The first cassette I remember is The Rolling Stones High Tide Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) (UK version). I learnt to rewind Little Red Rooster so my father could listen to it again. I also sussed how to fastforward past the “boring” Lady Jane and As Tears Go By – my introduction to editing an album to make it as you want. It was also the first adult album in the house.
My father would’ve loved the latest Stone’s album because it returned to the Stone’s love of the blues. He also would’ve loved the total bluesy, funky soul fest of Emotional Rescue and Some Girls if they had released completely different tunes from the sessions for those albums.
Could’ve been the Gritty Twins
Yeah! You read that right; this Emotional Rescue Outtakes & Demos (1978/79) proves it. Imagine it. Two albums almost lacking in the bluesy r’n’r that made them famous but almost half the material they were playing at the time is that raw around the edges sound.
Emotional Rescue deserves a proper kicking for its songs of cellophane thin shininess disguising not a lot. They are an emotional free zone with occasional dappled moments, yet the whole album could’ve been not so inconsequential.
First the froth
She’s So Cold, Send it to me, Let Me Go, Summer Romance, Where the Boys Go. Phone-it-in!? Fucking hell they got someone else to telex them in. Pointless. Okay, Let Me Go is louche and has a disinterested cavalier attitude, its fauxness seems honest. Where the Boys Go is almost a Britpop slice of life (and could’ve been Shed Seven’s finest hour) but lads yer were around 40! “Girls, I’m getting’ starved for yer company… Saturday morning and you can see me at the pub. And I piss away me money and I can’t stand up.” No fucking wonder the girls weren’t so into yer company. Grow up.
Summer Romance is sinister and contemptuous in light of Bill Wyman’s later antics. Honestly, it doesn’t reflect well on anyone telling a girl to go back to her school studies while you move onto another drink by the pool. Plus, it jars with the whining of She’s So Cold and Send it to Me. What is it lads? The women (sorry, girls) in your songs either clingy or aren’t interested – it’s a pretty thin subject area, even for tossers.
I am as embarrassed listening to Summer Romance now as I was when it made my 14-yr-old ears shut down my brain and reboot by banging my skull off a hard surface. I mean, those songs could’ve made a nice five song EP for people who like such things polished, but this wasn’t two-tone, The Jam, Dexys, The Bunnymen, The Teardrops or Joy Division, so they meant nothing to me.
Search and Rescue
But I loved the other five songs of adult and honest storytelling. These personal songs reflected the lives of the people I saw around me. Self-destructive, raconteurs with life stories to tell while bumming cigarettes – Down in the Hole; playboys with style but self-awareness and self-depreciating humour – Emotional Rescue; bickering, bitter but still-in-love couples – All About You; disappointed-by-politics but still looking for humanity people like my dad. who’d say: “Castro’s not all that, lad!” – Indian Girl; the urge to get out and try something new whatever your life situation – Dance Pt. 1. Still, only five songs! It’s a good job the poster you got with the album was ace, I’d’ve felt ripped off otherwise.
Take Me Outtakes
If I was a Dancer (Dance Pt. 2) surfaced a year after Dance Pt. 1 and I wondered why didn’t they just release the whole groove as a single track, Funkadelic would’ve. Also, Pt. 2 had better lyrics than Pt. 1, something the remixer of the tune recognises – it’s like a proto-Happy Mondays. It was a song about people living out the fantasy inherent in their normal jobs. I understood that.
We Had it All was released as B-side in 1984 but comes from the 1979 ER sessions and has Keith getting soulful and country – it means so much to him “You were the best thing in my life. But we can’t live those times again. You and me. We had it all” It’s a coda to All About You? No?
And then there’s Gangster’s Moll. Mick singing “I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen the world from shiny cars”. He sounds wasted, decadent and defeated and wondering if he’s really done the right thing with his life. “I’ve never been in love at all,” he admits. Totally bittersweet. The Tindersticks would kill this tune.
And then there’s Never Too Into, which rocks along with proper menace that seems to have resurfaced in watered down versions in other tunes. It sounds angry and frustrated. The lyrics are mostly indistinct but Jagger seems to shout, “There ain’t no reason why!” at one point and maybe ends by saying “We’ll be alright” that’s good enough as a lyric for me.
So, side 1 of my RescuedEmotion album is All About You, Indian Girl, Down in the Hole, Gangster’s Moll, We Had it All because that side would tell the story of reprobates, vagabonds and love dying. It’d be the bleakest, slowest side of music the Stones ever released.
Side two is If I was a Dancer (Dance Pts. 2 &1), Emotional Rescue, Never Too Into – funky, danceable and the Stones getting into something new.
Left to rot
But there are a few more treats on the outtakesl Jah Is Not Dead is nine minutes of skanky blues. “The problem with Christianity is Christians” is the opening line and there are other baiting lines throughout the guitar scuzzed up nastiness. I would love an edited, more focused version to close ER but the jam is just too long.
Let’s Go Steady Again (an Otis Redding tune) is just a pretty piece of wishful thinking. Again it’s Keith but in a duet and making up and hoping for a new start. Another message to a certain someone?
What’s the Matter? is a cute blues jam with Jagger repeating the question. But it should be very short and end with a female voice telling Jagger. “You’ll never fucking get it, will you? God, you’re so fucking insensitive!”
What Am I Living For? is yet more questioning and finds the Stones doing it properly: “Well, what am I living for if not for you? / Baby, baby, nobody else, nobody else will do”.
Another message? Whatever! The blues is what they do and they should’ve stuck with that ambiance instead of sullying their back catalogue. For an album that professed to be an emotional rescue they avoided showing the depth of feeling that was there. Yet a bit of archive work finds the feels and scenes all hidden away.