Rolling Stones – Some Girls: Deluxe Edition

January 01, 1970

(Universal Music Group)

 

www.universalmusic.com

 

The amazing crop of reissues that have come out this year
says two things. First, that 1971 and 1991 were damn good times for music,
hence all the classic albums turning 20 and 40. Second, that without the
unifying force of MTV or FM rock radio, there may never be another Eric
Clapton, U2 or Nirvana, so the labels might as well so back to the well with
the originals one more time while at least a few people are still buying
CDs.  Into that environment comes a
deluxe reissue of Some Girls, the
last great Rolling Stones album.  (Yes, Tattoo You has incredible high points,
but it’s not great from start to finish).

 

This package doesn’t come with a built-in hook (its 33rd anniversary, anyone?), but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile than some
of the aforementioned releases. Really, the only hook fans need is 12 unreleased
tracks that show the Stones at the top of their game. What you couldn’t know in
1978 is that this was the last time the band would be this good. Because of
that, Some Girls has taken on a
bittersweet air.

 

The original album has some of the band’s best songs. Its closing
triumvirate of “Before They Make Me Run,” “Beast of Burden” and “Shattered” is
as good as anything they’ve ever done. And the disc of unreleased material has
a few tracks that belong in that group – Keith Richards’ tender take on country
singer Donnie Fritts’ “We Had It All,” and the hook-filled ballad “No Spare
Parts,” which could easily have been all over the radio if it were released in
the ‘70s.

 

But listening to the collection as a whole, what stands out
is how the Stones of 1978 were even able to turn what should be throwaways into
magic. There’s really nothing special about “Lies” or “Respectable” when you
think about it. They just work – they
get by on energy and attitude, which the Stones had in spades. The same holds
true for a tossed-off take on the garage-rock classic “Tallahassee Lassie,” or
the Chicago
blues of “When You’re Gone,” both of which appear on the disc of unreleased
tracks.

 

Yet with the benefit of hindsight, you can also hear the
start of the band’s decline in certain tracks. Songs like “Don’t Be a Stranger”
or “I Love You Too Much” are standard-issue Stones and aren’t far from the more
formulaic music the band would routinely settle for on Steel Wheels and beyond.

 

But none of that takes away from the greatness of Some Girls.

 

The remastered discs sound great; unlike Exile on Main
Street
, Some Girls was recorded
cleanly, so there’s no downside to making it more pristine. It also comes with
an interesting essay by Anthony DeCurtis that anchors the album in the context
of late-seventies New York,
from which it draws much of its inspiration. There are great photos included
throughout. And for super-fans (or the super-rich), there’s a Super Deluxe
package that includes clips from a 1978 concert and some promo videos, as well
as a larger hardcover book with even more photos and essays about the making of
Some Girls. (Editor’s note: Our rating is for the two-CD set; the Super Deluxe
edition was not made available for review.)

 

 DOWNLOAD: All of the original album; plus “We Had It All,” “You Win
Again,” “No Spare Parts” HAL BIENSTOCK

 

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