Karen: Here's a list of the tracks:
|1. Brown Sugar (Alternate Version with Eric Clapton)|
|2. Wild Horses (Acoustic Version)|
|3. Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Alternate Version)|
|4. Bitch (Extended Version)|
|5. Dead Flowers (Alternate Version)|
|6. Live With Me (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)|
|7. Stray Cat Blues (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)|
|8. Love In Vain (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)|
|9. Midnight Rambler (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)|
|10. Honky Tonk Women (Live The Roundhouse, 1971)|
Karen: Wild Horses here is acoustic, and every note rings with clarity. It's pretty, in its way, but also very subdued, and maybe too spare. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure this isn't just the recording we know stripped of the electric guitar parts. Can't You Hear Me Knocking is clearly still in work-out stage, with Jagger still using "filler" vocals. I've read about this practice of his before, so it was fun to listen to him singing a strange tongue of his own creation along with the music. The song itself is in its embryonic stages, with the rhythm coming together but no long, Santana-like solo from Mick Taylor in sight. Bitch is another workout song, with the music mostly all together, but Jagger still groping for the words.
Karen: Dead Flowers is a real standout of the alternate takes, as it is a complete track but sounds very different from the version on the album (listen to it below). This is much more up tempo, rock and roll as opposed to the country twang of the original. Jagger's vocals sound flat, almost disinterested, although some might prefer that over his exaggerated redneck style that he uses on the Stones' country-tinged tunes.
Karen: The live stuff is really the best part of this disc. Obviously the live tracks are not songs from Sticky Fingers but from the time frame that the band was touring the album. Recorded at The Roundhouse in London in 1971, the sound quality is excellent and the band is in great form. Live with Me is raucous and the horn section really blasts it out. Stray Cat Blues and Love in Vain both feature some excellent guitar work. But the last two songs are truly exceptional.
Karen: Most people are probably already familiar with a live version of Midnight Rambler -the one from Get Yer Ya Yas Out, which was also included on the Hot Rocks compilation album, rather than the studio version from Let It Bleed. That version is a fantastic example of the Stones at their most masterful -it is menacing, hypnotic, and theatrical. This version is a terrific counterpoint, as it goes in a completely different direction, shedding the darkness and going for a blistering raver, with Jagger's harp tearing it up. Charlie Watts propels the song with his chugging rhythm and the band is tight! It's a great cut and I'm glad they included it here.
Karen: Wrapping it up is Honky Tonk Women, a big, loud crowd-pleaser, not even ruined by Keith's screeching background vocals (yeah, I went there). Again, a great song done to perfection by a band at the peak of their abilities.
Karen: Now even though I purchased this "package" -an actual physical CD, which, since I got it through Amazon, I also got the MP3s too -I may be making another purchase. You see, I discovered something about the Super Deluxe version, which includes these CDs and a third CD full of more live tunes, plus a DVD, the vinyl album and a bunch of other crap for $152. For $18, I can just get the MP3s of the CDs, so I could get that third disc of 13 tunes of live material recorded at Leeds University in 1971 (known as Get Your Leeds Lungs Out). Dang it, the Stones are as bad as George Lucas when it comes to double dipping customers!