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Keith Richards and Mick Jagger reveal why The Rolling Stones don’t play “Brown Sugar” anymore

UNCUT 11 October, 2021 - 03:10pm

The Rolling Stones have conspicuously omitted their controversial 1971 hit "Brown Sugar" from their recent shows on the No Filter Tour. The reason varies, depending on which band member you ask.

"Brown Sugar," the chart-topping opening track to Sticky Fingers, deals with a number of scandalous topics including slavery and rape, while its title is a double entendre for oral sex and heroin. Unsurprisingly, the song's problematic lyrics have often overshadowed its musical merits. But Keith Richards feels like critics of the song have missed the point.

“You picked up on that, huh?" the guitarist told the Los Angeles Times about the set list omission. “I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this shit." That said, Richards is still "hoping that we'll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track."

Mick Jagger gave a more diplomatic explanation for excluding the song. "We've played 'Brown Sugar' every night since 1970, so sometimes you think, We’ll take that one out for now and see how it goes," he said. “We might put it back in.” The singer conceded that “the set list in a stadium show, it’s kind of a tough one,” but he was proud that the band recently pulled off "Let It Bleed," with Jagger playing 12-string guitar.

Jagger reflected on "Brown Sugar" in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview. "God knows what I’m on about on that song," he said. "It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go." The singer also admitted he "never would write that song now": "I would probably censor myself. I’d think, 'Oh, God, I can’t. I’ve got to stop. I can’t just write raw like that.'"

The Rolling Stones kicked off the latest leg of their No Filter Tour on Sept. 26 in St. Louis. It marks their first trek without drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August at the age of 80. The band has been honoring Watts onstage every night, featuring him heavily in the concert visuals.

"I know Charlie wanted us to [continue touring], and I think the audience wanted us to do it," Jagger told Apple Music 1 host Zane Lowe. "And of course it’s different — and of course in some ways it’s kinda sad. ... But you just go out there and rock out, and you feel better. And it’s very cathartic. So I think it’s really good."

What did Mick Taylor play at his final Rolling Stones show?

Far Out Magazine 11 October, 2021 - 03:30am

To make a tricky situation even worse, the first show Taylor would play with the band would be their July 5 concert at Hyde Park, the band’s largest gig up to that point which had been hastily turned into a Jones tribute. The 20-year-old had to emerge from Jones’ long shadow in front of nearly half a million people waiting for Taylor to do it as good, if not better, than Jones.

What the public didn’t know was just how talented a guitarist Taylor was. A fluid and dynamic lead player, the young strummer had the adaptability to play blues licks, country lines, and straight-ahead rock and roll with the precision and confidence of someone twice his age. He was a wunderkind that The Stones relied on for the next five years as they recorded some of their most beloved albums, including Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St.

Unfortunately, Taylor never felt his status had progressed beyond that of a hired gun. While he had allegedly been promised songwriting credits on a number of tracks he helped create, including Sticky Fingers‘ ‘Moonlight Mile’ and It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll‘s ‘Till the Next Goodbye’, his only co-credit came on Exile‘s ‘Ventilator Blues’. Even worse, the relatively lax attitude towards drug use in The Stones’ camp led Taylor to develop addictions of his own. Disgruntled with his status in the band and fearful of becoming another rock and roll causality like his predecessor, Taylor quit The Stones right before the band were set to fly to Munich to record Black and Blue in December 1974.

The band decided not to tour behind It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, another point of contention with Taylor, who wasn’t happy about the quick turnaround going back into the studio. That means that Taylor’s final show as an official full-time member of The Rolling Stones came on the last stop of the band’s 1973 tour in support of Goats Head Soup. The band’s 1973 European Tour was a less hectic affair than their debaucherous Exile outing the year before, and the disconnect between Taylor and the rest of the band is evident in his dislike of the interwoven guitar approach favoured by Richards.

The band’s setlist varied little between shows, and the tour’s final stop in Berlin presented one of the most consistent shows of the two month jaunt. Opening with the contentious ‘Brown Sugar’, the concert today reads like a greatest hits collection from Taylor’s tenure in the band: ‘Tumbling Dice’, ‘Angie’, ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘All Down the Line’ all featuring Taylor’s unique contributions. The only song that Taylor had to approximate Jones’ guitar work on was ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, and even then Taylor mostly dispensed with Jones’ chunky rhythm lines, opting for his signature crystalline leads.

Even the tracks that didn’t feature Taylor on record benefitted from his addition. His searing bends on ‘Midnight Rambler’ heighten the blues opera’s drama, while his ominous soaring notes play in perfectly with the moody atmosphere of ‘Gimme Shelter’. His ferocity can be felt in full force on Richards’ ‘Happy’, his subtlety and restraint are showcased on ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, and he even shows flashes of protopunk on ‘Rip This Joint’. Richards may have bemoaned the rigid lead-rhythm dynamics between him and Taylor, but it’s hard to argue that this was the tightest and most technically proficient version of The Stones to ever exist.

The concert ended without any of the signature flash that comes with a modern-day Stones concert. No fireworks, no encores, no bows, no ‘Satisfaction’. Instead, the group ripped through a killer rendition of ‘Street Fighting Man’ with Taylor unlocking some mind-bending wah-wah effects before simply leaving the stage, and their current lineup, behind.

There are bootlegs available (of dubious quality) that still present The Stones at an undeniable peak. It wouldn’t last, but you can hear the fire that comes from every speaker, especially Taylor’s amp. Taylor would occasionally rejoin The Stones in future years, but his last concert as a full-time member showed the enormous potential that the band still had with him as their six-string virtuoso.

The Rolling Stones Bust Out "Connection" for the first time since 2006 in Nashville

jambands.com 10 October, 2021 - 07:15pm

Setlist image via the Stones’ Facebook page

The Rolling Stones’ first outing without Charlie Watts, who passed away earlier this year, stopped at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium yesterday. While most of the Stones’ current setlist remains fixed, the band has been offering a few surprises at each stop. Partway through their set, the Stones busted out “Connection,” with Keith Richards on lead vocals, for the first time since 2006. The tune originally appeared on The Rolling Stones’ fifth LIP, 1967’s Between the Buttons. For their “fan request” selection, the rock-and-roll icons also played this year’s first “Dead Flowers.”

The Rolling Stones will make their way to Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium for gig on October 14.

5 Comments comments associated with this post

Wtf are you talking about Donnie? It says 2006 in the headline……unless the dipshits at jambands edited it after you posted.

I saw them in 2006 in Atlantic City and they played ‘Connection’.

It says 1996 in the article and 2006 in the headline.

Call me anything but that piece of shit Donnie and, yeah, they edited it…

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