The Rolling Stones Stir Up 1973’s  ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ Into a Deluxe Edition

Rolling Stones | Goat’s Head Soup | (Polydor/Interscope/UMe)
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It couldn’t last of course.

The Rolling Stones’ historic run starting with 1968’s Beggars Banquet and continuing through Exile on Main Street from 1972 was sure to end. That happened a year later with Goat’s Head Soup.

The Stones’ 11th studio effort was by no means a terrible album — after all, they still benefited from Mick Taylor’s lead guitar skills and a few singles—but GHS paled in comparison to the works preceding it. In comparison to some weaker sets the UK rockers from later in their extensive career, it holds up pretty well. Still, the ten tracks, heavy on ballads that comprise a third of the selections, seemed if not languid, then at least lacking the band’s dangerous edge.

A few of Soup’s tracks have become classics, most obviously “Angie,” a chart-topper before the full disc’s release and“Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” which occasionally appears in live sets. That’s not to dismiss the darker blues of “Hide Your Love,” Keith’s bittersweet ballad “Coming Down Again” or the grinding, slide guitar showcase “Silver Train” (a minor hit for Johnny Winter who released his version before the Stones).

Still, opener “Dancing With Mr. D” never catches fire due to Jagger’s pouty posturing of lyrics that border on silly and the string enhanced melancholy “Winter” seems like a weaker mirror image of Sticky Fingers’ far more poignant “Moonlight Mile.” The once-controversial “Star Star,” almost cut due to its “star*ucker” chorus, now seems like a peppy but ultimately tame Chuck Berry rip these guys could have written and recorded during a coffee break.

The special expanded edition (three years ahead of Soup’s 50th anniversary) features remastered sound and a second ten-track platter highlighted by three tunes recorded in the same time period that remained officially unreleased until now. Of those, “Scarlet” with Jimmy Page sitting in for Keith whips up a funky enough froth, “All the Rage” doesn’t generate a boil, and “Criss Cross” sounds like an adequate Stones cover band. The rest of the extras are hardly remarkable different mixes, demos and instrumental tracks, generally of interest to collectors.

Those with deeper pockets can spring for the expensive “deluxe” package. It reproduces the long bootlegged The Brussels Affair 15 song 1973 concert, notable in the three Soup songs bunched together into the spirited show. It doesn’t feature any material before “Jumping Jack Flash” and closes with a frantic, near breathless “Street Fighting Man.” Your $150 also gets you a DVD with the first 5.1 Dolby Atmos remix of a Stones album along with a lavish 120-page book boasting three extensive essays detailing the making of the songs, tour and even cover art. It also includes a few dozen rare photos of the band circa 1973 along with four tour posters.           

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