Coming off of Exile On Main Street the Rolling Stones assembled in Jamaica in the winter of 1972/1973 to begin work on Goats Head Soup. The Stones brought along some of the musicians they liked to work with like Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys and Jim Price. They were also able to use local percussionists to flesh out some of the numbers and give them a fuller sound.
The album has a soul pop and funky feel to it. The band was to explore those sounds fuller in their next two albums, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll and Black and Blue. The band could also not help but be influenced by the island’s music scene which included Reggae, Dub and Ska.
The ballad Angie was released a few weeks before the album came out and the band performed the song live on American TV which drove album sales. Both Angie and the album itself went to number one in the United States.
Today many consider the album a lesser Stones effort coming at the end of a streak that saw them release classic albums like Exile On Main Street, Sticky Fingers, Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed one after another. If you take the time to sit back and really listen to the album though it has many strong points including Angie, like Wild Horses, a great Stones ballad. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) is another tremendous song with a serious subject matter and some tremendous work by the horns section.
The album opens with “Dancing With Mr. D” a morbid number as Mr. D is death himself. The song has a funky feel. The guitar work is sharp and keeps the song interesting.
Next up is “100 Years Ago”. The song is about aging. It’s a bit confusing structurally as it has a country air at times and then speeds up and rocks out at others. The ending is kind of a funked up jam. Still this is worth a listen for the guitar work if nothing else.
“Coming Down Again” is a song that has Keith Richards all over it. He sings it, plays some nice wah wah guitar throughout it and the lyrics are about his relationship with Anita Pallenberg and his causing her to leave Brian Jones for him. A pretty little number with some backing vocals from Mick Jagger.
“Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” One of my favorite Rolling Stone’s songs. The song has a funky, gritty, driving sound propelled by Mick Taylor’s guitar and the horn section. If you like the Stones and don’t have this song or are unfamiliar with it now is the time to get your hands on it.
Side one closes with the classic Stones ballad “Angie”. The song went quickly to number one here in the United States. Like Wild Horses it shows the Stones have a delicate, almost sensitive side.
First up on side two is ” Silver Train” which would fit easily on either “Let It Bleed” or “Exile On Main Street” with it’s country blues feel.
“Hide Your Love” is a piano fueled bluesy song. It drones in parts and the guitar work while crisp is nothing we haven’t heard before.
“Winter” is a depressing piece that has no Keith Richards on it even though he is credited with Mick Jagger as the writer. The song drags in part and is rumored to be more of a collaboration of Mick Jagger and Mick Taylor who received no credit if that’s true.
Winter is followed by “Can You Hear The Music” which is an interesting hard to pin down piece. It’s another slow number with a soul feel to it.
The album closes with “Star Star” which opens with a Chuck Berry type riff which reappears throughout the song. This song sounds like it should have been done in 1965 by the Stones but it works well as a throwback except the lyrics would have had the Stones thrown in jail in 1965. The lyrics were quite controversial at the time as the band repeats over the words starf##### over and over.
All in all an uneven album but Angie and Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) are two songs that will be played on classic rock radio pretty much forever.
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Review of It’s Only Rock N Roll , Review of Black and Blue , Review of Some Girls , Review of Exile On Main Street , Review of Sticky Fingers , Review of Let It Bleed , Review of At Their Satanic Majesties Request , Review of Between The Buttons , Review of Beggar’s Banquet , Review of Aftermath , Review of Steel Wheels , Review of Life by Keith Richards ,