The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers – Listening in Depth

More Rolling Stones

More Sticky Fingers

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Sticky Fingers.

A QUICK TEST: The best copies have texture and real dynamics in the brass. The bad copies are smeared, grainy and unpleasant when the brass comes in. Toss those bad ones and start shooting out the good ones. Believe me, if you find a good one it will be worth all the work.

And don’t forget to Turn Up Your Volume.

Even through the noise of the bad copies you can hear the audio magic. The sound is exactly what you want from a Stones album: deep punchy bass and dynamic grungy guitars. This record is to be played loud like it says on the inner sleeve and the surface noise is to be ignored. The louder you play it, the less bothersome the noise will be. This album ROCKS and it was not made to be listened to in a comfy chair with a glass of wine.


In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Brown Sugar

If Brown Sugar makes you want to turn up the volume, you have a good copy! That song tends to be just plain irritating on most copies. You need a hot copy to listen to it at the level the Stones want you to: LOUD.

Sway
Wild Horses

Demonstration Quality Sound! Listen to those choruses. When have the Stones’ voices been recorded better? Never! None more times.

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

My favorite test track for side one. The Stones have never been better. If you have a copy with rock solid bass and a transparent midrange, you have yourself a real Demo Track here. (Assuming you have the big speakers with plenty of power needed to play it.)

You Gotta Move

Side Two

Bitch

Drop the needle on Bitch if you have a great copy and want to see what’s great about the sound of this album. It’s got everything you could ask for: big deep bass, huge lively vocals, meaty guitars and all the life and energy you could possibly want.

When you place the needle on the edge of this side (and have your volume plenty high, of course) nothing will prepare you for what you are about to hear.

I Got The Blues

One of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

The organ solo that the late Billy Preston launches into midway into the track gets my vote for the most intense 8 bar keyboard solo of all time. I can hear every note of it in my head as I write this, it’s that powerful and memorable.

Listen also for the interplay between the two guitarists at the opening of this track. It’s pure magic. This is the Stones at their zenith. They’re still a great rock band, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not the great rock band that made this album. That was thirty years ago. Like the saying goes, you’re not getting better, you’re getting older.

Sister Morphine
Dead Flowers
Moonlight Mile



This is the Stones’ Masterpiece as well as a Desert Island Disc for yours truly.

What qualifies a record to be a Masterpiece needs no explanation. We will make every effort to limit each of the artists on the list to a maximum of one entry per artist or group, although some exceptions have already occurred to me, so that rule will no doubt be broken from time to time.

For a record to come to my Desert Island Disc, that record: 1) must have at some time during my fifty years as a music lover and audio enthusiast been played enthusiastically, fanatically even, causing me to feel what Leonard Bernstein called “the joy of music”; 2) my sixty year old self must currently respect the album, and; 3) I must think I will want to listen to the music fairly often and well into the future (not knowing how long I may be stranded there).

How many records meet the Desert Island Disc criteria? Certainly many more than you can see when you click on the link. Watch for new titles being added as time permits.