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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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For many Stones fans this album is the bands greatest recorded moment, for me that award goes to Exile On Main Street, but this album runs it very close and is one of the great rock albums. Recorded in America and the UK in 1970/71 it comes right in the middle of the Stones purple patch, they'd just come off a successful American tour, albeit with the disaster that was Altamont still ringing in their ears, and were at the top of their game. Crammed full of Stones classics such as Bitch, Can't You Here Me Knocking, Moonlight Mile and, of course, concert favourite Brown Sugar. The Deluxe 2 CD edition has one disc of the original album and one disc of alternate takes and 5 live tracks recorded at London's Roundhouse on the tour to promote the album. The album has been remastered, by the same guys who remastered it back in 2010. There is an improvement in the sound, a bit more kick here, better definition on the instruments there, but to be fair not hugely different to the previous edition.

The real reason for investing in this edition comes on disc two. Those of us who have purchased the Deluxe Editions of the Zeppelin remasters will know that not all alternate takes offer up something interesting. Hearing some of those songs with missing lyrics has hardly set the heart pumping, and other tracks seemed to show no difference with the released version leaving a feeling that we'd been sold the emperor's new clothes. But here we have alternate takes of Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Bitch and Dead Flowers that are instantly recognisable as being different to the released versions. The one that has garnered the most interest has been the version of Brown Sugar with Eric Clapton on guitar. Available on various bootlegs and on Youtube for years, here the sound is nicely cleaned up and although not better than the version on the album still an exciting version of a classic track. Wild Horses is an even more acoustic version of a song that was already soaked with acoustic guitars. Can't You Hear Me Knocking is a very raw early version without the extended sax and guitar break at the end and no keyboards. Bitch is a much longer version than that on the album with the whole band cutting loose for final two minutes and the alternate version of Dead Flowers is clearly another raw work in progress.

Next up we have the 5 live tracks. I've used the word raw a few times already in this review but it is the best word to describe these five tracks. Remember these were recorded back in 1971, no auto tune here, when a guitar went out of tune it stayed out of tune to the end of the song. But what may have been lost in tunefulness is more than made up for in the performance level. It's widely acknowledged that the bands two best live albums are the official Get Yer Ya Ya's Out from 1969 and the not quite as official The Brussels Affair from 1973. This performance sits right in the middle of those two recordings when The Stones were right at the height of their live powers, perhaps only The Who could touch them at this time, and that live prowess just shines through on these recordings. One other reviewer has said these are the same recordings as Ya Ya's, they are not, they may have been previously available on bootlegs but this is their official release debut. A full gig from Leeds University is available of the Super Deluxe edition but I wasn't prepared to fork out an extra £60 for some vinyl I can't listen to and this gig. If you feel the same but want to hear the Leeds gig it's on Spotify

Overall this is a very good reissue, the slightly improved sound, the excellent alternate takes and of course some live tracks to show what the band was really capable of. My only gripe would be the lack of any liner notes. It would have been interesting to have some scribe tell us how the album was recorded and especially how, and where EC, came to be involved in a recording of Brown Sugar.
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OK, I would imagine that most folk already know this album and will already have it in some form or other. Therefore I will not dwell too long on the peerless music contained therein. The music is a mixed bag of styles taking in deep core blues numbers, hoary rockers and a spell of jazz-rock(almost!)in the latter minutes of Can't you hear me knocking which is worth the cost of admission alone.

Straight off I could hear Bobby Keys sax playing in Brown Sugar, the background bits and not just the hard blowing. The violins in Sway were more apparent. The detail in the sound of the slide guitar in You Gotta Move and a load of other fine aspects sound even more realistic than previously. High hats and snares crisp and all correct.

In particular the background is totally silent, no hiss at all to cloud the music.I also notice that the disc has not been mastered to be loud like all too many over compressed offerings these days. The sounds just emerge out of silence.

Sound quality 5 stars all round. Best I have ever heard it. Stephen Marcusson has managed to beat his own previous cd issue. I don't know how this could be, but he has. Everything just sounds better, but this sounds even clearer than previous, without any extra compression(best for lack of compression is the Virgin ones. They sound great on the right stereo cranked up. These sound better everywhere else) that I can hear. Astonishing!

The sonic differences are noticeable, not life changing or essential, rather small but perfectly formed.

The bonus tracks are all solid gold. I love them all. The newly uncovered Brown Sugar has no less than 4 guitars chiming away on it, the extra two co of Eric Clapton and Al Kooper. Interesting and well worth repeated listening sessions. It sounds a bit more animated and loose.

Wild Horses is honed back to the acoustic and all the more poignant for it. Clear as a bell. Mick's voice just floats out of the middle of this clean acoustic backing.

Can't you hear me Knocking is another gem, if only for the "how did they figure out how to make this sound better?" aspect. Here is an early version of a great song at a point where all the elements are essentially there, but not quite gelled..... So in a sense it is fascinating to try to figure out how did they make those choices to cut out the extra guitar curlicues and to make the rhythm less flowing and more choppy. It cuts short, which is no bad thing in the end. It is good to be able to hear Keith and Mick T swap guitar licks and hear them so clearly that it is no problem figuring out who is playing which.

Bitch. Longer, resonantly loaded with horns and extended. As good as the one we are used to, but longer and none the worse for it. Different vocal take, which again is an interesting thing to hear. Different guitar work in sections......all good stuff.

Dead Flowers sounds lighter and faster. Not quite as full of gravitas and the dark humour so evident in the final mix. Some great guitar licks that got the chop float around.....

The live tracks are superb. Full on wild early Stones and well recorded at that.

Overall one of the best bonus track filled cds that I have had the pleasure of getting my ears around. If only Led Zeppelins had been this good. If only the bonus tracks on the Exile reissue did not have the vocal lines redone by Mick. His current voice and singing style does not sound the same as the wilder Mick of back then and is out of place in a sense.

So, 2015 verdict is a solid thumbs up.
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on 18 February 2011
Exile on Main St (which is a great record) often gets the plaudits but Sticky Fingers pushes it to a very close photo finish. Simply put, it is a great album with the Stones, perhaps feeling more confident and "sparky" with Mick Taylor now in the band, take on the blues, ballads, country rock alongside their more "traditional" Chuck Berry like output. Several of the tracks were recorded in Alabama and it shows - the remastered version of Wild Horses is worth the price of the cd alone. Furthermore, as we now know from his excellent autobiography, by now Keith had mastered his own form of open tuning and his playing throughout the album is simply magnificent.

Perhaps they had been listening to early Santana because by track 4; Can't you here me knocking, they were in the mood for an extended "jam" session, a term later abused by "progressive rock" but in this context it demonstrates all of their talents to excellent effect. From the beginning "killer riff" from Uncle Keith through to Bobby Keyes saxophone and then finally in comes Mick Taylor with some fabulous lead guitar. This track is a true delight.

Jagger sings well, Charlie Watts is his usual sublime mode of percussive economy and in so doing demonstrates what rock drumming is all about.

However in the end great albums all need great songs; Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Sister morphine, I got the blues (with a fabulous organ solo from the late lamented Billy Preston), Moonlight Mile and arguably Sway are all up there with the best of the Stones canon. A fabulous record and the remastered version has finally done justice to the CD format. Highly recommended.

I hope you enjoy
Roger Bell
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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 a big improvement over previous issues with some of the distortion removed from Brown Sugar and numbers like Sway and Moonlight Mile no longer sounding as murky as they did before.

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 except it's place as one of rock's greatest albums is wholly justified. This remaster further cements that reputation.

A Stones nut like me will buy without hesitation. Others will have to decide if the sound improvement is worth the extra outlay. Reservations about format and packaging aside I would say "go for it".
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This landmark 1971 album gave the Stones a massive hit with Brown Sugar. Together with Bitch and the extended jam Can't You Hear Me Knocking it is one of three powerful rock songs while the rest of the album contain soulful, bluesy or country-tinged ballads.

These ballads are all rather dark and brooding, from the melancholy Wild Horses to the unoriginally titled but moving I Got the Blues and the chilling Sister Morphine, whilst Dead Flowers with its country flavor has poetic lyrics and an addictive tune.

The album concludes with the yearning Moonlight Mile, a final unforgettable track. This mix of melodious ballads and power rock make Sticky Fingers a masterpiece and one of that decade's top albums by the greatest rock band of all time.
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Is this the Rolling Stones' best album? Could be - it is certainly the album that set the blueprint for the next five or six years of their career. This Deluxe set includes some excellent bonus features, particularly the often-bootlegged 'Leeds Lungs' set, which captures the band in powerful form. Guitarist Mick Taylor was by now thoroughly integrated into the band's line-up, and he is magisterial here. The Santana-ish soloing on 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' is positively sulphurous, but in truth, this is but one facet of a richly and consistently rewarding album. 'Wild Horses' sounds magnificent here, the twelve-string acoustic guitars ringing crisp and clear. Similarly, 'Sister Morphine' features some spine-tingling slide guitar from a guesting Ry Cooder. Keith Richards also weighs in with some meaty riffing, and some surprisingly sensitive acoustic guitar work, whilst the Bill Wyman / Charlie Watts bass and drums axis are at their peak. And a special word must go to Mick Jagger, for some superb vocalising throughout.

The extra tracks are all pretty good, and the photos and hard back book add lustre to the album legend. Not cheap, but I'll willingly shell out for something of this quality.
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on 9 June 2015
I often turn to re-issues with a skeptical ear and this one was no different. From the opening riff of Brown Sugar, the additions to this album are clear. As a previous review has stated, every detail from the piano riffs, the saxophone of Bobby Keys, and the strings on Sway are highlighted. The nuances of each track are brought to the surface with delicacy, while the details that made this album excellent to begin with are also retained. The additional tracks are nice additions - particularly the version of Brown Sugar with Eric Clapton which I believe is available elsewhere.

One minor quibble is I made the mistake of listening to the Live at Leeds part of the super-deluxe version of the reissue. This is unfortunately, in my opinion, the only weakness of the reissue. Keith's backing vocals are off for the opening tracks and it is a bit sloppy in places. However, the Live at the Roundhouse bonus tracks are excellent and the version of Midnight Rambler is one of my favourite versions.

Buy the deluxe reissue with the extra tracks that includes the Roundhouse gig. Listen to it loud through a good set of headphones and rediscover your love for one of the Rolling Stones' finest albums.
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`Sticky Fingers' was released in April 1971, the debut album on the band's own `Rolling Stones Records' label. It's the first Stones album to feature Mick Taylor playing on every track as a full band member, and to feature no musical contribution from band's founder (by then deceased) Brian Jones.

Musically SF's reputation is overshadowed by the epic follow-up `Exile on Main Street' but for many fans, including me, SF has the edge as an enjoyable rock album. The band is in overdrive and thoroughly enjoying themselves as they tear through a fine palette of rock and blues numbers, kicked off by the perennial rock anthem `Brown Sugar' (courting controversy as usual, Jagger's lyrics are all about the joys of having sex with dark skinned women), and tempered with the more mellow `Sway' and `Wild Horses'.

If you don't have this album and want to buy a hard copy, which of the many versions should you go for, or does it matter? The 2009 remaster is OK (NB the 2010 remaster of EoMS is unfortunately not as good) though some fans consider the result `too loud' and compressed. At least the hiss has been eliminated, and the subtleties of the music such as the sax solos are crisp and up-front. The 1994 Virgin release is also good, though not great. We've yet to be offered the definitive mix of SF (Steven Wilson, where are you?).
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on 5 October 2015
This review is of the box-set sold for c£76. The album itself is 5 stars any time - their best in my view. The 'de-luxe' box set as a whole I would rate at 4****. This is not because the two extra CDs are in any way deficient - they're both great, with thundering alternative takes on several tracks, and storming live performances - especially the third CD, "Get Yer Leeds Lungs Out". If I have a quibble it's with the rather pointless DVD included, which consists of a miserly 3 tracks - all from their 1971 Marquee Club live performance. It seems hardly worthwhile when the whole of that performance has been issued on a separate CD/DVD package, "Rolling Stones From the Vault - The Marquee Club Live in 1971", available for not much more than £12. Why not (for the substantial £76) put the whole Marquee performance DVD into this box? That leaves you with one extra CD - the Get Yer Leeds Lungs Out on - and a 45rpm single for your money, when I have seen the 2CD version in the shops on offer for about £11. The 45rpm single is certainly a very hefty piece of vinyl, especially compare to my flimsy original "Brown Sugar" original single - could probably take someone's head off at 50 metres!

The box is a nicely produced package overall, and certainly the hard-back book included (which holds the CDs/DVD? 45rpm single) has a very well written series of essays in it, which threw some new light for me onto the background of the recording and the events leading up to it. The book includes many excellent photos, some not previously seen. Some of these are also included as postcard type inserts. I have also gained a stand-up Mick Taylor figure.

Worth it for the committed fan. Most would probably be perfectly happy with the 2 CD package.
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on 13 August 2015
Firstly, I would like to say that the four stars are for the bonus disc as I am not really reviewing the original album here - just the bonus disc. Everyone interested in The Stones will already have the original album, and know how fantastic it is.

As an avid Stones collector (and without being too downbeat about this release), I must say I was fairly disappointed. This may be because we were so spoiled with Some Girls and Exile though. We had quite a few 'cleaned-up' demos and 'new' (previously only available as poor-quality bootlegs) songs on the Exile bonus disc, and with Some Girls we got 12 cleaned up 'new' tracks too (apart from So Young, which had already been given an official release). In fact on Some Girls, there weren't even any alternate versions or demos at all. It was pretty much a whole new album.

However with Sticky Fingers, we get five (albeit, very good) alternate/demo tracks and five live tracks. Now don't get me wrong, as I said, I am an avid collector and a HUGE Stones fan, but do we really need five more live tracks? Admittedly, this is undoubtedly their best live-era, but could they not have included these in a separate release of the full 'Roundhouse' show? We know it exists, as a lot of us have it as a bootleg...
Also, the live versions here are of songs from Let It Bleed, so why not hold these back for a deluxe edition of that? I am aware that Let It Bleed is not as easy for them to do as a deluxe-edition due to licensing issues, but come on!
I, off the top of my head can think of two tracks from the Sticky Fingers sessions which could have been cleaned up and added to this - 'Potted Shrimp' and the infamous 'C**ksucker Blues'. That's without trawling through my Sticky Fingers-era bootlegs - I am sure there are loads of others!

So come on guys - for the next one, let's have a few demos and a few unreleased songs. We don't need any more live tracks on things like this - save them for the 'From The Vault' releases! :)
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