Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Honky Tonk Women

After the release of "Beggars Banquet", and the "Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus" extravaganza in December 1968, the Stones took a two months break before starting recordings for a new studio album. During various sessions at Olympic Sound Studios (February-May, 1969) the band, mainly without Brian Jones, recorded some 10 new tracks, among which gems like "Midnight Rambler", "Gimme Shelter", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Sister Morphine" and "Love In Vain".

Nicky Hopkins and American guitarist Ry Cooder played important roles during the recordings, but Ian Stewart was invited to play piano on the band's next single release, "Honky Tonk Women". Author Martin Elliott recalls: "A short session in May 1969 enabled Mick Taylor to establish himself as suitable for an honorary guitar position with the Stones, and one of the first songs he played on was "Honky Tonk Women".

Jimmy Miller taps out the first few beats on the cowbell. Charlie Watts then hits the snare and kicks into the bass drum. Keith Richards follows shortly with the guitar riff. "Honky Tonk" is a unique piece of rhythm artistry. The released take features Ian Stewart's piano and brass instruments in the background. Was this Jim Horn who was playing with Leon Russell at the time or Bobby Keys and Jim Price who where recording with those soul stax rockers, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett?"

Adapted from the following source: Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.

1 comment:

  1. May 12 - June 5, 1969: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Downtown Suzie (Wyman) (3:46)
    The Rolling Stones: Loving Cup (early version) (Jagger-Richards) (6:24)
    The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (Jagger-Richards) (5:29)
    The Rolling Stones: Honky Tonk Women (Jagger-Richards) (3:01)

    Keith Richards: Firing Brian
    Ian Stewart: Taylor joining
    The band weren’t really worried about replacing Brian because in ‘68-69, they were top of the heap. They could have had anybody they wanted, including God himself. Clapton came to a recording session. Mick Taylor was very quiet and shy, but they got him playing. He was right. He could play. Mick Taylor: Joining the Stones
    Mick was in a side room doing an interview with the International Times, and Jimmy Miller was just sitting there. Keith turned up three hours later. It was like a bolt out of the blue, taking me completely by surprise. As soon as it was offered, of course, I wanted the job. It was very loose, nothing was discussed. I just went to the studio and played.

    690417A 17th April - 2nd July: London, Olympic Sound Studios. Producer: Jimmy Miller. Sound engineers: Glyn Johns, Vic Smith, Andy Johns, and George Chkiantz. With Mick Taylor from 24th May onwards. Incl.
    - Downtown Suzie (Wyman) - Jimmy Miller on percussion
    - Loving Cup (Jagger-Richards) - early version aka “Give Me A Drink”; Mick Taylor on guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano
    - Let It Bleed (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano, Bill Wyman on autoharp
    - Honky Tonk Women (Jagger-Richards) - Mick Taylor on guitar, Ian Stewart on piano, Jimmy Miller on cowbell, Reparata and The Delrons, Nanette Newman and Doris Troy on backing vocals, Steve Gregory and Bud Beadle on horns.

    Note: During the sessions also early versions of Live With Me and Country Honk were recorded.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc)/Keith Richards (gtr, bvoc)/Bill Wyman (bass, bvoc)/Charlie Watts (dr).