Thursday, August 7, 2008

Torn and Frayed

Exile on Main St.
Side Two, Track Two
"Torn and Frayed" – 4:17



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Well the ballrooms and smelly bordellos
and dressing rooms filled with parasites.
On stage the band has got problems,
they're a bag of nerves on first nights.

Rock and roll autobiographies come in all kinds. There's the tediously frank Lennon style ("Ballad of John and Yoko", "Mother"), the comic bragging style perfected by Springsteen ("Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", "Growing Up"). You have the sepia-toned nostalgia of Van Morrison's "Cleaning Windows", the egomaniacally specific "Solsbury Hill", and the whatever-it-is of "Nutbush City Limits". Wikipedia has a long list of these type of songs. The Stones check in with "Torn and Frayed", ostensibly about the wearying life of a band who is not the Stones on the road.

Joe's got a cough, sounds kind a rough.
Yeah, and the codeine to fix it.
Doctor prescribes drug store supplies
Who's gonna help him to kick it?

The recording itself is a sloppy mess of a mix, sloppier even given the sloppy standards of Exile. This has been the subject of some complaints, notably Mick, Jagger who has been vocal in his remarks. I'll address his comments in a future post. Me, I don't mind the mix at all. I said it before, but Exile's greatest virtue is the scope of its ambition, and it almost seems to me that the band wanted to follow these ambitions without having to worry about little things like getting a good sound on the bass or recording the high hat properly.

Well his coat is torn and frayed.
It`s seen much better days.
Just as long as the guitar plays
let it steal your heart away.

It is well known that Mick was getting a little fed up with the rampant drug use within and around the band. Here, at least, he used that frustration to good use, coming up with some of his best lyrics on the album.

3 comments:

Planet Mondo said...
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Planet Mondo said...

It's the texture and perhaps the 'messy mix', that make this album work. Did you ever hear Primal Screams album 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' they were really going for that Stones vibe, they caught some of the sound, but none of the soul.

Nanker said...

Marah also tried to capture the vibe of this album on their Kids In Philly album, somewhat successfully, I believe. I will check out the Primal Scream album.