Saturday, March 30, 2013

Silver Train

On the way back from their Australasian tour, the Rolling Stones went to their homes all over the world before travelling to London to resume recording of the new studio album. All basic tracks for "Goat's Head Soup" were recorded during sessions at Dynamic Sound Studios, Kingston, Jamaica (November-December 1972). Mixing and overdubbing of the album took place in May-June 1973 at Island Studios, London, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards taking over Jimmy Miller's producer role.

Being the only blues and boogie oriented track on the album, 'Silver Train' stayed closest to the band's electrifying 'roots' sound on the previous two albums. No wonder, since the origins of the song dated back to the October 1970 recording sessions at Olympic Sound Studios and Stargroves (with the Mobile Recording Unit), during which many "Sticky" and "Exile" tracks were first taped.

In his book The Rolling Stones: The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Steve Appleford catches the spirit of the song best: "The Stones recorded 'Silver Train' at Island Studios in London, seemingly inspired to reconnect with some chugging blues rock. And who better to send the boys along than that erstwhile Stone, Ian Stewart? His spirited boogie-woogie keyboard work is joined here by the slippery bottleneck of Taylor and the frantic harp-playing of Jagger, who blows a stirring train whistle between lyrics describing another jolly encounter with a prostitute".

Adapted from the following sources:
Steve Appleford, The Rolling Stones: The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Carlton Books Limited, 2010.
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.

1 comment:

  1. May 28-June 20, 1973: Island Recording Studios, London, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Silver Train (Jagger-Richards) (4:27)
    The Rolling Stones: 100 Years Ago (Jagger-Richards) (4:06)
    The Rolling Stones: Angie (Jagger-Richards) (4:31)
    Keith Richards: Ending it with Jimmy Miller
    Jimmy Miller went in a lion and came out a lamb. We wore him out completely. Jimmy was great, but the more successful he became the more he got like Brian. He ended up carving swastikas into the wooden console at Island Studios. It took him three months to carve a swastika. Meanwhile, Mick and I finished up Goats Head Soup.

    The Rolling Stones: Can You Hear The Music (Jagger-Richards) (5:31)
    The Rolling Stones: Criss Cross Man (Jagger-Richards) (4:22)
    The Rolling Stones: Dancing With Mr. D. (Jagger-Richards) (4:51)
    The Rolling Stones: Coming Down Again (Jagger-Richards) (5:54)
    The Rolling Stones: Star Star (Jagger-Richards) (4:25)
    Mick Jagger: Star Star
    I suppose we ask for it if we record things like Star Star. Christ, I don't do these things intentionally. I just wrote it. If girls can do that, I can certainly write about it, because it's what I see.

    730428A 28th May onwards: London, Island Recording Studios. Mixing and overdubbing for the album ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ (partially without Keith Richards). Producer: Jimmy Miller. Sound engineer: Andy Johns (with Howard Kilgour). Incl.
    - Silver Train (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano, Jimmy Miller on percussion
    - 100 Years Ago (Jagger-Richards) - Nicky Hopkins on piano, Billy Preston on clavinet, Jimmy Miller on percussion
    - Angie (Jagger-Richards) - Nicky Hopkins on piano, strings arranged by Nicky Harrison
    - Can You Hear The Music (Jagger-Richards) - Jim Horn on flute, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Rebop on congas, Jimmy Miller and Pascal on percussion
    - Criss Cross Man (Jagger-Richards) - Bobby Keys on sax; aka ‘Save Me’
    - Dancing With Mr. D. (Jagger-Richards) - Nicky Hopkins on piano, Billy Preston on clavinet, Pascal on percussion, Rebop on congas
    - Coming Down Again (Jagger-Richards) - Bobby Keys and Jim Horn on saxes, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Jimmy Miller on percussion
    - Star Star (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano and percussion, Bobby Keys on sax.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, gtr, harm)/Keith Richards (gtr, bass, voc, bvoc)/Mick Taylor (gtr, bass, bvoc)/Bill Wyman (bass)/Charlie Watts (dr).
    Additional musicians: Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, Rebop, Pascal, Ray Cooper, Jim Price, Nicky Harrison, Chuck Finley and Jimmy Miller.