Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fact sheet: Exile On Main St.

Exile On Main St., recorded mainly in 1971 and released in May 1972, is considered to be the greatest album The Rolling Stones ever made. Author James Hector puts the record in some fine perspective: "What Exile captured was a band wholly conversant with their own limitations. By defining their own terms, and by not falling foul of contemporary fads and fashions, the Stones touched base with what inspired them in the first place.

The act of collective music-making, in the leisured ambience of a kitchen/basement, enabled them to fulfil what they weren't able to achieve back in 1962. And now able to draw on all the sources they'd accessed during their ten-year career, their vast musical education enabled them to fully control those influences, rather than let themselves simply become the sum of them. There's nothing ostentatious, or even immediately gripping about the results. But rarely has a group reacquainted itself with both the original, and a contemporary vision of itself, and emerged with a hybrid that seemed quintessential, and yet wonderfully out-of-sorts with both".

Ian Stewart played piano on three tracks, 'Sweet Virginia', 'Stop Breaking Down', and 'Shake Your Hips'. Other members of the keyboard department on this record were Nicky Hopkins (piano on 12 tracks) and Billy Preston (piano and organ on 'Shine A Light'). May 2010 saw the re-release of 'Exile', including a second disc with ten previously unreleased alternates and leftovers, originally recorded in 1970-1971. Nicky Hopkins played on all but one of these tracks, while Stu contributed a piano line to 'Dancing In The Light' (with new vocals by Mick Jagger).

Adapted from the following source: James Hector, The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones, Omnibus Press, 1995.

Suggested further reading:
Bill Janovitz, The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St., Continuum, 2007.
John Robinson, Exile On Main St., The Ultimate Music Guide (from the makers of Uncut)
Charles Shaar Murray, Party On (album review), Mojo Special Edition, 2003.

1 comment:

  1. March-May, 1970: Olympic Sound Studios, London and Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Stargroves, Newbury, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar (Jagger-Richards) (3:50)
    The Rolling Stones: You Gotta Move (McDowell-Davis) (2:34)
    The Rolling Stones: I Got The Blues (Jagger-Richards) (3:54)
    The Rolling Stones: Cocksucker Blues (Jagger-Richards) (3:29)
    The Rolling Stones: Dancing In The Light (Jagger-Richards) (2:44)

    700300B March - May: London, Olympic Sound Studios and Newbury, Stargroves (Mick Jagger’s house) with the Rolling Stones Mobile Record Unit. Producer: Jimmy Miller. Sound engineers: Glyn Johns, Andy Johns, Chris Kimsey (and Jimmy Miller for Cocksucker Blues).
    - Brown Sugar (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano, Bobby Keys on sax
    - You Gotta Move (McDowell-Davis) - Bill Wyman on electric piano
    - I Got The Blues (Jagger-Richards) - Billy Preston on organ, Bobby Keys on sax, Jim Price on trumpet
    - Cocksucker Blues (Jagger-Richards) - Mick Jagger (voc, gtr) only
    - Dancing In The Light (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano; instrumental
    - Dead Flowers (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano
    - As Now/Rock It/Traveling Tiger (Jagger-Richards) - all unverified.

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

    Note: during these sessions Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys and Jim Price also recorded with the band Sky (album ‘Sailor’s Delight’, released 1971).