Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Virginia

During their 1970 recording sessions (March-May, June-July, and October) at Stargroves (with the Rolling Stones Mobile) and Olympic Sound Studios the Rolling Stones worked on some 30 tracks, which ended up on the upcoming* "Sticky Fingers" album, but also on the band's 1972 masterpiece, "Exile On Main St.". Piano and organ parts during these sessions were shared by Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins and newcomer to the Stones' inner circle Billy Preston, who had found brief pop fame with the Beatles in 1969 when he had played keyboards on 'Get Back' and 'Don't Let Me Down'.

'Sweet Virginia', which was finished in 1971-1972 and included on "Exile", originates from the June-July sessions, and features Stu on piano. Author James Hector on this pure (but also drug-related) country song: "The nearest the Stones ever got to a round-the-campfire song, though Baden-Powell probably wouldn't have appreciated the refrain. "Got to scrape the shit right of your shoes" suggested that the song may have been an obscure slant on the old standard 'Walkin' Blues', but the blues (and the reds and the greens for that matter) referred to in the song were in tablet form. If one Stones' song was written by Keith Richards and Gram Parsons up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 'Sweet Virginia' must have been it".

* The "Sticky Fingers" album, now almost complete, was left in the can until the outcome of publishing rights trials. The album featured a host of musicians and took seven months to record but, due to protracted record company deals and various law suits, was not released for a further six to eight months.

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
James Hector, The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones, Omnibus Press, 1995.

Suggested further reading:
Bill Janovitz, Exile On Main St., Continuum, 2005.

1 comment:

  1. March-May, 1970: Olympic Sound Studios, London and Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Stargroves, Newbury, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar (Jagger-Richards) (3:50)
    The Rolling Stones: You Gotta Move (McDowell-Davis) (2:34)
    The Rolling Stones: I Got The Blues (Jagger-Richards) (3:54)
    The Rolling Stones: Cocksucker Blues (Jagger-Richards) (3:29)
    The Rolling Stones: Dancing In The Light (Jagger-Richards) (2:44)

    700300B March - May: London, Olympic Sound Studios and Newbury, Stargroves (Mick Jagger’s house) with the Rolling Stones Mobile Record Unit. Producer: Jimmy Miller. Sound engineers: Glyn Johns, Andy Johns, Chris Kimsey (and Jimmy Miller for Cocksucker Blues).
    - Brown Sugar (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano, Bobby Keys on sax
    - You Gotta Move (McDowell-Davis) - Bill Wyman on electric piano
    - I Got The Blues (Jagger-Richards) - Billy Preston on organ, Bobby Keys on sax, Jim Price on trumpet
    - Cocksucker Blues (Jagger-Richards) - Mick Jagger (voc, gtr) only
    - Dancing In The Light (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano; instrumental
    - Dead Flowers (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano
    - As Now/Rock It/Traveling Tiger (Jagger-Richards) - all unverified.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, perc)/Keith Richards (gtr, bvoc)/Mick Taylor (gtr)/Bill Wyman (bass)/Charlie Watts (dr).
    Note: during these sessions Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys and Jim Price also recorded with the band Sky (album ‘Sailor’s Delight’, released 1971).

    June 16-July 27, 1970: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Can't You Hear Me Knocking? (Jagger-Richards) (7:16)
    The Rolling Stones: I'm Going Down (Jagger-Richards) (2:50)
    The Rolling Stones: Leather Jacket (Taylor) (3:25)
    The Rolling Stones: Who Am I? (Jagger-Richards) (3:46)
    The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light (early version) (Jagger-Richards) (4:05)

    700616A 16th June - 27th July: London, Olympic Sound Studios. Producer: Jimmy Miller. Sound engineers: Glyn Johns, Andy Johns, Chris Kimsey (for Andy Johns on the 22nd July).
    - All Down The Line (Jagger-Richards) - first unverified electric version
    - Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Jagger-Richards) - Billy Preston on organ, Bobby Keys on sax, Jimmy Miller on percussion, Rocky Dijon on congas
    - I'm Going Down (Jagger-Richards) - Bobby Keys on sax, Rocky Dijon on percussion, Stephen Stills on guitar, Bill Plummer on upright bass
    - Leather Jacket (Taylor) - Billy Preston on piano and organ; instrumental
    - Shake Your Hips (Moore) - unverified early version
    - Shine A Light (Jagger-Richards) - Billy Preston on piano and organ; early version
    - Sweet Virginia (Jagger-Richards) - Ian Stewart on piano, unverified early version without sax
    - Who Am I? (Jagger-Richards).
    - Aladdin Stomp/Candlewick Bedspread/Hey Mama (Jagger-Richards) - all unverified.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, harm)/Keith Richards (gtr, bvoc)/Mick Taylor (gtr)/Bill Wyman (bass)/Charlie Watts (dr).