MUSiC: Let It Bleed, Rolling Stones, 1969

Most Stones albums have one or, very often, two bona fide classic tracks, per disc. Usually these are also the hit singles.

Let it Bleed is slightly unusual in that it’s overall stronger than many of their other late ‘60s early ‘70s records, and still has the expected pair of classics – Gimme Shelter and You Can’t Always Get What You Want – but they were neither of them hit singles.

It also belongs to the transitional period over which Brian Jones was tragically unravelling. He was fired from the band as a result of drug-induced unreliability, and died, by drowning, shortly thereafter. A terribly sad waste of talent. And a sign of the times.

Keef n Jagz, 1969.

Mick Taylor joined, as his replacement. The album was pretty much finished, so Taylor only appears on two tracks. Keith Richards doing the lion’s share of axe duties. Whilst Jones was famously both a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Taylor was more a six-string specialist. So it could be argued that the Stones’ sonic palette shrank a little with the loss/passing of Jones.

But Let It Bleed doesn’t support such an idea, largely thanks to the presence of a sizeable roster of guest musicians. These include Byron Berline, countrifyin’ things on Coubtry Honk, with his fiddle, and Ry Cooder, whose mandolin on Love In Vain adds to the minestrone of Americana influences …

Thanks to much stronger supporting material throughout – sometimes the non-hit Stones stuff can, to me, be very variable quality filler – like Love In Vain, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler, even the jammy feeling You Got The Silver, Let It Bleed is more consistently strong than a good many of the other Stones albums over this classic era.

Up there with the best of The Stones, and definitely recommended.

PS – One funny little footnote is that the cake on the cover was made by the then unknown chef, Delia Smith!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *