Man do I ever love this album.
Recorded live back in 1981 when The Rolling Stones were touring all over the U.S.A and selling out stadium shows like no one’s business.
Still Life came out a year later in 1982 and I remember like it was yesterday when I heard it for the first time,
I was in Grade 11 headed for Soccer practice when a buddy named Joe Cassidy(RIP) picked up a few of us along the way and in the tape deck, Joe had Still Life cranked.
Joe was nowhere the music fanatic I was but that day at that given time I heard Still Life and was blown away and needed to get my own copy ASAP! (which I did).
This album is The Stones at there finest. I don’t think they have recorded a better live album in my opinion and maybe that’s due to the fact that where this album dropped into my life then.
Still Life is loosey-goosey in the playing and that’s what makes this album so endearing. You hear the intro music being played and the roar of the crowd as the Stones hit the stage and launch into Under My Thumb. Keef and Ronnie Wood play off of each other. It’s basically like they are jamming in your basement the only difference is 50,000 were watching at the time.
How about Mick Jagger right before the second song in (Let’s Spend The Night Together) to ” Have a few beers, smoke a few joints”
BADASS that Mick was back in 81.
One of the real things is this is the Stones stripped down to the bare minimum as in players. There’s no backup singers and a bunch of people up on stage. It’s the Stones with Ian Stewart (piano) and Bobby Keys (sax).
The Stones express just keeps cranking along as they plow through Shattered and the really catchy and quickie Twenty Flight Rock that clocks in at 1 minute 48 seconds! I can add I love Charlie Watts shuffle like playing on this tune.
Going To A GO-Go was the single from this release and just like how the track before it (Twenty Flight Rock) is a cover these guys had the craft at making the song sound like there own. Not too many bands can do that. (Aerosmith would be another act knowing how to do that)
Side 2 kicks off with the quick hop of Let Me Go. Just a straight ahead Stones track followed by Time Is On My Side where you can hear Keef and his Marlboro whiskey drenched backing vocal superbly backing up Mick.
Just My Imagination picks up the pace which in turn is followed by the biggie hit from 1981 Start Me Up. What an opening riff and such a brilliant segue into Charlie’s drums as he’s locked n loaded and in sync with bassist Bill Wyman.
I love the slip n sloppy guitaring of Ronnie and Keef on album closer (I Can’t Get) No Satisfaction. The Stones barrel there way at a rip n tear like pace as Mick and company can see the finish line.
This is a fun listen. What’s more amazing is that out of the albums 10 tracks 4 are covers! Ha, usually I would knock this as The Stones had a huge catalog of tunes back then but they get a pass as I mentioned due to the fact they can play covers and make em sound like there own.
Kinda funny that this album came out in 1982 the same year as Van Halen who did a half original/half studio album and VH got ripped apart by the press for being lazy.
I guess that separates The Stones from Halen as the fans accepted The Stones and that lazy hazy brilliance that they could ooze.
Lot’s of that on this one Folks!