The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main St. - Review
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critics' view

The second LP on their own label was a gem – perhaps against all the odds, what with the chaotic background of being exiled in France and being distracted by matters of the hedonistic variety. By this stage, Mick and Keith are pushing 30 and although darker and denser, a youthful swagger remains, perhaps with more panache than ever. Both men, however, saw it quite differently.

At the time of release, Jagger said:

“This new album is fucking mad. There’s so many different tracks. It’s very rock n roll, you know. I didn't want it to be like that. I'm the more experimental person in the group you see, I like to experiment. Not go over the same thing over and over.”

Richards was more pleased with the end-result:

“Exile was a double album. And because it’s a double album you’re going to be hitting different areas, including ‘D for Down’, and the Stones really felt like exiles. We didn't start off intending to make a double album; we just went down to the south of France to make an album and by the time we'd finished we said, ‘We want to put it all out.’ The point is that the Stones had reached a point where we no longer had to do what we were told to do. Around the time Andrew Oldham left us, we'd done our time, things were changing and I was no longer interested in hitting Number One in the charts every time. What I want to do is good shit—if it's good they'll get it sometime down the road.”

I’m with Keith – there’s plenty of “good shit” to unpack here. Record one has all the best action; the intoxicating debauchery of “Rocks Off”, an excellent cover of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”, the sexy-cool of “Casino Boogie”, the classy-groove of “Tumbling Dice” and the down-home beauty of “Sweet Virginia”. If there's anything which could remotely described as filler it appears on record 2, with the likes of “I Just Want To See His Face” and “All Down The Line” being a tad formulaic.

Not bad for a bunch of “drunks and junkies” ; - )

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