- A Sticky Fingers like you’ve never heard — amazing Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or BETTER throughout
- Finally, with the best vintage pressings we can hear the power and the beauty of this truly superb recording
- A landmark Glyn Johns / Andy Johns recording, our favorite by the Stones, a Top 100 Title (of course) and 5 stars on Allmusic (ditto)
- Q magazine said this was “the Stones at their assured, showboating peak … A magic formula of heavy soul, junkie blues and macho rock.”
- 5 stars: “With its offhand mixture of decadence, roots music, and outright malevolence, Sticky Fingers set the tone for the rest of the decade for the Stones.”
A Very Special Pressing
On this copy you will find the best sounding side of any Stones album ever made. Nothing in our last few shootouts could touch it. We kept it as reference copy for a year or two, but decided that it would be better if someone enjoyed it rather than have it sit on a shelf in our stockroom.
We used to give a side like this Four Pluses, but we decided not to do that anymore, so the grade you see in the listing is Three Pluses. Make no mistake, these are the best sounding Three Pluses on the site right now, bar none.
Sure, it’s a lot of money for a record with condition issues. However, since almost every copy of Sticky Fingers has condition issues of some sort, they should be more acceptable here than they might be were they found on a different title.
Those of you who want to acquire one of the best copies of Sticky Fingers we’ve ever played — better than the last ten or fifteen we auditioned, and we only buy the ones with stampers that have Shootout Winning potential — may find the price not too out of line with the quality of the goods once the needle hits the groove.
Their Best Album
This is the best record the Stones ever made, with Let It Bleed and Beggars Banquet right up there with it but just a half-step behind.
The sound is exactly what you want from a Stones album, with 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 while sipping wine.
What the Best Sides of Sticky Fingers Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings). Play I Got the Blues to hear exactly what we mean.
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 obvious and worth whatever you had to pay for it.
A Battle Worth Fighting
It’s a struggle to find great sounding copies of this album on reasonably quiet vinyl. Even with our knowledge of the best stampers, there is no alternative to playing the records, as many copies as you can lay your hands on. It just can’t be done any other way. And since music like this needs to played loud, you can only do so much before your ears get blown out. But it sure is fun up until then.
And if all you’ve ever heard are imports, late reissues, Heavy Vinyl or the MoFi, you are in for a real treat with this copy.
What We’re Listening For on Sticky Fingers
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt –– Glyn and Andy Johns in this case — would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
The Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
One of the Band’s Masterpieces
We consider this Stones album a Masterpiece along with Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, our three favorites of the band.
It’s the best sounding record these guys ever released, and should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
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.
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
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.
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Sticky Fingers is a slow, bluesy affair, with a few country touches thrown in for good measure. The laid-back tone of the album gives ample room for new lead guitarist Mick Taylor to stretch out, particularly on the extended coda of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.”
But the key to the album isn’t the instrumental interplay — although that is terrific — it’s the utter weariness of the songs. “Wild Horses” is their first non-ironic stab at a country song, and it is a beautiful, heart-tugging masterpiece.
Similarly, “I Got the Blues” is a ravished, late-night classic that ranks among their very best blues. “Sister Morphine” is a horrifying overdose tale, and “Moonlight Mile,” with Paul Buckmaster’s grandiose strings, is a perfect closure: sad, yearning, drug-addled, and beautiful. With its offhand mixture of decadence, roots music, and outright malevolence, Sticky Fingers set the tone for the rest of the decade for the Stones.