.

Justin Heming was a friend who died yesterday. I was going to write a little memorial, but now I find that I can't. Sorry, man. Can't do it. All I can say is this: he was a great guy and musician, and one of the best compliments I can give to anyone is to say that they had a great record collection. Here he is playing straight-up rock and roll on that familiar low-hung bass for the Brown Hornets.


Planet Mondo said...

This is my fave Stones album - I'm gonna enjoy this run. Found some great Stones bootlegs recently
(check google blogsearch) the truth is out there.