Another album drops from the Rolling Stones in the midst of their classic run with Mick Taylor complimenting Keith Richards on guitar. That being said, the Stones remain an act dominated and led by Richards and front-man Mick Jagger. Today’s album is “Goat’s Head Soup”.
This album has some highlights, but overall, isn’t a big needle mover for me. Most of the songs are relatively bland and without much hook, even if they aren’t awful either. The first three songs, “Dancing With Mr. D”, “100 Years Ago” and “Coming Down Again” are all easy to listen to, but none are terribly interesting. “Coming Down Again” is unique, as I can’t think of another ballad with Keith Richards on lead vocals, even if with a lot of help from Mick. Next comes “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, one of the two big hits on the album, and in my taste, the best song by far. Charlie Watts is really solid on this track, and the guitar riff and story-telling is Mick and Keith at their best. The horns are an excellent addition as well.
One hit follows another, with the acoustic ballad “Angie”. Two confessions on this song… one, I thought it was released much earlier, back in the Brian Jones days, and two, I have never really loved it. It is a big signature hit for the band and I can see why, I just don’t really love it. Keith does most of the heavy lifting on the songwriting here, and the piano accompaniment from Nicky Hopkins is a great touch. It is a really well-constructed song, it has just never been a personal favorite of mine.
“Silver Train” and “Winter” are probably my other favorites on this album, but that is all relative. Aside from “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, I don’t see much else from this album making its way to my master play list. One last side note that has come to light recently, they recorded a song with Jimmy Page called “Scarlet” that was subsequently released on an extended album, and I do like the riff on this song better than most of the album. Coincidence or not, Jimmy Page’s daughter was named Scarlet. That said, there are several moments in the song where I think they just kind of gave up on the transitions, and if they had tried a bit harder, they could have turned the raw chord structure into a really good song. I’m always a sucker for collaboration by the giants of British blues rock bands, so I love that it happened and came out, warts and all. If nothing else, I certainly would have enjoyed hanging out at Ronnie Wood’s house, where it was recorded, even before he joined the band. A night with Mick, Keith, Ronnie, Ian Stewart and Jimmy Page? Sign me up.