Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pathé Marconi Revisited

The Rolling Stones' first recording sessions for a new studio album at Compass Point Studios (January-February, 1979) eventually didn't prove to be very fruitful, so in Summer 1979 the band decided to return to Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, probably in an attempt to regain their very successful "Some Girls" grooves. During three lenghty sessions between June and October the band not only worked on new material, but also returned to several outtakes from their earlier Pathé sessions.

Being the only keyboard player around, Ian Stewart once again got the chance to display his trademark piano playing on several songs, among which the up-tempo rocker 'Where The Boys Go', which would end up on "Emotional Rescue", and Keith Richards' 'Little T&A'. The latter song wouldn't see the light of day until 1981's rush hour "Tattoo You" album.

On 'Where The Boys Go', a typical Saturday-night-out-rocker, the Stones sound tight, although it's pretty clear why the song didn't end up on the "Some Girls" album, and why the band never included it in their live sets. Despite a brave Keith Richards solo the track is rather monotonous, although Mick Jagger tries to spice it up through his spoken cockney vocals about drinking, fighting and finding a 'piece of arse'.

On 'Little T&A', originally labeled as 'Bulldog', Keith Richards takes the lead vocals, in which he acknowledges that the dealers were squealing as he was off heroin. From the opening guitar chords the song is full of 'juicy' exitement (the pool's in but the patio ain't dry!). Typical Richards riffs abound while he twists his tongue around the vocal slang - T&A of course standing for 'tits and ass'. The Stones took the song on the road during their 1981-82 world tour.

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
James Hector, The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones, Omnibus Press, 1995.

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