Album: The Rolling Stones

Live Licks, VIRGIN
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The Independent Culture

In his newly published Chronicles, Bob Dylan admits that, by a certain point, incessant touring estranged him from all but a perennially popular handful of his own songs. Something similar has perhaps happened to the Stones, whose new live double features one disc of classic Stones concert faves, and a second disc of lesser-known tracks that have never been recorded live before. Leaving aside the observation that there is a glaringly obvious reason why these latter songs are less well-known, what this means in practice is that you get one CD of over-exposed songs, some of which ("Start Me Up" and "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" spring most readily to mind) one would be happy never to hear again, and another CD of songs one never really wanted to hear in the first place, such as Keef's cod-reggae workout "You Don't Have to Mean It", and "Worried About You", on which Mick essays a ludicrous shrill falsetto. And without wishing to appear overly impertinent, isn't "Happy" on the wrong disc? How much better

In his newly published Chronicles, Bob Dylan admits that, by a certain point, incessant touring estranged him from all but a perennially popular handful of his own songs. Something similar has perhaps happened to the Stones, whose new live double features one disc of classic Stones concert faves, and a second disc of lesser-known tracks that have never been recorded live before. Leaving aside the observation that there is a glaringly obvious reason why these latter songs are less well-known, what this means in practice is that you get one CD of over-exposed songs, some of which ("Start Me Up" and "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" spring most readily to mind) one would be happy never to hear again, and another CD of songs one never really wanted to hear in the first place, such as Keef's cod-reggae workout "You Don't Have to Mean It", and "Worried About You", on which Mick essays a ludicrous shrill falsetto. And without wishing to appear overly impertinent, isn't "Happy" on the wrong disc? How much better might Live Licks have been had they done the sensible thing and ditched the more flaccid tracks from CD1 and inserted the choicest cuts from CD2 - the feisty swagger of "Rocks Off", perhaps, and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", provided it were pruned to rather less than its present 10 minutes - and just have left it at that?

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