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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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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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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".

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...

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.

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...

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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on 16 June 2010
A lot of us grew up with this music, a lot of people love this stuff, so on with review. This really needs to be said. A lot of what I say here applies to other stuff currently being reissued. Some very good - the recent "Get your Ya Yas out" was quite good for example. Others, very bad indeed.

Exile on Main Street has now (finally) been re-issued.
How does the new mastering on the reissued vinyl and CD actually sound? Is it any good? The packaging is great - love the book, but what about the content? What's in the grooves?

Let's take the vinyl first. There is no way to sugar coat this, the sound on this record is a disgrace. No, that's too kind, it is a travesty. The mastering engineer involved should be ashamed of himself and this miserable excuse for a mastering job. The unbelievable lack of respect shown for this landmark, classic recording is breathtaking.

When first released in 1972 "Exile" was considered only a partial success. A lot of critics at the time found it too long, sprawling and the mix a muddy mess. However on a decent stereo system you hear a pretty good, complex recording, densely mixed (it takes a good cartridge to make sense of the mix). It is a very good production. If your cartridge (or your senses) were up to the mix. Critics were mumbling about a tired and confused band, possibly lacking in direction. That was completely wrong.

How many times have I heard this record? Lots, probably hundreds. A comparison of the 1972 US pressed original, mastered at Artisan in LA reveals just how bad this reissue really is. The new remastering sounds compacted, flat, two-dimensional, deliberately dynamically compressed and artificially "loud". The sound is artificial and "bloated". And a lot of the bass so present on the original has gone AWOL. The horns that blaze away with that mean edge on "Rocks Off" are flaccid, lacking in definition, Charlie Watts signature sound is soft. The CD ripped to an iPod and played back on cheapie earbuds will probably sound pretty cool, but a full size system capable of anything approaching dynamic range reveals this disgrace for what it is. It sounds like someone has sliced out the "feel" of the music - the digital transfer I guess - then pumped it with steroids.
This recording has had it's balls cut off.

44.1Khz/24 bit digital files were apparently used to cut the vinyl. This record should have been cut analog to analog from the tapes as was done with the recent Jimi Hendrix reissues and the Bob Dylans from a few years ago. However, leaving the analog/digital discussion aside - standard these days is 96Khz/24bit. "The Doors" vinyl reissues and the recent Neil Young reissues were all done at 192KhZ/24bit, the upcoming Beatles vinyl is also rumoured to be 192/24. So what's the excuse for "Exile"?

Who was responsible for this? It's hard to believe either Keith or Mick actually listened closely to this miserable mess, though it's possible. The vinyl was cut by Doug Sax of "The Mastering Lab", a legend in the mastering game. However, he only cut to vinyl the 44.1K/24bit files he received. The mastering engineer responsible for this is Stephen Marcussen, of Marcussen Mastering.

No wonder Don Was (the Stones current producer) in a recent interview dodged questions on the new CD mastering, preferring to talk about Bob Ludwigs (Gateway Mastering) CD mastering for the 1994 reissue for Virgin records. When you play Bob Ludwigs CD, you'll hear what this record is supposed to sound like, as intended for a decent stereo system, with bass, full dynamic range and as much three-dimensionality as CD can manage, which isn't much, but here he's worked miracles.

The original invites you to turn up the volume, the reissue after five minutes invites requests to turn it down.

If you really want to hear this record in all it's magnificent, ragged, bluesy glory, find yourself a original american pressing with the Artisan double circle with the two lines mark in the deadwax. They're not that hard to find, take it down to a record store with a record cleaning machine to flush the dust of 40 years out of the grooves. Put it up, and turn it up.

This all said, the book and the DVD are great, the bonus CD is pretty good, though it's more of the same bad mastering. All the same, nice to have some new stuff. The reissue CD, just plain bad, loud mastering. The vinyl, an utter disgrace that everybody involved with should be ashamed of.
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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 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 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 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 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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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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on 3 September 2013
I bought this after reading some of the reviews saying it was well mastered. Don't believe them! I love this album, but I really can't listen to this remastered CD. It's harsh, it's so crammed up tight and just nasty. And it has the cheek to blame the old recording techniques for the distortion! Get an older version!
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on 20 May 2010
Well, this is it: everything American music was unknowingly building towards for 25 years. All those electric bluesmen, soul singers, country warblers, every American sound from Chuck Berry to Hank Williams to Otis Redding, every American sound that was thrown together and gave us Rock N' Roll, well this record is it's culmination; if you want pure, unadulterated Rock N' Roll, it's ultimate listening experience.
There's nothing groundbreaking here, nothing new, nothing wholly original and it may just wash over the first time listener in a muddy, indefinable hodge-podge of sound. The song titles may seem clichéd, the riffs could take a while to reach your ears and it may sound like you've heard it all before, but, over time, it begins to sound like no other record, yet simultaneously and brilliantly sounding like everything that came before it.
`Exile...' is the loosest, most seemingly thrown together record you'll ever hear and as close a studio album can come to actually sounding live. It's also one of the most meticulously made records you'll probably hear. Every muddied chorus, blast of brass, half heard backing vocal and random conga was put together painstakingly by the Stones during multiple takes. No studio record can sound this natural unless you know exactly what you are doing and it's that exactitude that creates such sounding `spontaneity'.
`Exile On Main Street' is an album in which you can immerse yourself and like any good book or film inhabits it's own world. Ultimately this is not just a collection of good songs but an experience. Surely that's what all great albums should be.
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on 16 July 2002
The roughness of punk, melody of pop, attitude of rap, poetry of folk, humour of ska, poignancy of country and integrity of blues...oh, and a bit of gospel too.
What other band, of the stature The Stones were in 1972, would be brave enough to produce a record with so many rough edges? When you first listen to Exile you'd think this was a local band who need a bit more time to rehearse. As with so many good things in life though, this record grows on you. I've owned this record for over 15 years and still hear new things every time I listen to it. We all have albums we thought were great for the first few listens, but very quickly become sickly sweet. It's the warts-n-all roughness of this that makes it great. Eventually you will begin to hear the controlled musicianship, and this, mixed with top quality songwriting, means they pull it off brilliantly.
Few albums have a character uniquely their own. Most are carriers for singles with a 4/5 extra tracks to flesh them out, and too little thought is given to the overall result (please don't mention "concept" albums). Even given that The Stones' previous four albums were classics, and nearly ten years of superb singles went before it, this is still their masterpiece. It's quite simply the most together piece of rock'n'roll you'll ever hear.
Compared to Exile, much of what we hear today sounds bland, characterless and pointless. Not to mention tacky. Mind you, against this album, most of the popular music in 1972 probably sounded like that too.
If you're new to The Stones, this isn't the best place to start. More immediately accessible are Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed and Sticky Fingers. This though, is the album that will change the way you look at, and listen to, pop music.
PS. For those of you who like the bar-room country style of Exile, you must get "The Band" by The Band. It's their first LP, and followed a period as Bob Dylan's backing group.
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on 19 March 2015
The Stones, eh!? What can you say about them that hasn't already been said, partic. in terms of a truly supersonic album like '...Main Street' as 'aficionados' no doubt call it, so well known, so celebrated, are so many of the tracks, so engrained in rock n roll infamy is the recording thereof in exile in France. Well, here are a few lesser known 'facts' -
1. The 'Main Street' in question is in Rawtenstall, Lancs.
2. 'Tumblin' Dice' was originally titled 'Mumblin' Lice' after a 'dose' of French 'crabs' which Mick contracted at a local house of ill-repute, and which Keith swore up and down he'd heard talking about him during a late night 'session'.
3. Bill 'Perks' Wyman had a consignment of Branston Pickle smuggled into the country inside a large bag of Keith's heroin.
4. Richard Stillgoe played Hammond organ on 'Happy,' not Jimmy Miller.
5. Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett sang backing vocals on 'Shine a Light'.

So stick that up your pipe and smoke it.
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