“Get down on your knees brown sugar, how come you taste so good, ah, get down on the ground, brown sugar, just like a young girl should.”
Jagger struts and sings a new vocal to the Jimmy Miller produced 45 RPM on the Pop of the Tops video you can see on YouTube, but having a pristine copy on this delicious deluxe set, truly the quasi companion piece to the new Sticky Fingers. It’s a collector’s dream come true, a 16 page booklet with essay by Richard Havens, newly mixed audio by Bob Clearmountain, and a document of the early Mick Taylor years, smack dab in the middle of the Stones’ Golden Era when Jimmy Miller’s dynamite productions propelled the Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World to even greater heights.
The bonus track color video of “Bitch” is tremendous, up close and personal, and with strength but without the thunder of Get Your Ya Ya’s Out or even the revered bootleg, Liver Than You’ll Ever Be. The flashing camera shots towards the end of “Bitch” may be a bit much, but that’s a minor quibble, this is the youthful Stones in their prime playing like your average bar band, without the ostentatious city-to-city stadium events (as much fun as they are.)
The cameras are rolled up to the stage like Sentinels in the X-Men comics (not the movies!) with a viewing experience distinctly different from driving around with the cd in your car (we’ll get around to discussing the companion audio disc at another time.) The lighting is superb, the audio to the DVD wonderfully separated, and the playing right on the money. For those who appreciate the Stones’ artistry, this material gives new insight – “and when she strip, the chauffeur flip…” a rendition of “Live With Me” that is more articulate and less driving that both Let it Bleed and Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out, while “Dead Flowers” just rocks in a country Byrds/Burritos manner in which it was meant to. Fun on Sticky Fingers the rendition here is spot on as far as the intent of the songwriters. Again, a bar band that might as well be in Buckhead, the uptown district of Atlanta, Georgia, as easily as it was at the Marquee Club on March 26, 1971. “I’ve Got The Blues” washes over you, majestic and charming and deep dark midnight, all with soul, enthusiasm and spirited artistic enthusiasm.
The slash and burn of Ya Ya’s “Midnight Rambler” is more restrained here, Keith and Mick Taylor’s guitars in a brittle lassoo march, circling around the harmonica, drums, bass and vocals. The camerawork is perfect, capturing the angles, melting into the next image, cuts and pull aways, adding to the excitement of this close-up of the boys in that often-desired-as-a-change-from-the-large-venues intimate setting.
As with the CD, Keith Richards and Mick Taylor sound like they are going in to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” but the riff had yet to evolve to that and it is a downplayed “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
“Bitch” and “Brown Sugar” have Jagger dazzling between the sparkles on his cut jacket which barely covers a third to a half of his bare upper torso, spinning around, having a good time. It transfers well from the DVD to the viewer. Ian Stewart’s piano wonderful throughout the concert. Bruce Cowers direction, M.C. of Woodstock, Wellesley Massachusett’s own Chip Monck on production management and Derek Randal producing, it’s essential in its packaging, overall feel and in the performances it delivers. One of many, many keepers for we who appreciate what the Stones are about.
BROWN SUGAR, TOP OF THE POPS
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.