Revinylization # 25: The Rolling Stones tattoo you ?? What’s the point ?

Tattoo yourself is near and dear to me. It came out in August 1981, just before I entered fifth grade, the age when a person’s rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic began to take shape. This album was formative.

I knew the Rolling Stones mainly from the Hot rocks compilation, from listening to the radio to the hits of Certain girls (who came out when I was too young and sheltered in a leafy suburb to understand the urban grain and decadence described in his lyrics), and to Emotional rescue, which I owned, and which I thought (and still do) lacks interesting music in the grooves to match the cool cover. I thought maybe the Stones were already too old to rock.

Tattoo yourself proved me wrong and propelled the Stones into the ’80s MTV. From the first lap, I dug everything into this record. I still do. It rocks, it rolls, and side 2 has calmer, intense and textured sorta-ballads ?? and there’s Sonny Rollins on sax! It was varied, cleverly sequenced, well paced, and wow, did Bob Ludwig cut that loud original LP!

It was the loudest thing on my turntable at the time, dynamic and punchy in every way of rock’n’roll. Charlie Watts’ drums came out of my New Advent speakers like sound rockets. Bill Wyman’s bass spilled across the floor and forced my feet to move. Mick Jagger’s voice laughed at me, front and center. And the Stones’ wonderful double-stranded guitars were shooting arrows at the sides.

Actually Tattoo yourself is a complex and glorious fusion of pieces brought together. Some pieces were born in Kingston, Jamaica, during the Goat’s Head Soup sessions and some during sessions in Munich, Germany, for It’s only rock’n’roll. Most started during the Emotional rescue sessions in Paris and were put aside in favor of the less convincing tracks on this album.

The 40th anniversary reissues of Tattoo yourself include the 5-LP Super Deluxe version reviewed here. The first LP is a new version of the original album. The second contains nine newly released tracks from the same batch of 1970s recording sessions. LPs 3 ?? 5 document the live concert at Wembley Stadium on June 25, 1982.

The first two LPs were cut by Bernie Grundman from Steve Marcussen’s high resolution digital master files. LPs 3 ?? 5 were recorded by Naweed Ahmed, at Katara Studios in Doha, Qatar from digital files mastered by Mazen Murad. Plating, pressing and fabrication were carried out by GZ Media in the Czech Republic. Also included is a 124 page 12 × 12 hardcover book and lenticular cover image on the album box: Look one way and it’s Mick’s tattooed head; move the image and it’s Keith’s.

As a physical artifact, it’s a heavy and pretty thing. The book contains dozens of color photographs, a detailed and contextual essay and track-by-track investigation, interviews with co-producer Chris Kimsey and cover photographer Hubert Kretzschmar, and an essay on the 1981-82 tour, all written by Jeff Slate. . The LP packaging is nicely printed heavy cardboard ?? but it is a defect, not a virtue: the discs are stuffed in inner cardboard pockets which hold them firmly; almost all the trays were visibly scuffed on the first removal. At this level of luxury, soft, plastic-lined inner sleeves are mandatory.

The additional musical content is a mixed bag. Most of the studio tracks on the second LP sound like incomplete layaways, but on the A side, “Fiji Jim” and a neat cover of “Drift Away” ?? a hit for soul singer Dobie Gray ?? stand out. On side B, “Come to the ball”, from Goat’s Head Soup sessions stand out from the crowd, with delicious slide guitar licks from Mick Taylor. “Speak fast, walk slowly”, from It’s only rock’n’roll sessions, also includes Taylor. It is also good.

The Wembley concert looks like the description of the tour’s stage shows book essay. The band remembered being sprawled out on a huge stage, with Jagger and the guitarists running and dancing on the side rails, away from Charlie’s drums riser. The group is not particularly tight and Ronnie Wood’s guitar is often buried in the mix. Ian “Stu” Stewart and Chuck Leavell add texture and depth to the keyboards with saxophonists Gene Barge and Bobby Keys. But the general feeling is one of distance: too much space between the members of the group for them to lock themselves in all the time and too little privacy with the huge crowd.

The 1982 album Still life, which was tightly edited from many stops on the US tour, better captures the energy of the Rolling Stones at their best around this time. Overlapping songs Still life, US performance and recordings are better. That said, the Wembley gig has more songs, including deep catalog gems like “Let It Bleed”, “She’s So Cold” and the Stones’ excellent cover of “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” .

In terms of sound, these sets are a disappointment. The album and bonus studio tracks were cut from hyper-crunched digital tracks, making them tiring at rock’n’roll listening levels and shaving off the pop and crash of Charlie’s drums. The original LP cut by Ludwig is superior in every way, the permanent definition of what a rock LP should sound like. The live material is less crunchy; its washed out sound seems more the result of the original recording and mixing than the mastering and trimming.

It’s a shame because this album is so rock. Would it have been much more difficult to cut a great LP from the master tape or an uncrackled “flat” transfer? The smart buyer will save money and get the CD set. Why pay extra for nothing better?

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