Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet (Abko 1967, 2002)
The Rolling Stones were at the height of their powers when this record was waxed in the late ‘60’s. Mixing their blues heritage with the raucous energy of rock and roll led them to produce one of their finest albums. This was when the band really mattered, before they become and empty shell trudging on toward corporate sponsored mediocrity.
“Sympathy for the Devil” has become one of the most overplayed songs in rock music history. Part of the problem of hearing this record a long time after it came out is that you lose the context from when it was released. Or in my case, having been born years after it came out.
The bluesy tunes are the heart and soul of this disc. Mixing electric and acoustic blues with some excellent Jagger/Richards songwriting. “Salt of the Earth” is a fascinating song which celebrates the common man, interesting since it comes from a band which always tried to exude power and arrogance. “Dear Doctor” also mines the country blues very effectively.
It’s important to listen to this disc with fresh ears, considering the lumbering dinosaur this band has become. While they may never have truly been “the world’s greatest rock and roll band” as they claimed, they were a formidable unit up until 1972 as this record shows.
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