Coming, as it did, on the back of Exile On Main Street, arguably the Rolling Stones masterpiece, Goats Head Soup never really stood a chance. However, those that dismiss it are missing the point. To their credit, the Stones didn't try to recreate the dirty sound of Exile, but took a new approach entirely - a much more pensive, melancholic approach, showcased to full effect on the likes of Angie, 100 years ago, Coming Down Again, and the epic, sweeping ballad Winter.
If it's rockers you're after, you may feel a little short-changed here. Indeed, the only track that rocks convincingly is Heartbreaker, and even that's unconventional. However, the one-two punch of Silver Train and Hide Your Love represent the bluesier end of the Stones spectrum, and they do it well. In fact, the only tracks that aren't convincing are opener, Dancing With Mr D, and closer, Star Star. The latter is a very tame Chuck Berry wannabe, the lyrics of which seem rather contrived, as if intended to stir controversy, and as such come off looking merely foolish.
These two tracks ensure that Goats Head Soup is not a classic album. But to be fair, it's not far off. It's only real crime was that it came after a genuine classic against which it will always be judged. But judged unfairly. You'd do well to remember that.