Goats Head Soup
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll
Black and Blue
By David Chiu
The Rolling Stones entered the 1970s diversifying their music beyond their distinct rock and Chicago blues sound. White their output during that decade doesn’t rival their classic ‘60s material, the Stones nevertheless made great music, some of which became classic in their own right. It’s their post-‘60s music that is now being reissued again starting off with the band’s first several ‘70s records and continuing to their last studio album A Bigger Bang.
Sticky Fingers (1971) is an instant and beloved classic. It has the musical of a typical Stones record with some lean rockers, a little blues and tender ballads. Every cut on this album is golden, from the soulful rocker “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Bitch,” to the blues heavy You Gotta Move, and the majestic and dark “Sister Morphine.” The album’s most memorable tracks are the signature “Brown Sugar” and the sublime ballad “Wild Horses.”
Goats Head Soup (1973) has the misfortune of having to follow in the footsteps of Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, thus its cool reception. On the contrary, it’s a really good album in itself if given the proper chance. It has two automatic hits in the classic ballad “Angie” and the shaking rocker “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).” The rest of the album have some strong, if underrated tracks in the lean and mean “Dancing with Mr. D.” and “Star Star,” and the country-blues Silver Train., plus the ambitious sounding orchestral ballad Winter.
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (1974) is most known for the great title track but again like with Goats Head Soup, the rest of the album tracks are quite good, and you can hear the band shifting its sound a bit: there’s a little bit of reggae in “Luxury,” a tough-sounding cover of the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and “Times Waits For No One,”
Guitarist Mick Taylor departed shortly after It’s Only Rock and Roll and in is place was Ron Wood, then of the Faces. He appears on Black and Blue (1975), an album in which the band really broaden its musical palette first with very disco-influenced “Hot Stuff,” the very sincere reggae cover of “Cherry Oh Baby,” the jazzy big-band “Melody,” the soul rocker “Hey Negrita.” The two best songs on the record, however, are ballads: the epic story-song “Memory Motel” and the absolutely lovely “Fool to Cry.”