With the release of the Rolling Stones reissue of Sticky Fingers just a few weeks away we are going to unravel the stories behind the previously unreleased tracks included as bonus material on the various permutations of this eagerly anticipated package.
In its basic format the album is reissued on CD, vinyl and download, with just the 10 tracks that featured on the 1971 release of this classic album. The deluxe 2 CD version includes 5 studio recordings, and these are on the deluxe box set, the super deluxe set and the deluxe vinyl reissue. The five tracks are…
1. Brown Sugar (Alternate Version with Eric Clapton)
On 18 December 1970, the birthday of both Keith Richards and Bobby Keys, producer, Jimmy Miller celebrated it by hosting a party at Olympic Studios. All the Stones were present as well as others there to share in the fun. In his book, Back Stage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, Al Kooper recalls the evening. “After the party they cleared away the debris and set up to record. They cajoled Eric Clapton, myself, and Bobby Keys to join them in a previously unheard song called ‘Brown Sugar’.
2. Wild Horses (Acoustic Version)
This version of Wild Horses lacks the electric guitars of the final version and is a delicate acoustic delivery with Keith and Mick playing some lovely fills to underpin Mick’s plaintive vocals. It features a lonesome piano played by Jim Dickinson and it all goes to reinforce the songs country credentials.
3. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Alternate Version)
Recorded in high summer 1970 at Olympic Studios in London, ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ was inspired by a signature Keith Richards riff, in open-G tuning. According to Keith, “I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we’re thinking, hey, this is some groove.“ Some Groove it is, and this alternate version was an earlier take from the one heard on the Sticky Fingers album. On the final version it became an extended jam after Mick Taylor kept playing as the original song, as heard on this version, ended. As Mick Taylor later said, “(The jam) just happened by accident; that was never planned. Towards the end of the song I just felt like carrying on playing.”
4. Bitch (Extended Version)
The alternate version of ‘Bitch’ is a longer, looser, earlier take that, like the final version, was recorded at Stargroves, Mick Jagger’s country home in October 1970. This alternate take has the horns tying different lines and fills and it has not the ‘attack’ of the final version on Sticky Fingers.
5. Dead Flowers (Alternate Version)
This early version features an extremely pretty finger picked electric guitar part that gave the performance a distinctly Byrds-like ambience. On this early version Mick Taylor artfully reproduced pedal-steel guitar-like tones and fills – but it lacks the swagger of the final album version. This was remedied later by turning up the rhythm section and Ian Stewart’s piano, losing the ‘Byrds-like’ guitar and adding a more rocking vocal showcase from Mick and Keith.
On the band’s farewell tour of the UK, before moving to live in France, they played nine cities and did sixteen show; prices were £1, 85p, 75p, 65p, with 50p tickets available in some places. According to The Spectator, “The band are playing with as much guts and excitement as they ever have done, and all of them with the exception of Mick Taylor are now pushing 30 (though Jagger at 50 is a curiously inconceivable image).” While The Record Mirror suggested, “The Rolling Stones proved once again that they are still the best little rock and roll band in the land.”
And here’s the proof, five tracks recorded at London’s Roundhouse on 14 March 1971 and the band’s complete concert at the University of Leeds the night before. The Leeds show, or at least an hour of it was broadcast a month or so later in April 1971 on the BBC. This lead to it being bootlegged but now you can hear it in all its glory with the first two tracks that have gone previously unheard.
The Roundhouse tracks are included on the deluxe 2 CD set, the deluxe 2CD box set, the super deluxe box set, and the deluxe 2 LP vinyl set. Leeds can be found on the super deluxe box set.
1. Live With Me
2. Stray Cat Blues
3. Love In Vain
4. Midnight Rambler
5. Honky Tonk Women
The University of Leeds
1. Jumpin Jack Flash
2. Live With Me
3. Dead Flowers
4. Stray Cat Blues
5. Love In Vain
6. Midnight Rambler
8. Honky Tonk Women
9. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
10. Little Queenie
11. Brown Sugar
12. Street Fighting Man
13. Let It Rock
On the deluxe edition box set and the super deluxe box set there are two tracks on DVD filmed at London’s Marquee Club on 26 March. According to the Melody Maker it was, “Before a small but elite audience that included Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Ric Grech, and Andrew Oldham”. The DVD is in the deluxe 2CD box set and the super deluxe box set.
1. Midnight Rambler