by Bud Scoppa |

the Rolling Stones
We’ve already marked June 8 on our calendars as the opening day of Apple’s WWDC, but we’ve got June 9 is circled as well. That’s the day the expanded reissue of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers will be unleashed by UMe. And believe it or not, the greatest album by the world’s greatest rock & roll band is now even greater.

From the titanic riffage of “Brown Sugar” to the cinematic splendor of “Moonlight Mile,” the third of the Rolling Stones’ four straight studio masterpieces released between 1968 and ’72 may well be the best of this exalted bunch. While the regally raunchy Beggars Banquet, the subterranean Let It Bleed and the sprawling Exile on Main St. are crammed with wonders, 1971’s Sticky Fingers contains one indelible classic after another—there’s not one moment on this extraordinary piece of work that isn’t explosively immediate.

Amazingly, the same can be said for the five alternate takes that have been unearthed for the occasion. I can’t credit the responsible engineers (I don’t yet have the credits), but the mixes separate the guitar parts, setting off the interaction of Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, just settling into his role as the Stones’ first bona fide lead guitarist. And on one magical track, the stereo split isolates a delectable slide part from a surprise special guest.

The Deluxe Edition also contains 18 previously unreleased live tracks from the period between the Stones’ monumental ’69 and ’72 tours, which we have yet to hear.

An early, pre-jam take on “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” serves the same purpose as the roughs collected by Jimmy Page for Rhino’s Led Zeppelin expanded reissues—revealing how this stunner first came together, as Keith shapes the soon-to-be-iconic riff that drives the first half of the song, Charlie picks up on the falling-down-the-stairs groove, Mick Taylor fills in the holes with hot licks and Mick Jagger exhorts his bandmates by interjecting “C’mon, c’mon” into his scratch vocal.

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