The hippy dream was dying by this point, and this album reflected that in a very good sense. Riots were becoming commonplace across the USA, drugs were no longer being used but were being abused and psychedelia seemed no longer inspirational. In came Let It Bleed, a great album by The Rolling Stones, and a good reflection of the times. Let’s get stuck into it.
We begin with the loosely strung together guitar parts of Gimme Shelter and with some awesome background harmonies, before kicking into an awesome rock groove. This is great music for the time, and more than 50 years later, it sounds great still. There are some semi-Pink Floyd esque backing vocals here too, and a fuzz laden electric guitar solo. It’s quirky and forward thinking music. The Rolling Stones made music for the masses, and this is a thoroughly enjoyable song. Brilliant. There is a great sense of musical momentum throughout. There is some cool harmonica at the end, too.
The subtle and beautiful acoustic intro to Love In Vain is very much like something Bob Dylan would have done, with some awesome slide guitar thrown into the mix. It’s a subtle and gentle bluesy romp that sounds somewhat psychedelic in its phrasing. There is some frenetic playing on the acoustic parts here as well. All in all, a very simple and beautiful piece to listen to. Close your eyes and listen to Mick Jagger and co. serve a slice of beautiful music. Effortless sounding. It’s another top notch listen. Mick Jagger yelps and hollers throughout, giving it his all.
Country Honk sounds like it was recorded on the side of the road, except it probably wasn’t. It’s a clever and energetic redo of the classic song by The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Woman. It has strummed acoustic guitar, country melodies and great wailing. Oh yeah, there is a fiddle there too. Nice stuff to listen to. A great and awesome jam to listen to.
Live With Me talks about being an uncontrollable sort of drug taking person. There are some really great mesh of electric piano sounds and guitars here. Whoever said music before the 21st century was irrelevant? This, by no means is that. Yes, there is a beautiful saxophone solo in here, too. Classy and another classic song by The Rolling Stones. Some of the lyrics are really out there in terms of profanity here, but then again, that is to be expected.
The title track Let It Bleed starts off with a subtle vocal, piano and strummed acoustic guitar. It’s very much inspired by country music, but sounds so wonderful and pure in its intent. It openly references drug use and sexual exploits. A wonderful piece to listen to, despite all that. It is much more “out there” than many songs of its time in its intentions. The Rolling Stones wanted to start chaos, and very much did so. Some cleverly played slide guitar is here, too. No doubt Keith Richards had a large part in the say of the musical arrangements here, too. Towards the end, crashing cymbals and an extended outro lifts your mind to a higher level of consciousness. Great stuff.
Next is the false intro to the next song, then leading into Midnight Rambler which is an interesting song about said midnight rambler, who gets up to unusual things. One can only imagine what sorts of things that said person gets up to. It has a strange off key slide guitar melody, harmonica and a good sense of rhythm here. It’s a chugging and delightful piece, then mysteriously changing rhythm halfway through. Mick Jagger sings, “don’t you do that!” over an awesome musical backing. Then, the whole piece goes into a subtle sort of listen, before launching into the second half of the song. It’s definitely a good listen, worth hearing if you can. Not a bad listen for nearly seven minutes long. It builds up in pace and melody perfectly towards the end.
You Got The Silver comes next. It’s a short piece which is a love song. It’s surprisingly touching, given the fact that it is a poppy sort of piece for this album. Slide guitars and delicious melodies galore are here, and it is a nice devotion to a lover. Great upbeat sounds and country music sensibilities galore here. Another good effort. The outro is really awesome.
Monkey Man comes next. It’s a rather unusual but catchy guitar riff led piece. “I’ve got a cold Italian pizza, could use a lemon squeezer!” is sung here, with a decent British sense of humour by Mick Jagger. It’s an awesome piece to hear towards the end of this album. The song is very intricate and well delivered. Charlie Watts drumming is really top notch in particular here, showing the world that he could consistently deliver. The monkey like yelping at the end is pretty cool, too.
Lastly, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, which is very true. It begins with a choir singing away, which is interesting. It’s a nice way to start this song, before launching into a keyboard horn piece and strummed acoustic guitar. Mick Jagger sings one of the best songs by The Rolling Stones with a great sense of emotion here, with many instruments and textures, amongst the excellent lyrics. It was a big hit for the group at the time, and you can hear why. More open drug references are here, and it is an upbeat and melodic listen all the way through. Mick Jagger proceeds to howl and screech in an original and amazing way. Once again, The Rolling Stones do very, very well here. Great song. Nice way to end this superb album.
This album ends the 1960s very nicely, and looks ahead to the 1970s with hope for The Rolling Stones. Sadly, Brian Jones also died in this year, at the rock and roll age of 27. Still, The Rolling Stones powered on ahead. The music here is consistent, and does justice for the group.