Rolling Stones – Some Girls (Deluxe Edition) (Universal Republic) review Some Girls was pivotal in the history of the Rolling Stones. It proved that, no matter what the music trend, the Stones would continue to prevail. To some extent, the band is still riding the momentum created by the success of this record. There’s no need to dissect the original album (you can read my earlier review here). Instead, let’s concentrate on the bonus material that makes up disc two of this collection.
This is the second in a series of “Deluxe Editions” of the Stones catalog, and just like the previous Exile on Main Street, this version unearths some bonus material recorded during the sessions for the album. And, just as he did for the previous release, Mick Jagger recently went back into the studio and added vocals to some of the tracks to “finish” them. While he does a pretty good job, these songs were originally laid down over 30 years ago, so it’s pretty easy to pick out which songs feature the much-older Jagger.
For bonus material to be worthwhile, it needs to serve one of two purposes: either to release demo or alternate versions of songs to show the creative process of the recordings, or to issue unreleased material that’s as good as the songs on the original album. Unfortunately, the extra tracks on disc two of Some Girls do not meet either criterion – there’s no demos or alternate takes, and the unreleased songs just show that the Stones chose to release the right stuff for the finished album.
The disc starts with the heavily-bootlegged “Claudine” – a Sun Records-era slice of rockabilly, which isn’t bad, but would’ve sounded out of place on Some Girls, which was more about looking forward than paying homage to the past. Same goes for the Jimmy Reed-inspired “When You’re Gone,” which would’ve fit perfectly on Exile on Main Street, but would’ve sounded old on this release. Then, there are songs that are just downright bland (“Do You Think I Care” and the oddly-Caribbean “Don’t Be a Stranger”) – thankfully they were passed over for the completed LP.
Apparently, the inclusion of the countrified “Far Away Eyes” on the original album was no fluke – several unreleased tracks have a twangy flavor to them (“No Spare Parts,” which was released as a single before this Deluxe Edition, and the Hank Williams Sr cover “You Win Again”). The difference is that “Far Away Eyes” has a sarcastic tone that makes it acceptable amongst all the rockers – any one of these straight country tunes would’ve stalled the album’s feverish pace and attitude. That’s not to say that everything here is a dud – one of the real surprises is their balls-out take on the Freddy Cannon oldie “Tallahassee Lassie” – but as stated above, Some Girls wasn’t about moldy oldies. “So Young” is an excellent sneering blues number, but the biggest shocker comes in Keith Richards rendition of the Waylon Jennings ballad “We Had It All” – augmented by acoustic guitars and harmonica, it’s one of the most sincere things he’s ever recorded (and probably could’ve been as big as “Angie,” if it had come out back then).
Even though the bonus disc contains 12 tracks, there are still several things that could’ve been included here. For one, “Everything’s Turning to Gold,” (which was the b-side to the “Shattered” single), is a funky groove number and would’ve been an excellent addition. There’s also the disco version of “Miss You,” as well as the longer, 8-track version of “Beast of Burden” (which contains an extra verse), and a shorter, single version of “Miss You” with slightly different vocals and mix. Are most of these examples available elsewhere? Sure. But it would’ve been nice to have these all on the same collection.
The booklet contains an essay by Anthony DeCurtis, which talks about the making of the original album, but unfortunately, doesn’t shed any light on the bonus material (exactly which tracks DID Mick re-record???). Truthfully, there really isn’t a whole lot of compelling music on disc two. If anything, the bonus material shows us just how prolific the band was at this juncture. Thankfully, they chose the correct material to put on the finished album. Is it interesting? Sure, but it’s not essential –Tony Peters