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A classic banquet from 1968,
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Audio CD)
After the 1967 pop-psychedelic `Satanic Majesties' project, the Stones returned to their rock/blues form in style with `Beggars Banquet' featuring some storming tracks which subsequently became all-time concert favourites. BB introduced the `main sequence' of classic Rolling Stones albums including `Let it Bleed', `Sticky Fingers' and the epic `Exile on Main Street'. BB was also the last time Brian Jones recorded with the band, though his contributions to the album are sporadic and generally unmemorable because for much of the time, he failed to show up at the studio.
The opener `Sympathy for the Devil' sets the tone with ironic and edgy lyrics sung from the Devil's point of view, backed by a simple samba rhythm played on congas and vocal `whoops' to give it a primitive, raw feel. The high standard never lets up, with `No Expectations' the sole track where Jones' contribution really shines as he plays some mean slide guitar.
There are no fillers on this collection but the defining track is `Street Fighting Man' which came to embody the spirit of student rebellion in 1968, and even now is often deployed as a soundtrack for film pieces about the political unrest of `summer 68'. In 40 years, there has probably not been a single live stones concert where SFM has not been performed. Other highlights are the R&B `Dear Doctor', the raunchy `Stray Cat Blues' with its overtly sexual lyrics, and the folk-themed `Factory Girl'.
On BB the Stones finally found their definitive style as composers and performed with a new maturity & confidence. It still sounds fresh even in the 21st century, and is perennially voted into the `top 100 greatest albums of all time.'
Due to a minor error in the original analogue tape mastering process BB was heard for over 30 years at a slightly slower speed than it was recorded, so the key of each song on all releases before 2002 is a semitone lower than performed by the band in the studio. This was finally put right in 2002 when the ABKCO release restored the recordings to their true key and tempo. Subsequent releases (like the 2010 one from Universal) are at the original tempo and 30 seconds shorter than earlier versions, so if you want to hear the music as the band intended in 1968, buy a recent version.