“I know that you like to go out drinkin’,
–And you love to have a good time, —
You came in when I was drinking coffee,
Having breakfast on a bad night.”
—“Look What The Cat Dragged In”
We all need someone we can cream on.
—“Let It Bleed”
Slated for release on November 22, Virgin Records and Starbucks will be releasing Rolling Stones Rarities 1971-2002. Selected by the Stones, themselves, these B-sides of past singles and specially chosen versions of past hits signify sixteen of the band’s classic tracks. Reviving the flip side of the 1989 single Mixed Emotions, quite appropriately, the album segues from “Fancy Man Blues,” representing the early roots and influences of the group, which have steadily anchored the band throughout its career. The unplugged version of “Tumblin’ Dice,” which was recorded for, but then omitted from their noteworthy 1995 Stripped album, finds a well-deserved home here, as does the version of “Wild Horses” that appeared on that album. The delicate “Any Way You Look At It” moves in understated ways, reminiscent of the band’s earlier works, such as “Lady Jane,” and on this one, its climax is powerfully achieved as Richards parlays his sultry vocals.
The incarnation of “Beast Of Beast of Burden” heard on Rarities was recorded during one of the band’s 1981 shows in Los Angeles. With its indelible dance grooves, the rhythmic “If I Was A Dancer” can still levitate even the most jaded listener. The dance version of “Miss You” that is found on the disc is revived from the extended play 1978 twelve-inch single, and the rarely mentioned “Wish I’d Never Met You” was the B side of the Steel Wheels track “Terrifying,” despite the fact it did not appear not on that album. Former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor is heard on two Rarities tracks, “Through The Lonely Night” and a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock.” Getting what you want includes the album’s au revoir with Keith Richards’ riveting, live 2003 Madison Square Garden performance of “Thru And Thru.”
Within of the artistry of a flawless compilation album is the combination of tracks that blend well together, and are sequenced in a way that frames them to their best advantage.
PHYLLIS POLLACK is a publicist and music critic based in Los Angeles, California.