The Rolling Stones – Let it bleed (1969)

I’m a monkey

As a Stones newbie I am now going to get to know “Let it bleed”. My friend Big Frans recently sent me two albums as gifts. Thank you my friend, and I bow my head. This was a really nice surprise. He is a nice guy, Frans.

I think I want to review the albums in celebration of the gifts. Here is the first review, the second to come soon. 

Where to start? Of course I know of The Rolling Stones, but it’s gonna be an uphill battle as I have never been bitten by them. I have heard their stuff on the radio and in 1990 I even saw them live in Gothenburg with my friends.

To be honest, I have always thought that they play a too sloppy garage rock for my liking. I have felt their music too simplistic. I am not saying they are bad, I am saying they may not be my cup of tea. Maybe it is Mick’s singing? He was a friend of Bowie’s but that doesn’t make him a singer I must love by default. Maybe it is the instrumentalists?

Anyway, I will give it a fair shake. My first impression is that the album contain much more blues and country influences than I ever could have imagined. There are some interesting country tunes here. I actually really like them, they remind med of Neil sometimes. The slide guitar, the mandolin. “Love in vain” seems to be a cover so it may be a little cheating but I like it. It sends me to a seedy little town in the south of the USA, with tumbleweeds in the street and a hammering sun in the sky.

Hey, what’s up with the track order?

The record has a truly fantastic sound. It’s a big sound, all the instruments are clearly defined, the room is completely filled, spacious. I am taken back in time to the end of the sixties, to girls with flowers in their hair and the Vietnam war. 

“Country Honk” may be the most Neilesque of all songs on this album. It is a country version of the single “Honky Tonk Women”. The fiddle could easily have been played by Rufus, but alas, now it’s some guy named Byron Berline. I like it.

So the country influences I like, but when the music leans on blues I don’t feel it. A song as “Midnight rambler” is outright boring to me, I am sad to say.

The best song on the album may be “Monkey man”. It had an edge, felt a little more sincere.

The album has two very famous songs, even I know that much. “Gimme shelter” is quite alright. But the other one, “You can’t always get what you want” I am not that fond of. I saw it performed “live” (ehh) on youtube the other night and it was horrific. The horror, the horror!

But let’s end this review on a more positive note. I am glad I got this classic album. At parties, whenever you can have them again I don’t know, the vinyl collection always draws a crowd. “Do you have…” “What do you think of…” People want to find their favourite artists on the shelves. And now I can proudly present a record by The Rolling Stones, thanks to Big Frans. This album is perfect to put on the platter deep into the night when the party is over, and only the audiophiles and music connaisseurs stay around to spin the vinyls. It repeatedly put pictures from “Apocalypse now” in my head so it has something, it transmits a sense of its time. An era long gone, but saved in the tracks of the black gold.

My rating: 3/10

Side A:

  1. Gimme shelter
  2. Love in vain
  3. Country honk
  4. Live with me
  5. Let it bleed

Side B:

  1. Midnight rambler
  2. You got the silver
  3. Monkey man
  4. You can’t always get what you want 

Best songs: “Country honk” and “Monkey man”

Released on December 5, 1969

Media: Reissued and remastered, 2003, 180 gram vinyl

4 thoughts on “The Rolling Stones – Let it bleed (1969)

  1. Glad you got through it 🙂 I like the wall of sound and rhythm on this album, but agreed: some songs aren’t that great. Monkey man, I got the silver and gimme shelter with the simple but effective anti-war cry are my favourites. You can’t always get what you want has a catchy tune and some funny lyrics. I don’t think this is their best album but the first of an interesting sequence of albums.

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    1. Again thanks for the kind gift. I appreciate it. Maybe I will grow on me, but I am not sure. Let’s discuss it the next time we meet! Also, which is the best Stones album would you say? Tattoo you? 😉

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      1. Certainly not tattoo you but I think you might be kidding 🙂 Sticky fingers for me probably but the route goes via let it bleed and then on to exile on main street. Some girls is a pretty good isolated creation amidst a few forgettable ones.

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  2. @Frans, not entirely. I asked Mr Magic the sam question and he started to speak about Tattoo you… I am such a newbie that I don’t even know how to joke about Stones albums! 😀

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