The ROLLING STONES – ” Goats Head Soup ” The Re-Issue

Posted: August 29, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Goats Head Soup” emerged from a period of deep uncertainty for the Rolling Stones. After their successful tour for Exile on Main Street, they’d splintered across the world; a few months later, in late 1972, they reconvened in Kingston, Jamaica, to cut a set of dark grooves that sounded like nothing they’d ever released. There were drony experiments (“Can You Hear the Music?”), strung-out ballads (“Coming Down Again”), and snarling rockers (“Dancing With Mr. D”).

Critics didn’t enjoy the change of direction. Atlantic Records disapproved of their choice for a lead single, wanting another ‘Brown Sugar’ instead of a ballad. It was the first in a series of misunderstandings that makes rediscovering GHS such a joy; ‘Angie’ sounds better than it ever has before in the 2020 remaster, as does everything else.

Did you know there were actually 3 different album designs proposed for Goats Head Soup – a (stuffed) goat’s head in soup (deemed too uncomfortable for some but used as an insert), the band depicted as centaurs: half-man, half-horse (mock up below – ended up being rejected) and finally the one you see today – the band enveloped in chiffon veils of various colours shot by David Bailey. Pink for Mick Jagger, black for Keith Richards, white for Charlie Watts, green for Bill Wyman and red for Mick Taylor.

The Rolling Stones have created a video for “All the Rage,” the third and final previously unavailable song from the newly released Goats Head Soup reissue.

Recorded in late 1972 during sessions in Kingston, Jamaica, “All the Rage,” embedded below, has shown up on bootlegs as “You Should Have Seen Her Ass.” But as Mick Jagger told UDiscoverMusic, he decided to pen some new words to get it ready for its first official airing.

“That’s like a very Rolling Stones rock track,” he said. “That wasn’t finished, it didn’t have a finished vocal or many lyrics, [so] I had to finish that one. But the guitar parts, I think, were all done. Might have added percussion, but that’s what you would have done anyway – [added] a bit more maracas and stuff afterwards.”

“[I]t’s in that mold,” Keith Richards added when informed of its similarity to “Brown Sugar.” “Certain songs seem to be either closely related, or cousins of one another. I’d forgotten about it until I heard it again, but yeah, it does come off to me, now you mention it, [as being] in the ‘Brown Sugar’ mold.”

The other two unearthed tracks on the Goats Head Soup reissue are “Criss Cross” and the Jimmy Page-fuelled “Scarlet.” Earlier in the week, Jagger revealed that, when the idea of including them was posed to him, he thought, “’They’re all terrible!’ That’s always my initial reaction, ‘They’re all useless!’ I mean, actually, I always liked the songs, but they weren’t finished.”

By the time he heard them cleaned up, however, the singer realized that “these three songs are all up there with the rest of the songs on this record.”

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For the penultimate stop on the Rolling Stones’ 1973 European tour, they staged a pair of loose, swaggering sets in Brussels. They’d already played around 40 dates — but as showcased on Brussels Affair, a rare live album bundled in the new deluxe edition of Goats Head Soup, their energy was still at a peak.

“Toward the end of [listening to] it, I wondered what the rest of the band were on because things were really starting to rock at a ferocious pace,” guitarist Keith Richards recalled in a 2011 interview. “What’s interesting about these bootlegs is the band don’t know they’re being recorded, so they don’t give a shit, and they’re playing what they’re playing and you get a natural feel, you know?”

The LP documents the band at its scrappiest: Richards sounds like he’s on the verge of blowing out his voice during Exile on Main St.’s “Happy,” and frontman Mick Jagger is seemingly gasping for air on a brassy version of “Brown Sugar.” Throughout, including then-recently issued songs like “Angie” and “Dancing With Mr. D,” the Stones push forward with the relentless of a teenage garage band.

“We were hitting some very fast tempos,” Richards noted in the 2011 interview. “Mick was doing an incredible job. It didn’t faze him.”

It’s far from the Rolling Stones at their smoothest or most pristine, but the backing band — including keyboardist Billy Preston and a full horn section — offers a cinematic wrinkle to tracks like “Star Star” and “Street Fighting Man.”

With the “Goats Head Soup” reissue, the show is finally available in a (somewhat) more accessible physical format. The album was first released digitally in 2011 through Google Play Music and the Rolling Stones Archive website, followed in 2012 by limited-edition vinyl box sets (which cost at least $750) and a 2015 Japanese CD.

Brussels Affair” is included on Goats Head Soup’s four-disc CD and vinyl box sets, along with rarities and alternate mixes. And if you trust Richards, the live set is essential listening. “I was impressed very much with the Brussels [show],” he said in 2011. “I’ve rarely heard the Stones that early on playing live and that well recorded.”

Goats Head Soup 2020 released Friday September 4th.

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