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Album Talk: Sticky Fingers by Rolling Stones

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What do you get when you fool around with an adhesive?
Sticky Fingers!

Which also happens to be the name of an album by the legendary Rolling Stones.

‘Sticky Fingers’ is the first album to be released on Rolling Stone Records. The songs are an amalgamation of the usual Rolling Stones’ subjects of sex, drugs, the blues, and rock and roll. It was the band’s first album to reach number one on both the UK albums and US albums charts, and is inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

For this week’s Album Talk, fellow cowboy Narendra Kusnur and I discuss this epic album by the original bad boys of rock n roll.

Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.

Me: This album will turn 50 next month.

Kusnur: Ya it was released in April 1971.

Me: It is a typical Rolling Stones album.

Kusnur: They went back to their basic sound for this album. Rolling Stones were heavily influenced by blues specially Keith Richards who has done half of the song writing. ‘Sticky Fingers’ was a mix of Mick Jagger’s style and Keith’s blues influence.

Me: This is their first album after Brian Jones died.

Kusnur: He and Jim Morrison share their death anniversaries, 3rd of July. Brian died in 1969 and Morrison in 1971. This is also guitarist Mick Taylor’s second full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album.

Me: Both are a part of the 27 Club. The album starts off in Rolling Stones’ signature style with ‘Brown Sugar’.

Listen to ‘Brown Sugar’

Kusnur: It was the most successful song from the album. The song was a bit controversial as the subject matter was not clear. Some felt it was about drugs while many found it racist.

Me: The vocals are not clearly audible on this track.

Kusnur: That was the typical Rolling Stones style.

Me: Its blues meets rock n roll.

Kusnur: The second song, Sway, is a bit slower and is very blues. It leads into the third song, Wild Horses. Both the songs are very similar sonically.

Me: It might be a single song which was cut into two.

Listen to ‘Wild Horses’

Kusnur: Knowing them, it is possible. ‘Wild Horses’ is one of my favourites. I prefer when Jagger sings mid tempo songs like ‘Angie’.

Me: He didn’t have a great vocal range but he carried himself well in every song.

Kusnur: He wouldn’t make to the top ten vocalists list of many except a few hard core fans and women. As a showman he would make to everyone’s list.

Me: He would make it to top five. This is a less controversial albums as per their standards. The biggest controversy was about the album cover which showed a close-up of a jeans-clad male crotch with a bulge.

Kusnur: it was designed by Andy Warhol who had a thing for controversy. People thought it was Jagger in the picture but actually it was one of Andy’s friends.

Listen to ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’

Me: Even if they would have just written ‘Rolling Stones’ on the cover and the album would have been a hit. They were almost at their peak when this album released. There is a long song, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, which is a typical rock song.

Kusnur: The saxophone part by Bobby Keys and Mick Taylor in the end is fantastic. In a lot of songs, Keith would build up the song and Taylor would end it with a solo. The other essential rock n roll song is ‘Bitch’.

Me: It also has great lyrics. There are two songs about drugs, ‘Sister Morphine’ and ‘Dead Flowers’.

Kusnur: ‘Dead Flowers’ is one of my picks from this album. It was a very hunky tonk feel to it.

Me: It does sound very country. Rolling Stones were also heavily influenced by Americana music. One of my picks from this album is ‘Moonlight Mile’.

Kusnur: This is a rare song where Keith Richards is not on the credits.

Me: Charlie Watts’ drumming on this song is outstanding. Watts is a complete opposite character than the rest. The man tucks his shirt and looks like he’s forced to perform with them. I have never understood how Watts made it to this line up and has managed to stay the course.

Kusnur: Forget him, how did all them survive with each other!

Me: Pretty sure even they wont know.

Do you know the answer?

Until next time! Adios Amigos!!

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