Top positive review
Still the best 1980s Rolling Stones album despite it being outtakes.
September 29, 2015
The Rolling Stones' eighth studio album for their Rolling Stones Records label (distributed by Atlantic in the US and Canada and EMI elsewhere) entitled Tattoo You was released in August of 1981.
For this Rolling Stones album, the band had no newly written material so the band decided to polish some outtakes from Goats Head Soup, Black and Blue, Some Girls and Emotional Rescue with new vocals and overdubs circa 1980/81. As always, lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards wrote all but one track ("No Use in Crying" which was co-written by guitarist Ron Wood) on this album and the album is a classic. The rest of the album (including the two songs written and recorded for this album) was recorded between late 1980 and early 1981 in France and at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas with Mick and Keith producing and Chris Kimsey handling the recording and mixing (plus some additional engineering by the deceased Keith Harwood and the late Andy Johns) and Bob Clearmountain remixing the instrumental tracks recorded between 1972 and 1979). Bass player Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts played well on this album as well (as I found out when I first heard the album on vinyl in 1981, first got on cassette in October, 1983 when it was on Rolling Stones/Atlantic).
We open with the Top 5 rocker "Start Me Up" which ws originally a reggae number during the Black and Blue era and reworked on the Some Girls sessions into the track we all know and love. Next is another rocker "Hang Fire" (started on Some Girls, reworked on Emotional Rescue for the take we all know) which just rocks and was another Top 20 pop/Top 10 rock hit. Next is the Black and Blue outtake "Slave" which is a great number and has new 1980/81 era vocals from Mick and backing vocals from Pete Townshend and saxophone solos from jazz great Sonny Rollins (on all remastered CDs, the song is extended to six and a half minutes). We follow with another Emotional Rescue outtake out of Keith's "Little T&A" which is a killer rocker. We then have the bluesy "Black Limousine" which was worked on during the Emotional Rescue sessions and is a great bluesy rocker. We close side 1 with the rocker "Neighbours" which was written and recorded in 1980/81 with Sonny Rollins again on sax and was a rock radio hit and MTV staple.
We kick the second half off with the ballad "Worried About You" which was recorded in 1975 with Wayne Perkins on lead guitar and Mick's vocals were re-recorded in 1980/81 (was a single in Europe). Next is my favorite song not a single on the album called "Tops" which its backing track was recorded during the Goats Head Soup sessions and features Mick Taylor on lead guitar and Mick Jagger re-records all of the vocals in 1980/81 (the original undoctored is on bootleg with Mick singing in a falsetto which was annoying, glad Mick re-recorded the vocals and wrote new lyrics for the version on Tattoo You). Next is another ballad "Heaven" which was recorded in 1980/81 with Mick on guitars and vocals, Charlie on drums and Bill on bass guitar and synthesizers and I love the tune. Then it's one more Emotional Rescue outtake "No Use in Crying" which is another superb ballad. We close with the Goats Head Soup outtake "Waiting On a Friend" with Mick Taylor on guitar and Mick adds new vocals and Keith and Woody record backing vocals and Sonny Rollins' sax solos all recorded in 1980/81 make this classic complete.
The Tattoo You album did EXTREMELY well hitting #1 making it the eighth (and last) Stones studio effort in a row to top Billboard (where it reigned for NINE WEEKS) and was the fourth Platinum album for the band (now at 4 or so million Stateside). This remastered CD is excellent and it also has all original artwork restored and credits (the Bob Ludwig mastering on vinyl rules as well).
This album is highly recommended.