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4.3 out of 5 stars
Exile On Main Street
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201 of 218 people found the following review helpful
Following an album like 1971's magnificent "Sticky Fingers" was always going to be a tall order - but The Stones did it with swagger and panache. "Exile On Main St" was released 12 May 1972 as a 2LP set on Rolling Stones Records COC 69100 in the UK and on COC 2-2900 in the USA. It reached the coveted number 1 spot on both sides of the pond - and like The Beatles "White Album" before it - is a flawed and sprawling thing but considered by most to be a masterpiece nonetheless. And this fabulous Expanded 2CD Reissue/Remaster is only going to cement that legendary reputation even more. Here are the big red rubber lips, double entendres and three balls in a man's mouth...

Released 17 May 2010 - "Exile On Main St." by THE ROLLING STONES on Rolling Stones/Polydor 273 429-5 (Barcode 602527342955) breaks down as follows:

Disc (67:18 minutes):
1. Rocks Off
2. Rip This Joint
3. Shake Your Hips
4. Casino Boogie
5. Tumbling Dice
6. Sweet Virginia [Side 2]
7. Torn And Frayed
8. Sweet Black Angel
9. Loving Cup
10. Happy [Side 3]
11. Turd On The Run
12. Ventilator Blues
13. I Just Want To See His Face
14. Let It Loose
15. All Down The Line [Side 4]
16. Stop Breaking Down
17. Shine A Light
18. Soul Survivor

Disc 2 (41:12 minutes):
1. Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren)
2. Plundered My Soul
3. I'm Not Signifying
4. Following The River
5. Dancing In The Light
6. So Divine (Aladdin Story)
7. Loving Cup - Alternate Take
8. Soul Survivor - Alternate Take
9. Good Time Women
10. Title 5

Disc 1 has the full double-album compliment of 18 tracks while Disc 2 is a new 10-track mixture of previously unreleased outtakes and alternate versions. All songs are by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards except "Ventilator Blues" which is co-written with Mick Taylor, while "Shake Your Hips" and "Stop Breaking Down" are Slim Harpo and Robert Johnson cover versions. As with "Sticky Fingers", the additional musicians and producer (Jimmy Miller) added hugely to the power of almost every song and should be noted for it - Bobby Keys on Saxophone, Jim Price on Trumpet, Nicky Hopkins, Ian Stewart and Billy Preston on Piano and Organ with lady-soul veterans Clydie King and Vanetta Fields on Backing Vocals. Dr. John also sang backup on "Let It Loose".

SOUND:
As with the 2009 reissues STEPHEN MARCUSSEN (over 1000 mastering credits to his name including the "Alfie" soundtrack with Mick Jagger) and STEWART WHITMORE of Marcussen Mastering have remastered the original tapes and the sound is glorious throughout. "Loving Cup" followed by "Happy" are beautifully clear and "Tumbling Dice" is at last full and in your face. Most every track is improved - the instrumentation in your speakers with a fabulous live and shambolic feel. The acoustic and harmonica opening of "Sweet Virginia" and the drums of "All Down The Line" are superb. To me it's a huge improvement, a balls-to-the-wall triumph. Downsides - the hiss level on "Shine A Light" that was there in the first place is now more accented as it is on the frantic "Rip This Joint". Some despised the 2009 remasters, so this will be more of the same for them, but most I suspect will absolutely love it. Wish I could say the same about the presentation...

PACKAGING:
Very poor I'm afraid. The front flap and rear of the original 2LP cover are produced on the outside of the digipak (as they should be) with the inner LP photo spread reproduced on the inside of the digipak, BUT the original vinyl double also had two fantastic inner sleeves and a set of fold-out postcards. Only 1 side of the two inners is reproduced! That the idiots would not bother picturing the 'postcards' seems to be par for the course for Stones reissues these days, but that great shot of Mick & Keith at the mike with whiskey bottle in hand is missing - as is the "I Don't Want To Talk About Jesus I Just Want To See His face" quote on the other side - unbelievable! The supposedly exclusive 12-page booklet is different to all other issues, but turns out to be just black and white photos of the session and no liner notes whatsoever - none! The track-by-track details are now only bland black and white printed listings, which lose all of the inner sleeves magical artwork. It's an insult that this supposedly 'deluxe' reissue cavalierly misses out on crucial visual elements of the original release - it's hugely unimaginative and workmanlike at best.

BONUS DISC:
Although the 10 bonus tracks have the same original backing band - and despite what the track-by-track credits 'don't' tell you - it's obvious that the first 5 have had 'treatment' of some kind - vocal tracks added on/redone recently.

"Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren)" is an ok opener, but the track that sounds most like a genuine outtake peach is "Plundered My Soul" which is fantastic (it was issued in April 2010 as a limited edition Record Shop Day 7" single in the USA and UK). Best approximation is that it sounds like the B-side "Tumbling Dice" should always have had (lyrics above). "I'm Not Signifying" is ok, but hardly great, but there then follows a genuinely lovely ballad "Following The River" complete with the new girls giving it some soulful backing vocals (Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle). It's far better than you think. "Dancing In The Light" is a jaunty mid-tempo song similar to "Hide Your Love" off "Goat's Head Soup". The opening of "So Divine (Aladdin Story) is closer to Brian Jones Rolling Stones circa "Dandelion" and its really interesting - Jim Price on vibes and Bobby Keys on some kind-of treated saxophone sound. There follows two "Alternate Takes" of "Loving Cup" and "Soul Survivor". Now these are far closer to what we want - "Loving Cup" opens with a lovely Nicky Hopkins piano refrain and suddenly it's "there" - that shambolic feel to everything - especially the guitars of Richards and Taylor dueling to the end yet complimenting each other so perfectly. Now this I will love. And then another gem - Keith carrying the vocals and sloppy stuff on "Soul Survivor" instead of Mick - and it works - and when that riffing guitar kicks in, I'm balling my eyes out and there are chills on my arms. "Good Time Women" is a forerunner for "Tumbling Dice" and is fab - rough and tumble as well. "Title 5" opens with studio chatter of "Take 1" and is a strange little rocking instrumental which kind of peters out, interesting but that's all...

Ok - so there's no live stuff and there should be (legendarily good), the "All Down The Line" Alternate Take that's on the B-side of the "Plundering My Soul" 7" single isn't on here either, which is just stupid - and the 4-track Excerpts 7" Flexi single from the April 1972 NME in the UK with song edits and an exclusive "Exile On Main Street Blues" track is nowhere to be seen let alone pictured either. But overall - I'm kind of shocked at how good Disc 2 is. I'll ignore some of these newer makeovers for sure, but those Alternate Takes are thrilling.

In May 2012, "Exile" will be 40 years old and Mick and Keef will be more Zimmer Frames than Glimmer Twins. But that won't stop this coolest of double-albums from being the absolutely business. I suspect the real truth about this 2CD reissue is far simpler - men around the world will see this digital temptress pouting on the shelf of their local megastore, feel a quickening of the pulse and a movement in their trouser area - and be unable to resist.

And you know - you can't help but feel that these two canny English lads already know this...

PS:
HMV in the UK have issued "Exile" with the digipak inside an exclusive card slipcase (Polydor 274 102-3). I've pictured both sides of it for fans.

The Japanese, however, have not surprisingly got the most desirable version of them all; it's inside a 14-disc box set called "From The 70's To 00's" which contains all their albums from "Sticky Fingers" through to "A Bigger Bang". They are all on the SHM-CD format (Super High Materials) and each has the original album artwork repro'd on one of those 5" Mini LP sleeves we so love (UICY-91558). "Exile" is included - being the 2010 Remaster version - and is in a gatefold card sleeve complete with its original foldout postcards and two inner sleeves.
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2010
although the music is great, this version is absurd. The remaster is compressed therefore the dynamics in the sound are gone. If you want it on cd, get the one issued by Virgin. 7 of the 10 bonus tracks have recently been overdubbed, thus making them sound like the present day Stones.

I bought the vinyl version of this album and the vinyl sounds great. The real bummer is the dvd however. Just 30 minutes long. With extracts from Stones in Exile. That 151 minute film will be released on dvd in June while it should have been included with this box set.

De yourself a favour, get the vinyl version if you want this remaster and be smart and but the dvd next month (should you want it) and get more value for your money!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2013
This shall be a review of the 2010 Deluxe Edition Reissue of The Rolling Stones album, 'Exile on Main St'.

First of all, I would just like to say that this album is brilliant, absolutely brilliant stuff. Like many reviewers have said here, this album is considered the Stones' best. Being totally honest, I cannot say for certain whether or not that is the case. After all, can anyone? What I will say is this: if you're looking for an album that is full of top-class songs that leave their mark, then this is definitely the album for you.

In terms of the songs, I have to say that I really like them all. I would easily class every song as a 'grower', just my opinion there. However, my personal favourites on this one are 'Tumbling Dice', 'Sweet Virginia' (absolute bliss!), 'Let it Loose' and 'Sole Survivor'. Having said that, it is necessary to reiterate that every song on this album is a 'grower' and that makes it a very enjoyable album to listen to.

There is one problem though, despite all of the above. The problem has to do with the sound of this reissue. Overall, I have to say that it is not bad, but it is not too good, either. This is especially the case where Jagger's vocals are concerned. In some select tracks, the man is barely audible at all! Furthermore, there is no lyrics included in the 'Exclusive 12 Page Booklet', which makes the situation much worse, as far as I'm concerned.

Moving on slightly, the 10 previously unreleased tracks are absolutely fantastic. Again, just like the studio album, I like most to all of them, with the exception of 'Title 5', a studio jam. Funnily though, the sound on the bonus disc mops the floor with that of the studio album, which is, arguably, the one that is meant to sound better in the first place. Why this is, is beyond me. Still, if anybody else has had a similar experience with this release, just leave a comment.

To conclude, The Rolling Stones' 'Exile on Main St' is a brilliant album, one that I would highly recommend. The only problem is the sound. If you are looking for good quality vocal sound, then this may be a release to avoid, I'm afraid to say. If you can live with rough vocal sound, but a brilliant album, then definitely add this to your collection. Just my advice.

Thanks for reading. I hope it helps.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Whether or not "Exile on Main Street" is the greatest Rolling Stones album seems to this humble reviewer to completely miss the point. Good cases can be made for the wonders of "Sticky Fingers" containing some of their strongest songs, the arrogant strut of "Beggars Banquet" with its wonderful cover and then there is "Let it Bleed" an album which opens with "Gimme Shelter" and closes with "You Cant Always Get What You Want" which must have a fair call upon the crown. The point being that while "Exile" has stiff competition from within many of the wider works of the Stones its primary claim is that it is by far the most influential album conceived by the Glimmer Twins and possibly one of the most important rock albums ever. Get hold of a copy of Wilco's "Being there", Whiskeytown's "Strangers Almanac", The Clash's "London Calling" and even Springsteen's "the River" and "Exile" influences are all over them like a rash. That is not forgetting of course albums which are almost pay direct homage to the Rolling Stones 1972 master-work most notably Primal Scream's "Give Out But Don't Give Up", Green on Red's "Here come the snakes" and a large part of the collective output of Aerosmith, Afghan Whigs and a host of other bands.

What the Stones managed to "bottle" here was taking the double album format, infusing it with a shambolic charm and making their amalgam of country blues rock the template for rock music in the same way that Dylan's "Blonde on blonde" did for a generation of singer songwriters. Indeed both double albums could be distant relatives sharing a timeless quality which is hard to define but which is inculcated with a ramshackle quality and also an authentic experimentation combined with a devil may care attitude.

It is noticeable that most of the bands highlighted above are American and "Exile" is the Stones paying their debts to their musical influences from across the Atlantic with a vibe that seemed to transport a mix of Chicago and Nashville to the lazy and decadent surroundings of Villa Nellcôte in Southern France for recording purposes. The legends and myths which surround the recording sessions that led to "Exile" can be devoured in forensic detail throughout the music journals particularly "Uncut" and Robert Greenfield's patchy book "A Season in hell" . The "Exile" sessions were by any standards the ones which permanently ensured that the Dartford Temperance league particularly with Charlie's Watts's mammoth "Cognac" input would always be on a hiding to nothing. Neither at this time was Jagger the latter day saint we now know so well today and his description of the "party atmosphere of the sessions" takes the art of understating a fact to a whole new level. Indeed it was the introduction of the former Byrd and country genius Gram Parsons into the sessions as Keith's "best mate" which set the tone. It led to both of these iconic figures being pretty wrecked most of the time from a gigantic cocktail of drug taking to plain old booze which was supplied by a never ending cast list of hanger's on. But despite all this "Exile" is very much "Keith's album", he was clearly was the self appointed "King of the court" and it is testimony to his genius that these recordings from a humid recording basement in his rented villa often packed with a challenging coterie of followers, "ne'er do wells" and the notorious "les cowboys", turns out to be some of the Stones best.

As for the music, well you know the score by now. "Tumbling Dice" is my favourite Stones song bar none, "Happy" is one of the best things Keith ever committed to vinyl with its wonderful opening lines "Well I never keep a dollar past sunset, it always burned a hole in my pants" and the pristine quality of the version on here is a pure joy; you can hear the horns properly at last! For sentimental purposes I also still like to think that Gram Parsons might be singing in the background on "Sweet Virginia", love the swinging ballad "Torn And Frayed", the swampy "Ventilator Blues" and the deep gospel of "Shine a light". As for the new songs on this Deluxe Edition they are fascinating. "Good Time Women" is the template for Tumbling Dice, the alternative version of "Loving Cup" is very strong. Plundered my soul" essentially a new song and why "Following the River" never appeared on the original album in the first place is a mystery. That said why tamper with perfection? While the extras are fascinating and very important documents of a band at its creative peak they are not absolutely essential. What counts here is that "Exile on Main Street" has done more than most any other album to steer and condition the musical Zeitgeist for nearly forty years and long may it continue to exhort us in no uncertain terms to get our rocks off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2011
I've owned Exile for years. It is a fantastic piece of work and deserves its classic status. I recently gave in to buying the remastered 2 disc edition after holding off for a while.

The packing is a tad disappointing: the booklet doesn't have a holder, so it just falls out. There's no reproduction of the infamous Exile postcards which is a big oversight. Also, the credits on the songs are bit revisionist, crediting certain musicians on songs that they didn't play on.

The sound is very good, although it's not that much different than the previous remaster from 1994.

The 10 track bonus disc is good stuff. "Plundered My Soul" is especially excellent, Jagger's additional vocals are splendid and it's heartening to hear Mick Taylor working on a Stones project again.

It seems that the Stones recent remaster series has been a bit of a missed opportunity, what with so many great songs, such as "Criss-Cross Man" and "Fast Talking, Slow Walking..." from the Goats Head Soup sessions, remaining in the vaults. Perhaps they wouldn't want to have to pay the likes of Mick Taylor any further royalties?

So, overall: a 5 star album, 3 star packaging. However, it must be said: if you don't own this album, buy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2010
There's always been a vibe going around that you're truly cool and in the club if you quote Exile as being the peak of The Stones career. I don't agree with that at all. For instance Sticky Fingers, their previous release has got it all goin' on with classic tracks like Brown Sugar, Wild Horses and what's more the recording production is clearer.
Exile's still full of Stones flavour though and it's sloppy feel is worth getting into. Shame that Mick's vocal is often buried deep in the mix and with no lyric sheet provided within this deluxe edition you're struggling to work out what the guy's on about!
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2010
wow..we know that the stones have been more of a corporation in the spirit of a rock n roll mcdonalds..or "the walmart of rocknroll" for around 30 years or more now..but they were for a breif 5 or 6 years an incredible band, one of the best, and exile on main street is one of their greatest moments...so this box should and could of been awesome, however it is a disgrace and definetly something ive already sold off as i dont want it in my collection..i actually hate this reissue..why??
a 30 minute dvd that is now released as a 151 minute dvd making this dvd a waste of time..FOR the money we deserve at least the full dvd not some 30 collection of outtakes...no one can argue against the fact that the stones are just ripping us off here
a petty shoddy book of familiar photos with little to none text..no new notes revealing any new facts etc...probably the worst book ever put out on the stones..
the newly over dubbed tracks sound like eightiss outtakes..so the bonus disc is awful to
...possibly the worst box set ever released..a complete blatant rip off..compared it to the dylan beatles neil young etc boxes this is mick and the boys at their most corporate money crabbing worst..
their are hours of footage and genuine outatkes from exile on main street and none of it is here
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Stones' `Exile' album was released in May 1972, a year after `Sticky Fingers.' The band had moved to France to escape the high tax rates imposed by the then-government in the UK, and most of the music for EoMS was recorded in Keith's basement studio in Villefranche-sur-Mer in Provence through 1971 and finished off in LA (where Jagger reportedly took charge of the musical arrangements) early in 1972. The result is considered to be the Stones' career-best, their magnum opus, and their most important album because its influence on global rock music was so enduring.

Originally a double-vinyl release, EoMS is a mixed bag of musical styles with an energetic underlying rock-blues groove, shambolic and imperfect but very good overall. On first acquaintance it can sound a muddy, incoherent mess - really, that bad. But persist: repeated attentive listening is likely to win you over as the music reveals subtleties and hidden depths. It's a true rock classic.

Mick Jagger is on record several times saying he doesn't like EoMS for several reasons, his most common complaints being that the music turned out "too predictable" in style - i.e. not experimental enough - and that the production of the original album was sub-standard, with his vocals too far down in the mix.

He's right about the vocals BTW; apart from this, the 1994 Virgin release is an improvement on the 1972 original. The 2010 remaster is liked by some, considered `compressed and too loud' by others - but you do get 10 bonus tracks on a second CD. IMO we're still awaiting the definitive mix of EoMS (Steven Wilson where are you?) and are currently sold short by the string of mediocre and less-than-perfect releases of this great classic available up to 2014.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2011
I first bought this double album in 1978 on vinyl (I still have it) and also bought it on cd a few years back. I deliberated on buying it again for the extra tracks when it was re-issued again last year, but never got around to it. However, on seeing the price of £3.00, yes £3.00 for the whole original album plus the bonus tracks, I just could not resist such a great offer. Amazon show much more imagination, that iTunes never seem able to do, with their pricing policies.
Yes, but is it any good I hear you say.....I have been a Stones fan for a number of years and this is the one album I always come back to. I have read numerous reviews of this album and they vary greatly. However, I am in the camp that says that this is the culmination of the essential run of albums starting with Beggars Banquet in 1968 through to Exile in 1972. All Stones albums after Exile are measured against their last great release. Yes, subsequent albums have great tracks but none have ever matched the brilliance of Exile. Throughout there are just wonderful songs. One of my favourite Stones tracks has always been Let It Loose - one of Jagger's best moments but it seems to be underrated.
Because I originally bought it on vinyl, I still think of the album as 4 separate sides. If I had to pick, my favourite would be "side 4" - the four final tracks leave me speechless each time I play them.
This is just an enjoyable album.
Not too sure about the bonus/extra tracks as yet. The demo versions of Loving Cup, Tumbling Dice and Sole Survivor are very interesting to hear though, to see how the songs evolved and end up in their final form.
What I do know is that the original album is one of the best rock albums ever made and for £3.00 you just cannot go wrong!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2011
I first bought a copy of this album back in 1997. I was vaguely interested in the Stones, having listened to a greatest hits compilation & liking the odd tune here and there. I'd also heard good things about Exile from a friend ('It's a classic. You've got to get hold of a copy!'). But it didn't grab me straightaway - I felt the sound was a little murky, the lyrics occasionally indistinct & there didn't seem to be any standout songs. So I stuck it in the rack, where it stayed (with just a few brief visits to the CD-player in 1999 and 2004) for the next 14 years. I got it out earlier this year, having absorbed 'Beggar's Banquet' and 'Sticky Fingers', determined to give it another go. I've been listening to it on and off for the past few months.

On playing it again - well, it still sounds a little murky, the lyrics are occasionally indistinct and there aren't any standout songs (to put it another way, the level of songwriting is consistently high), but I now realise that standout songs and lyrical clarity aren't necessarily always a good thing. Some of the greatest albums are those which take a while to get into, where there isn't an obvious hit single, but which have a unity of purpose which reveals itself on repeated listens.

Exile is in that category. It's an exceptionally well put together album which has amazing unity. The songs vary widely in tempo and treatment (from the frenetic 'Rip this Joint' to the mellow 'Torn and Frayed' for instance) each seems to lead inevitably to the next and contribute a new aspect to the overall mood of the album (a kind of world-weary decadence).

Another hallmark of a great album might be that the quality of songwriting doesn't immediately reveal itself and that the songs you like the best changes over time. Exile ticks this box too. At first listen the songs sounds a little rough, hastily improvised and even slightly unfinished, but on repeat listens their complexity and subtlety becomes clear and the melodies begin to get under your skin. When I first heard the album back in 1997, the only song I really liked was the slightly country-ish 'Sweet Virginia'. In 1999 I decided that 'Happy' (an upbeat number sung by Keith) and 'Rip this Joint' had merits. In 2004, 'Torn and Frayed' sounded good. Just recently I've found 'Sweet Black Angel' singing itself in my mind as I stride around town. And 'Ventilator Blues' is creeping in too.

In conclusion - this is an album for the long haul, one to live with. Buy it, play it, don't necessarily expect to get into it straightaway. Be patient with it: in the long run the effort will be amply repaid. Like a fine wine (etc etc).
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