In honour of the Wolf’s presentation of the “Rolling Stones, Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park Live” (tonight at 7 pm) I thought I’d do a retro album review on my favourite Stones album, “Some Girls”. It is by far one of the most eclectic studio albums ever thrown together and I’d even contend that no record company today would allow a band to put it out due to its lack of a consistent sound. This isn’t a bad thing and in fact is one of the charms of classic rock – bands flexed as much artistic independence as they could through playing in different styles and much of it was a reflection of the influences on that particular artist. In the case of “Some Girls” the Stones are all over the map with country/honky-tonk licks, blues, rock and folk and the best part is that even though they play in these different genres, it all still sounds just like the Stones’s trademark swagger.
The album was put out in 1978 amid a cluster of other influences peppering pop culture at that time including disco, synth/prog-rock, and the rise of punk rock. They were also under pressure to produce an album to the standards of their 1972 success, “Exile From Main Street”. For a little more fuel in the fire, Kieth Richards was facing serious legal problems that could end in incarceration after a heroin bust in Toronto in 1977. The album would also be the first Stones album featuring former Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood as a full-time member.
The first single the band put out, “Miss You” is a fantastic groove with bass player Bill Wyman leading the way. Upbeat and with the typical Jagger swagger, it was a great choice to lead off:
The Rolling Stones - Miss you
“Beast of Burden” was the next release and it was a fantastic follow-up to “Miss You”. This song goes back to a more classic Stones’ sound featuring guitar riffs as the driving force behind the song. But the guitars don’t drive the song like they would in a Zeppelin or AC/DC tune – They’re laid back and groovy with Richards and Woods playing off each other throughout the song. If you listen closely, the two main guitars are panned left and right respectively, making them stand out even more:
The Rolling Stones - Beast of Burden
But “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” are pop-Stones and the best part of this album are the tracks that the band didn’t release that are real gems. Mick’s sarcastic southern drawl in “Far Away Eyes” is hilarious. “Shattered”, “When The Whip Comes Down”, and “Imagination” hearken back to a more classic Stones’ sound and the lyrics for the title track “Some Girls” created quite the controversy with the line “Black girls just want to get f*&ked all night, I just don’t have that much jam…”. But my absolute favourite track features Kieth Richards on vocals, “Before They Make Me Run”:
The Rolling Stones - Before The Make Me Run
“Some Girls” is not just an album you own because you’re a Rolling Stones fan; it’s an album you own if you’re a music fan and it’s one of the Stones’ best efforts in the studio. Enjoy the Rolling Stones special “Sweet Summer Sun – Live At Hyde Park” tonight on the Wolf at 7 pm!