on 21 May 2009
There may be a smidge of nostalgia here, but Goat's Head Soup will always be my favourite Stones album. I have had the vinyl record since it was first released in the 70's and it has been played countless times. Silver Train starts the second side with a flourish, after the soulful Angie, and I've always felt this album's running order lent itself well to a short break after the hit song. But there is so much to this album besides Angie! In those days the Stones experimented with the longer track and more complex musical structures; the sublime Coming Down Again, Winter and Hide your Love are proof enough. This is a real album and should be enjoyed end to end!
on 1 July 2009
One of the very best records in the bands illustrious history.
A straightforward remaster and release. Consider the sonic improvements (and they are evident throughout the album) as putting a fine edge to the work done on the previous Virgin remasters. Given I'm an audiophile and Stones FAN I did'nt hesitate to pay the reasonable price to upgrade and thank the band for the privilege.
on 25 July 2009
Many years ago on Channel 4, as part of its art strand, there was a programme called 'J'accuse..'which took potshots at cultural icons and debunked legends. One such programme concerned the Stones and their musical output from the early seventies onwards was dismissed.
If 'Exile On Main Street' was the creative highpoint of the Stones Mark 2 (and it's far from perfect for some - vocals mixed badly, Keith cutting into Jagger's vocals off key) why should everything that followed be so easily dismissed.
'Goats Head Soup' has finally started to get its due respect as other reviews on this site have clearly seen fit to give it 5 stars.
Approached as a companion album to 'Sticky Fingers' rather than a follow up to 'Exile...' things to start to make more sense. Some of the songs follow the more sophisticated arrangements of 'Sticky Fingers' numbers - eg 'Winter' could be a sister to 'Moonlight Mile'. The rock ballad '100 Years Ago' features some of Mick Taylor's most expressive guitar playing as Billy Preston brings the song to a funky conclusion.
In spite of the good taste on show, the Stones still get lowdown dirty rude on a Chuckesque riff (see Star Star and it's lyrical content which wonderfully evokes everything right and wrong about the seventies.)
Don't take too much notice of the critical consensus of the time regarding the Stones seventies output or you'll miss out.
on 17 June 2004
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.
`Goats' Head Soup' was the Stones' 1973 follow-up to the epic `Exile on Main Street', widely regarded as one of the greatest rock albums of all time and a tough act to follow. GHS is a polished and melodic collection full of good stuff, much of it composed by Mick Taylor or co-composed by Taylor and Jagger.
Among the album's 10 songs is the global mega-hit single `Angie' released weeks before the album, and a bunch of well-crafted rock numbers like `Heartbreaker' and the sing-along `Star Star' (the song's real title `Starf***er' changed on the album cover to avoid controversy: it's about a rock & roll groupie) with its high-energy and catchy chorus.
GHS contains Mick Taylor's most confident and energetic contributions to the Rolling Stones' music during his five years' stay with the band. He was at his element in the studio. Robert Palmer (NY Times) wrote "Taylor was the most accomplished technician who ever served as a Stone. A blues guitarist with a jazzman's flair for melodic invention, Taylor was never a rock and roller and never a showman." By 1974, Taylor had left the band and was replaced by Ronnie Wood with a playing style much closer to that of Keith Richards.
This album ends the `main sequence' of great works by the Stones, which began with `Beggars' Banquet'. Post-GHS, the Stones entered a new era.
on 7 May 2009
So the first batch of Stones remasters are upon us and what are we getting for our hard earned cash?
The packaging is the same as the previous Virgin issues from 1997, no extra photos from the cover shoot or sessions. No insightful sleeve notes from someone like Roy Carr or Charles Shaar-Murray whose long out of print Rolling Stones - An Illustrated Record is still required reading.
The mastering is an improvement over previous issues especially the bass and drums but in this case the original American master tape has been used complete with sloppy vocal overdub to mask the reference to "feminine freshness" that appears on Star Star. A case for retaining the previous Virgin issue which has the overdub missing and is as intended.
On the down side the discs have not been issued as hybrid s.a.c.d. like the A.B.K.C.O. issues of the Stones' Decca back catalogue from a few years back which set the bar higher for Stones issues.. The c.d. cases are also those flimsy super audio jewel boxes which seem to be the fashion these days and they break all too easily.
I don't have too much to say about the music other than that this is a much under rated album having initially been viewed as a major disappointment after the majestic hedonism of Exile On Main Street. It is worthy of reappraisal as it does still contain much of what The Stones do superbly; just not as up tempo as other albums.
A Stones nut like me will buy without hesitation. Others will have to decide if the sound improvement is worth the extra outlay. An opportunity missed?
on 15 July 2009
I personally adore this album and can't see why it has such a bad rep. Yes it came after an amazing run of flawless albums but the only real flaw this album has is the expectation of living up to the previous albums. Listen to 'Winter' and 'Coming Down Again' and tell me you're not blown away. The Stone's are at their peak and doing what they do best. On another note, I'm just reviewing the album not the reissue.
on 6 October 2013
In my early teens I sent my sister out on her shopping trip to buy the Stones Hits LP and she returned with what was their latest LP. I was disappointed at first but came to love their latest offering. It forms a part of my teenage DNA and just had to buy the CD with all my LP's a long time gone. With the CD now in my hands it takes me back. A very underrated album. Maybe not as raunchy as previous offering but it has a special place in my long gone Stones heart, More piano than guitar based it is one of their best if you choose to listen. Enjoy, The Stones at their subtle best,,,
on 2 May 2005
Firstly, ignore the critics. Secondly, buy the album and see how cohesive the songs are. All Stones fans should own this album, it's probably not for the casual fan...look beyond the faceless reviews and you will find some of the Stones best work. IMHO, it's the guitar genius of Mick Taylor and the songwriting of Jagger (usually Richards was mashed) that pull the album through to make it a fine follow-up to "Exile". "Winter" is without doubt the best ballad, it has aged better than "Angie" which is fast becoming my least fave song. "Star Star" is, contrary to the reviews that rip it up as lame Berry rock, a fun stomper of a tune driven by Taylor's boogie-woogie rhythm with a catchy chorus. "Hide Your Love" keeps up the Stones heritage as a blues band with some excellent piano from Jagger and some soaring licks from Taylor. "Silver Train" moves well and has some magic slide guitar. "100 Years Ago" begins whimsically but fast becomes a thumping rocker, driven by Taylor's new-found interest in the Wah-Wah pedal vizzavi "Heartbreaker" with its pounding bass/drum combo from the legendary Watts/Wyman rhythm section. "Coming Down Again" is one of the most pensieve songs Keith has ever sung...it is beautiful and goes to show what Mr. Richards can do when he puts his mind to it. "Can You Hear the Music?" harks back to the Brian Jones age, with its Eastern influenced rhythms and murky guitars...a fine Taylor solo cut short by mixing however...The opener "Dancing with Mr. D" begins well, a new exciting riff and some brilliant lead from Taylor...however that new riff fast becomes boring after it is repeated over 4 odd minutes. Perhaps it should have been a shorter song. Well, that about covers the album, go out pick it up for less than a tenner and give it a play keeping in mind that it came off the back of one of the greatest albums of all time
I've always loved GHS more than any other Stones album. Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street might contain more varied and exciting tracks, but this is the one I'd save from the fire. It has a special place in the heart of this old Stones fan, from its weirdly moody cover artwork to strangely haunting songs like the slow ballad Coming Down Again - sung very nicely by Keith - and the suitably shivery Winter, one of their most unusual songs and for me the frosty heart of this record. (It reminds me of Van Morrison's Snow in San Anselmo from his similarly undervalued album Hard Nose the Highway - from, oddly, the same year.)
Even the opening rocker Dancing With Mr D is relatively restrained by the band's standards. After the brooding Coming Down Again, with Bobby Keys eloquent on sax, there's the terrific - if unpromisingly entitled - Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) which is one of many highlights on this 1973 LP.
Mick Taylor is the guitarist alongside Keith, and his fluid riffs are exactly right for the songs on GHS, and Mick never sang to greater effect either.
Angie was the big hit, and is placed at the end of what was Side One, a lovely song that still sounds good. One thing about this album is that none of it comes across as artificial or 'posed', this is the Stones at their creative peak, on ten good to great songs that haven't dated one iota.
Star Star closes proceedings in more typically louche, high-powered style, a cathartic finale (with its bracingly rude refrain) to a marvellous record.
The rest of it is as refreshing and memorable as the tracks mentioned, and this must count as one of the band's most underrated albums - sad to see so many low ratings on this page too.
The seventies was a purple period for so many artists, from Neil Young and Van the Man to Little Feat and The Band, and the Stones gave us the masterly Sticky Fingers and Exile, then later the unduly neglected Black and Blue and rightly praised Some Girls but, as I say, for me this is my personal favourite. It has atmosphere, integrity and at times a meditative beauty not often associated with the old reprobates.
A wonderful Stones album.