I got home, unpacked the album and put it on. I expected it to be like Sticky fingers, only better, because of course, the more records you make, the better you must get (If only I knew). I put it on, took out the poster of a goats head and banged it on the turntable. I was completely underwhelmed. Whereas Sticky fingers started with Brown Sugar, which is perhaps the classic Stones track, it started with Dancing with Mr D, which is a perfectly fine track, but not in the same class. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Not only that, I was cross, I'd spent my saved up money on a clunker! Then Val explained that you have to listen to really good albums three times, before you appreciate them. She explained how The NME had given Exile on Main St a really bad review when it came out, but a year later, the same reviewer printed a reassessment, saying it was the best Stones album ever. I wasn't convinced.
Worse was to come. At the dinner table, I showed my Dad the poster. He laughed and then said "Where did you get that". I replied that Val had taken me to the record shop and it was from The Rolling Stones new album. To say he went mental was an understatement. He shouted at Val, threw the album in the bin, smacked my bum and sent me to bed, telling me that I was never to bring Rolling Stones records into the house. I was distraught. Val stormed out. Some time later, Mum came up with the album, that she'd fished out of the bin. She said "Don't tell your Dad". Years later, I came to realise that Dad had PTSD from his wartime experiences. When he was triggered he'd go mental. An hour later he'd be fine and there'd be no problem, but I was devastated. I hated the album. I concurred with my Dad that it must have Satanic properties.
A week later, when Dad was at work, Val suggested that we listen to it again. I wasn't overly keen, but when she explained that the last track on side two had a very rude chorus, I relented. I realised that whilst it wasn't Sticky Fingers, it wasn't too bad. A week later, I listened to it again and realised that it was actually rather good. I have come to think that it is perhaps as good as Sticky Fingers. It doesn't have songs quite as outstanding as Brown Sugar and Moonlight Mile, but it is far more consistent.
So what do I think of the tracks.
1. "Dancing with Mr. D."
I really disliked this track for a long time. It is possibly my least favourite track on the album, but that is probably a hangover from that first listen. It is an OK track, but I always felt they should've written a stronger track to start the album
2. "100 Years Ago"
A nice, reflective track. Bit of a melancholic, boogie woogie feel to it. I have always liked the line "Don't you think it's sometimes wiser to grow up".
3. "Coming Down Again"
Never been a massive fan of this track, it's ok but thats all . The begining is a bit too 'Elton John' for my tastes. Not abig fan of the piano in rock tracks generally. Redeemed by some nice slide guitar. Keith Richards sings. He doesn't do a bad job, but I prefer Jaggers vocals.
4. "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"
For me, this was always the point at which the album gets going. I've always believed that if this had been track 1, the album would have sold ten million more columns. A proper upbeat Stones track. This was the sort of Stones track that I loved. A proper belter, that I believe has never properly been recognised
Another track I didn't like at all when I first heard the album. I've come to realise that it's a beautiful song and one of their best. I spent a long time learning to play this on the guitar about 45 years ago. Reputedly about Angie Bowie. I was puzzled when my sister told me this. Writing a love song for your mate's wife seemed a bit iffy to me.
1. "Silver Train"
I've always had a soft spot for songs about trains. A half decent track that has a nice train running, shuffly groove and slide guitar that sounds like a whistle from a steam engine. What is not to like.
2. "Hide Your Love"
Starts with a pub sing song style piano riff. As mentioned earlier, not a big fan of that. It's a nice enough track that grooves along, but for me it is the number where I put the kettle on and make the tea.
The sort of slow Stones ballad I love. Just listening to the opening bars makes you put the heating on. Reminiscent to me of Moonlight Mile. The Stones did strangeness in ballads rather well when Mick Taylor was in the band. I've always felt that when Ronnie Wood joined, a lot of the subtleness went out of the music. If you are a songwriter, these songs are well worth a bit of analysis, to understand why they sound so good.
4. "Can You Hear the Music"
A bit too ploddy for me, not a bad track, some nice keyboard work by Nicky Hopkins on it.
5. "Star Star"
For years, my favourite track on the album, mostly because of the up beat rhythm and the profanities in the chorus. In hindsight, I do sort of see that it confirms all of my Dad's prejudices about the Stones and to some extent his reaction. I'm not entirely sure how I'd have felt if my eldest daughter had taken my son out to the record store and got him to spend all his pocket money on a song that had the lyrics