In a way this is the most incoherent of all of the Stone’s studio albums. Taking pieces of tracks, some dating back to Mick Taylor’s days with the band the band puts together Tattoo You. It makes you realize the strength of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards song writing ability. What other band would have songs like “Start Me Up” , “Little T&A” and “Hang Fire” just laying about in their discard pile.
The album opens up with “Start Me Up” a rock classic and a staple of classic and AOR rock stations today. The song had gone through many versions over the years and was dusted off , rerecorded and finally made it onto a Stone’s album.
Next up is “Hang Fire” another great rock ‘n roll song. The lyrics mock the declining British economy at the time. The backing vocals give it an early 1960’s feel. It was released as a single and still gets a lot of airplay today.
“Slave” is a song with many influences. A little gospel, soul, R&B and rock. The song disappeared as soon as it was released never part of the band’s live show. Sonny Rollins contributes some tight saxophone work and the Billy Preston organ work is top notch. For Who fans Pete Townshend is listed as one of the back up singers. An underrated song.
“Little T&A” kicks off with a great Keith Richards rockabilly infused riff. Richards handles the vocals on this one. This song still gets a decent amount of airplay on classic rock stations and you wonder if Mick Jagger had handled the vocals with his more commercial voice if the song would have done better as a single.
“Black Limousine” is a blues/rock song. The Stone’s mastered this kind of material in the mid 60’s so this was a getting back to the roots song. Ron Wood got a co writing credit with Jagger and Richards on this one.
The last song one side one is “Neighbours”. It’s a fun straight ahead rock song about the problem with neighbours and was written by Mick Jagger in support of Keith Richards who had been evicted from his New York City apartment for making to much noise.
Side two opens with “Worried About You” which is a song that sounds like it should have been on Emotional Rescue with Mick Jagger singing in his falsetto voice. The song is not one of the Stone’s better ballads.
“Tops” is a soul infused ballad. The piano anchors the song. A nice song that should probably get more respect than it does.
“Heaven” a slow dance number. Jagger’s vocals are mechanically manipulated and the resulting sound while ethereal eventually starts to grate.
“No Use In Crying” has a slow, steady, reggae influenced blues feel. Mick Jagger’s vocals are excellent on this one.
The album closes with “Waiting On A Friend”. The song had existed in bits and pieces for ten years and Mick Taylor’s guitar work is used on the track. The Sonny Rollin’s sax work is great. Nicky Hopkins turns in another top notch piano performance. Just a nice pretty song.
Certainly the Stone’s started out the 1980’s in nice shape with an excellent album in the bag. Some have argued that it is the band’s last great album and after Tattoo You Stone’s albums would have one or two great songs with a lot of filler. What I find as time goes by and I re listen to the Stone’s albums I find more excellent songs than I realized were there in the first place.
Review of Undercover , Review of Emotional Rescue ,
Review of Goat’s Head Soup , 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 ,