Monday, February 11, 2019

The Rolling Stones - 1968 [1986] "Beggars Banquet"

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album marked a change in direction for the band following the psychedelic pop of their previous two albums, Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. Styles such as roots rock and a return to the blues rock sound that had marked early Stones recordings dominate the record, and the album is among the most instrumentally experimental of the band's career, as they infuse Latin beats and instruments like the claves along side South Asian sounds from the sitar, tabla and shehnai and African-influnced conga rhythms. The album has frequently been ranked highly on many retrospective "great albums" lists, and forms the beginning of the most critically acclaimed time period of the Rolling Stones career.

Brian Jones, the band's founder and early leader, had become increasingly unreliable in the studio due to his drug use, and it was the last Rolling Stones album to be released during his lifetime, though he also contributed to two songs on their next album Let It Bleed, which was released after his death.

According to Keith Richards, the album's title was thought up by British art dealer Christopher Gibbs. On 7 June 1968, a photoshoot for the album's gatefold, with photographer Michael Joseph, was held at Sarum Chase, a mansion in Hampstead, London. Previously unseen images from the shoot were exhibited at the Blink Gallery in London in November and December 2008. The album's original cover art, depicting a bathroom wall covered with graffiti, was rejected by the band's record company, and their unsuccessful dispute delayed the album's release for months. The "toilet" cover was later featured on most compact disc reissues.

On 11–12 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jethro Tull and Marianne Faithfull among the musical guests. One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when their former manager, Allen Klein, gave it an official release.

The Stones forsook psychedelic experimentation to return to their blues roots on this celebrated album, which was immediately acclaimed as one of their landmark achievements. A strong acoustic Delta blues flavor colors much of the material, particularly "Salt of the Earth" and "No Expectations," which features some beautiful slide guitar work. Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: "Street Fighting Man," a reflection of the political turbulence of 1968, was one of their most innovative singles, and "Sympathy for the Devil," with its fire-dancing guitar licks, leering Jagger vocals, African rhythms, and explicitly satanic lyrics, was an image-defining epic. On "Stray Cat Blues," Jagger and crew began to explore the kind of decadent sexual sleaze that they would take to the point of self-parody by the mid-'70s. At the time, though, the approach was still fresh, and the lyrical bite of most of the material ensured Beggars Banquet's place as one of the top blues-based rock records of all time.

Beggars Banquet is the album that changed everything for the Rolling Stones.

From the manner it was recorded  at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, to the track selection, a mixture of rockers (“Street Fighting Man”), blues numbers (“Prodigal Son”, “No Expectations”) and ballads (“Salt Of The Earth”), the band truly came into their own, and the Rolling Stones’ music of today is a reflection of what happened in that studio in 1968, they reached their musical manhood.

The genesis of the epic song “Sympathy For The Devil” is well documented in the Jean Luc Goddard film One Plus One . While 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties was recorded after Mick and Keith’s traumatic and unjust, drugs bust, it was almost too soon to be reflected in their songwriting. Whereas “Sympathy For The Devil”, and much of Beggars Banquet hint at a defiance at what they’d been through, and a strength from the experience.

The album also marks a change in musical direction for the band, with the debut of Jimmy Miller as producer, who went on to collaborate with the band on Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St and Goats Head Soup. Miller had also produced Traffic and Spooky Tooth, and co-wrote “I’m A Man” with Steve Winwood. Other musicians who appeared on the album  are Nicky Hopkins on piano, Dave Mason on guitar and mandolin and a gospel choir from Los Angeles.

The only non Jagger/ Richards song on the album, “Prodigal Son” is a cover of Robert Wilkins’ “That Ain’t No Way To Get Along”, which he first recorded in 1929. A year earlier Wilkins recorded the first known song to be entitled, “Rolling Stone”.

Track listing:

01 Sympathy For The Devil
02 No Expectations
03 Dear Doctor
04 Parachute Woman
05 Jig-Saw Puzzle
06 Street Fighting Man
07 Prodigal Son
08 Stray Cat Blues
09 Factory Girl
10 Salt Of The Earth


The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (1, 3), harmonica (4), maracas (6,8)
Keith Richards – electric guitars (1, 4, 5, 8, 9), acoustic guitars (2, 3, 5-7, 9, 10), bass guitar (1, 6), backing vocals (1, 3), co-lead vocals (10)
Brian Jones – acoustic guitar (1, 4) backing vocals (1), slide guitar (2), harmonica (3, 4, 7), Mellotron (5, 8), sitar (6), tambura (6)
Bill Wyman – backing vocals (1), maracas (1), bass guitar (2-5, 8-10), double bass (3), synthesizer (5)
Charlie Watts – drums (1, 3-8, 10), backing vocals (1), claves (2), tambourine (3), tabla (9)

Additional personnel:

Nicky Hopkins – piano (1-3, 5, 6, 8, 10), Mellotron (mandolin setting) (9)
Rocky Dijon – congas (1, 8, 9)
Ric Grech – fiddle (9)
Dave Mason – shehnai on (6)
Jimmy Miller – backing vocals (1)
Watts Street Gospel Choir – backing vocals (10)



  2. Classic, thanks for the extra covers, my Mom used to have the UK version years ago.