Friday, October 15, 2010

Several Species Of Small Furry Thoughts-STONED

Finally, the most compelling evidence of The Rolling Stones as greatest band in the world is here. The 1972 concert film Ladies and Gentlemen... The Rolling Stones has never officially been released for home video and now it is out, in all its glory. This is it. If you love The Stones, there is no greater footage of this band in concert. I took home the Blu-Ray version and waited breathlessly as the band takes the stage and breaks into “Brown Sugar.” Not only is the song list exactly to my taste - heavy on Exile and Sticky songs, one can’t help but be mesmerized by the real miracle of this era of Rolling Stones - Mick Taylor! Again and again throughout this program Taylor absolutely floors you with his perfect guitar solos. His ability to lock into Keith’s groove and then go high above it with perfect, wailing cascades of notes is chilling. Speaking of Keef - he could not look or act cooler than he does in this movie. He is Rock perfection. Which is not to take anything away from the other Mick, whose performance is propelled by his manic, druggy charisma more than the cultivated dance steps and audience manipulation of his modern performances. It should be a humbling reminder for any other band to watch this footage of how great the Stones really are, and any guitar player who thinks he is hot shit should take a moment to review Taylor’s leads on “Gimme Shelter,” “Love In Vain” or “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” before slinking back to their hole to practice for another thousand years. The picture and sound are cleaned up beautifully and the release also includes some interviews and three songs from a tour rehearsal that show the band in uber-hipster mode. It is hard to convey how great this footage is - all I can say is "this is it!"! 

Want more Keef? There has just been a release of his rarely heard reggae group called The Wingless Angels. Originally released in 1997, this album of chants and drum circles featuring Keith on guitar, bass, organ and vocals on every song. It is real roots reggae. This is not a bunch of goodtiming hits - it is a deep meditation of like-minded dreads and their patron from Babylon. It says much about Keith that this group of Rasta elders and experienced musicians let him into their circle, but they did, and they trusted him enough to play with them and record the results. This release expands the original album with a second disc of sessions that is as good if not better than the original. This is healing music for deep smoking and meditation. If you are ready for it; it can be a healing and uplifting experience, and it is an essential part of the Keith Richards mystery and mystique.

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