The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary this fall and there are lots of great collectibles being released to mark the occasion; here are four of the best.
Some Girls Live in Texas '78 (Vinyl and DVD)
Eagle Rock/Eagle Vision
Ironically the song "Some Girls" is not performed during this 1978 show from Ft. Worth but material from the Some Girls album, including "Miss You," "Shattered," "When the Whip Comes Down" and "Respectable" makes up nearly half of the set list. The Some Girls songs come at the mid-point of the show with tunes like "Honky Tonk Women," "Star Star," "Tumbling Dice" and "Happy" among the favorites filling out the set. The show is a bit stripped-down for the Stones; there's no light show, no pyrotechnics, no dancing girls and no stage props. That allows for quieter songs like "Love in Vain" to fit into the set along with the countrified "Far Away Eyes" where Ronnie Wood plays the weepy pedal steel part and Doug Kershaw sits in on fiddle. The show closes with "Brown Sugar" and the ever-popular super-oldie "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Presented in a sturdy tri-fold package, Some Girls Live in Texas '78 is a 2-LP set pressed on colored 180-gram vinyl that also includes a copy of the show on DVD with a few performance videos from different Saturday Night Live appearances and a thoughtful present-day interview with Mick Jagger included as bonuses.
Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones (Vinyl and DVD)
Checkerboard Lounge: Live Chicago 1981
Eagle Rock/Eagle Vision
Checkerboard Lounge is a companion piece to Some Girls
that's packaged similarly --- two LP's pressed on heavy colored vinyl plus a DVD contained in a nice tri-fold sleeve. Spin the vinyl to enjoy a set of great blues but if you want to know the personnel on each cut you'll need to watch the DVD. The show starts with Muddy's band playing "Sweet Little Angel" and "Flip Flop and Fly" before Waters come on stage and fires up "You Don't Have to Go" followed by "Country Boy" where he demonstrates his slide guitar technique. Then, during "Baby, Please Don't Go" Muddy invites the Stones onto the stage one-by-one, beginning of course with Mick Jagger followed by Keef and then Woody. The bunch do an extended version of "Baby
" and the Stones stay on stage for three more songs, "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Long Distance Call" and "Mannish Boy." Muddy then takes a rest as his band and guests Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Ian Stewart and Lefty Dizz play a few; Waters returns to close out the show with "Cloud in My Heart" and "Champagne and Reefer." The Checkerboard Lounge (owned at the time by Guy) was a tiny place and part of the fun of the DVD is watching the Stones literally having to walk on tables and step over drinks to get to the cramped stage.
50 X 20 (Book, photography)
In a clever play on the Stones album title 12 X 5, 50 X 20 refers to 50 years and contributions by 20 photographers. About half of this deluxe coffee table-style book features photos from the '60 with the band looking youthful and happy. Mick and Keith are of course the main focus but the late Brian Jones gets plenty of play too; a 1966 photo by Jan Oloffson catches him playing sitar on stage, Eddie Kramer presents a stunning close-up candid of Jones either sleeping or zoning out while Michael Joseph's shots for the Beggar's Banquet album catch Jones and the rest of the band dressed in hobo garb and mugging for the camera. Other prime shots feature Mick with James Brown, Mick with Jimi Hendrix, Mick and Keith at Stonehenge, Mick with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and Keith at Joshua Tree. The photos from the '70s and '80s find the band starting to look a little ragged and the few shots included from this century present the band, Mick and Keith in particular, in all their craggy-faced glory. Other contributing photographers include Gus Coral, Bob Bonis, Bob Gruen, Baron Wolman, Barry Feinstein and Fernando Aceves. Each photographer (or in the case of the deceased ones, someone close to them) offers a reminiscence to go along with their photo essay and in many cases these words are as full of intrigue as the photos themselves.
Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Rolling Stones (2 DVD)
This DVD set offers a rare glimpse of the Stones in a nascent state as it presents every Ed Sullivan Show appearance the band made during the '60s. That amounts to, as the late Sullivan might say, "a really big shoe" as hits like "As Tears Go By," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "19th Nervous Breakdown," "Lady Jane," "Ruby Tuesday" and especially "Let's Spend the Night Together" drive the young ladies in the audience wild. This is the Brian Jones era and it's great to see the late guitarist in action even though undoubtedly most of the time he and the other band members are merely miming while Jagger sings live. The DVDs have a feature where you can just view the Stones clips if you want but six full episodes of the Ed Sullivan Show are presented in their entirety and if you watch these and see that other guests were folks like Phyllis Diller, Leslie Uggams, Hal Holbrook, Flip Wilson and Petula Clark you realize that the show really broke ground in presenting the ruffian rock band. The latest material included is from 1969 with Mick Taylor on guitar for the trifecta "Gimme Shelter," "Love in Vain" and "Honky Tonk Women." Packaged as if it were a small book, this set includes liner notes penned by Greil Marcus and includes an array of photos from the era and even a replica of an admission ticket from a 1966 show.