If you even remotely like the Rolling Stones, then this should be part of your music library. Many consider this to be the greatest rock album ever made. For me, an avid Stones fan for more than 50 years, I can only say that it is one of the 4 greatest rock albums (all Rolling Stones) ever made! Exile on Main Street, Sticky Fingers, Beggars Banquet, and Let It Bleed.
First a shout out to all the guys who have informed us on re-mastered disc sound. So valuable. As here, most know the song/music greatness. I am only a casual Stones fan, and have bought and sold this at least 3 times since ‘72 (yes, I’m a old audiophile dinosaur). As a music junkie listening 5 nights a week to many varieties, this title has stood out as one of the most shrill, irritating mixes of all time. As in equalization. As in all 8 recording tracks pushed to the max. Maybe done to sound better on 70’s radio? Don’t know and won’t look for comments. THIS release, though, is still loud as hell, but you get more drum and cymbal detail..... and even an occasional sense of soundstage (vocals sound the same). Just want to get the word out, after all these years of re-release - buy this release.
The only thing I dislike about the re-issure, is the packaging of unprotected heavy paper for a case. I'm old school and like the old plastic cases to protect the cover, supporting material, and the disks. The sound and the offering is great.
The remastered EXILE sounds ... OK. Better than the old CD or vinyl versions? Well -- as someone who started out listening to rock on a little transistor radio under the covers at night, maybe the subtleties of enhanced audio processing are lost on me. I think I actually like the original better, though I don't have the musical or technical vocabulary to precisely explain why.
I really got this for the second disc of previously unreleased tracks. And here again ... interesting, I'm glad to get to hear these, but I'd be even happier about it if I'd paid a little less. "Loving Cup" is a great alternate version, and the different-lyrics-over-the-same-music "Soul Survivor" sung by Keef is fun, though I wish written lyrics had been provided. But it's pretty much yeah, the best songs were already on the original album in the first place.
Exile has been my favorite Stones album since it was released. To me it showed just what this band was capable of. Even 40+ years after its release it feels more fresh and alive than most of today's rock music.
I'll begin by echoing what some other reviewers have mentioned: this is a terrific Rolling Stones album (actually, when released, it was a two album set), but without a lot of great singles on it. But that may be a part of why this is such a good work. There is rawness throughout the set of songs--and raggedness. It has an earthy rock and roll/blues sensibility and it works because of its rawness, as opposed to despite its rawness. One characteristic, too, is how difficult it is sometimes to make out the words to the songs (there is a famous quotation attributed to Mick Jagger that this was intentional at times).
The CD begins with two flat out neat rockers--"Rocks Off" and "Rip This Joint." Jagger growls and the band plays with a hard edge to it. Then, to one of the gems--the Stones' version of Slim Harpo's great blues number, "Shake Your Hips." Jagger sings it differently from Harpo, but he is effective in his own way. The Stones show that they can play blues well (and note a later piece on "Exile," once recorded by Robert Johnson himself, "Stop Breakin' Down").
One of the few "hits" off this work, "Tumbling Dice," well played here. Some interesting features: Jagger on guitar and Mick Taylor on bass. Then, "Sweet Black Angel" which, if my memory serves me correctly (please correct me if I'm in error), was inspired by activist Angela Davis. A catchy hook and tune. "Ventilator Blues" seems to focus on a bad hair day, with one line being "I feel like murder in the first degree." This is a down and dirty song, with some gritty instrumental work.
One of Keith Richards' earlier solos shows up here, the up tempo "Happy," featuring a nice guitar riff to start the song off, presumably Mick Taylor's work. And "Exile on Main Street" concludes with "Soul Survivor," a lively song featuring some guitar work and nice keyboards. Jagger's voice is ragged and, because of this, quite effective in the context of the entire CD.
The Stones near or at the pinnacle of their career--Jagger on vocals, Taylor and Richards on guitar, Wyman on bass, Watts on drums. "Friends" showing up: Keys on sax, Price on horns, Hopkins on piano, Stewart (an old Stone himself) on piano, and so on. A rip roaring rock and roll album.
This album is probably the finest non-American tribute to the entire spectrum and roots of U.S. popular post WW2 music, and specifically black American music (with deep bows to country,bluegrass and others), ever made by any rock band, anywhere. That's a broad statement, but this double album, their finest, repays using your listening skills. This is an ode to every nugget in American roots music - and what a goldmine.
The Stones were at the height of their powers in the early 70's, turning out this double album of immense energy, craft and plain hard rocking. The texture of the music is dense and packed with so many licks,hooks,retro-riffs and new inventions on older themes as to be almost exhausting to listen to.
The mix is thicker than a Georgia sow's belly and denser than a chimney-full of hickory smoke. It's tensile like barbed wire strained to breaking, yet has the rhythm of a Mississipi paddle steamer on full boiler. What it took out of the band to make is something to be awed by. After this, they could never quite summon the energy again.
There are Stones albums (single albums) that are more precise or have more obvious Top Ten hit material but none with this full-tilt energy and non-stop deep love of another musical culture. No wonder the Stones stood out then, and now, as not just another bunch of guys trying to be bluesy and black. They constructed an entire work of energy and love, original yet deeply rooted in the past. And boy, does this masterpiece rock!
This double album is not "cover versions" of roots and blues songs - nor an attempt to "sound American" in an ethno-musical fashion. It is more than it's sources, if such a musical feat is possible. What is so compelling is that The Stones in "Exiles" actually improved and pushed forward the entire weight of roots and rock that had gone before them. It's uncanny, like someone has copied a book word for loving word, and yet that book is far richer and more veined than the original. Wait a minute, these guys are all lads from London? They are not named "Pickaxe Walters", "Tucson Henry" or "Blind Somebody" and never stepped foot in the USA until in their 20's. Pinch me, and play it again.
I was skeptical of the remaster (I have bought too many "remasters" that are awful), but this one of one of my favorite albums is pretty good... it opens up the recording nicely and make listening to some of favorite song a pleasure.