Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Season in Hell With The Rolling Stones

Exile on Main St. (A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones)
By: Robert Greenfield
Da Capo Press
If you’re a fan of the numerous, and occasionally noteworthy, DVDs that are released documenting the physical creation of great albums from the time a band clocks into the studio until the minute they clock out then Robert Greenfield’s new book about the making of The Rolling Stones classic double album, Exile on Main St. then this probably isn’t your best bet.

That’s simply because instead of your run-of-the-mill tale of marathon knob tweaking and the search for the perfect lyric Greenfield has crafted a book about the Stones that is much more about the human condition, and its faults, than studio wizardry.

The book lovingly details the period of time that the Stones, who were forced to leave England to avoid astronomical back-taxes, spent in the South of France. The focus of Greenfield’s study is more on the tensions between the band and the entourage of people that that were present at the time than on the music that was being created. It’s also fair to say that the vivid recollections of many of these people provide the books best moments.

Of course, the mass amounts of drugs that were present at the mansion also play a large part in making the story so interesting. Anyone who has ever wondered about the lure of Heroin, Cocaine and their effects on the creation of music will find the book a dark telling of the realities.

Unlike many books about the Stones, Greenfield’s story paints accurate, if somewhat deflating, pictures of both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards without trying to over analyze the pairs relationship. Being that most of the book takes place at the Villa Nellcote, where Keith Richards took up residence, the book also offers a great look in to what makes Richards such an outstanding guitar player.

The actual songs that appear on Exile are largely left undiscussed, with Happy being the only track that get any serious examination, but the wild mood swings and not so random debauchery that were in play during the albums creation are objectively examined from every angle.

Towards the end the book also takes a great look at the Stones recent appearance at the half-time show of Super Bowl XL. Overall, this is truly a refreshing, objective and relevant book in a marketplace that has seen way to many skewed and biased opinions on the “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.”

New Dealers Staff

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