The Rolling Stones :: Slave (1981)


It’s no secret I like the Stones. A lot. Like any band or artist one follows relentlessly, there comes a time when we begin listening to the albums in a different light than we did in years past. This runs from searching out and appreciating everything from lyrical quirks, oddball nuggets, interesting time signatures, stylistic oddities, to just plain old tunes we missed the first go ’round.

For me, the latest case of this phenomenon has manifested itself in relishing the most interesting moments of the latter era ’70s, and early ’80s, Stones catalog (Some Girls excluded, as it’s a classic top to bottom), i.e. Black & Blue, Emotional Rescue, and Tattoo You. I will tackle all of these LP’s stand-out gems eventually, but as we’ve discussed before, the Stones Tattoo You is just full of surprises.

Yes, it’s latter-era Stones (1981), but the track listing, save three tracks, is entirely comprised of ’70s session outtakes dating back to the 1972 Goats Head Soup sessions. But wait, unlike my earlier fawning over the album’s “Waiting On A Friend,” itself a Goat’s Head outtake, it’s the slinky sax-driven, six and half minute, track “Slave” that presently has my attention.

Why? Mainly because it’s a nasty-good roadhouse, Stones, jam, but also because, it (being one of three tracks recorded for the LP in the eighties) proves that the band was still, without question, putting out the goods when Reagan took office. As it turned out, Tattoo You was the last album to feature the “classic” Stones sound before moving into the eighties with their less-than-lackluster efforts Undercover, Dirty Work, and Steel Wheels. But damn if it ain’t sweet.

Previously: Rolling Stones :: Waiting On A Friend (Video 1981)

MP3: The Rolling Stones :: Slave
Amazon: The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

+ Download tunes through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 offer.
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Rolling Stones MP3s.

16 thoughts on “The Rolling Stones :: Slave (1981)

  1. Awesome post man. I love it, its like a christmas present that somehow got lost in the mail and then finally showed up at the door late. Rediscovering the old stuff is where its at.

  2. Thats a good post, I love the Stones as well and Tattoo You is probably my favorite. As oddballs go I love the song “Heaven” also.

  3. Its funny… as I age I seem to get into the later material from all of the great 60’s and 70’s artists that I admire. Almost like what it must have been like to be a teenager when the Stones hit big in 1965, then aging into your early 30’s to have them release Tattoo You – it just works!

  4. The Stones get too much grief over their latter output, but to me they come up with plenty of interesting tracks every time. When an act is universally known, people seem to acquire a necessity to have a negative or sarcastic opinion, whereas the Stones are still a pretty great band post-1980, even if they coast half of the time. BTW, I thought Undercover was mostly great, another total change for them, with those dark, heavy grooves on a lot of the tracks, similar to Slave, they still stand up pretty good today.

  5. Did you notice that the Virgin reissue has an extra few moments? Do you have all the old outtakes of this? Insane

  6. D. Bell, I find that the songs Keith sings on the post-1980 albums are always worth checking out. I especially enjoy his three songs on Bridges to Babylon.

  7. black and blue is awesome…any album featuring memory motel and fool to cry would be most band’s “best”.

    and its considered a “weaker” album for the stones.

  8. I freaking LOVE this song, have for a few years since I discovered it. Funkier than they’ll ever be, it’s pure swagger and I can’t imagine why this song never made it onto some inane Miller Lite commercial or something (bite my tongue). Sonny Rollins on sax, and more impressively, those “female” backing vocals provided courtesy of buddy Pete Townshend! Only matched by “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'”, imho. Thanks for posting this!

  9. Another treat, thanks. I think I’ll put it in a sweet lil’ box with “Ventilator Blues”, wrap it in a bow and give it to myself mid-winter, just to make myself feel better.

  10. “Less-than-lackluster” is such an understatement. I think the swift decline in the Stones’ output runs in direct correlation with the rise in Mick’s aerobics fetish. “Tattoo You” despite its release date, really can’t be considered a ‘late-era’ Stones album: it’s pre-blood-transfusion Keef. Now ‘Dirty Work’ is a ‘late-era’ album. Whew. What a godawful album.

  11. Great post and all, but I have to stand up for “Steel Wheels” – it´s really quite good. The hits work well, there´s a couple of strange things (“Blinded by Love”..) and it´s got one of Keith´s best slower moments, “Slipping Away”. Had the name on the cover been anything else than The Rolling Stones, the record would be remembered as a quirky, commercial-yet-idiosyncratic almost-classic.

  12. I wouldn’t call Dirty Work “godawful.”

    It’s got at least three great tracks: “One Hit to the Body,” “Had It With You” and “Sleep Tonight.”

    The rest ranges from OK to sucky…but, like all latter-day Stones, it’s better than you think.

  13. I too love the Stones and mostly agree with everyone above. A few of my favorite latter day Stones cuts:

    Bridges to Babylons’ “Saint of Me” is a great single, and “Out of Control” is awesome live. I wish they would keep playing that tune because I think it would still be a highlight of their shows.

    Voodoo Lounges’ “Baby Break It Down,” “Love Is Strong,” and of course, “The Worst”, one of the best Stones-country songs. (Can that be a genre of it’s own? Stones-Country?)

    Steel Wheels has great tracks like the underrated “Terrifying,” “Continental Drift,” and, as stated above, “Slipping Away.”

    Undercover has “Undercover,” “She Was Hot,” (with a really fun Stones video) “Wanna Hold You,” (OK – We all agree that no matter what album, Keith’s cuts are always great!) and “Feel On Baby” (I’m probably alone here, but I love the groove.)

    Granted, Dirty Work might only have “One Hit” and Ian Stewart’s last album appearance at the end of the cassette, (at least how I owned it) “Key to the Highway.”

    I think that overall, history will come to think that Voodoo Lounge was a truly great album.

    It’s posts like the Stones, Gram Parsons, Velvets, and cool new music posts like Oakley Hall that had me vote “Best Music Blog.” The douche’s at Stereogum can kiss my ass.

Comments are closed.