Some Girls Live In Texas '78
The Rolling Stones
It's not uncommon to think of Some Girls as the last decent gasp from the world's greatest rock and roll band. It was certainly a cut above some of the Rolling Stones' other 70s albums, like Goats Head Soup. In an effort to stay contemporary, the Stones aligned themselves loosely with punk and disco, the so-called flavors of the day, when they made Some Girls. So there was "Miss You" with its dance groove, and "Respectable" and "Lies" with a snarl, and in the middle of all that was a little country ("Far Away Eyes"), a dash of R&B ("Just My Imagination"), the provocative (title track), and songs cast in the classic Stones mold like "Beast Of Burden."
Following in the footsteps of the hullaballoo surrounding the 2010 reissue of Exile On Main Street comes the 2011 reissue of Some Girls, a deluxe double-disc that includes an extra 12 unreleased tracks. To really give the whole shebang a kick in the cajoles, there's a DVD/Blu-ray Disc from Eagle Rock of Some Girls Live In Texas 1978, previously unreleased. Put the two together (and you can if you buy the Super Deluxe edition of Some Girls) and you get a well-rounded look at the band during a turbulent, transitional period, exacerbated by Keith Richards' legal problems in Canada.
What outside forces they were dealing with at the time, the Stones delivered a tidy little record in Some Girls. It was Ron Wood's first full album, establishing a new style of guitar dynamics for the Stones, something Richards would later refer to as "the ancient art of weaving". Listen to "Shattered" or "When The Whip Comes Down," and Richards' description rings true. Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman keep the motor running while Jagger works at being the Renaissance man.
Clearly, the Stones singer had a measurable influence over what Some Girls became. "Miss You" gave him an outlet for his twinkling toes and the Stones' eighth (and final) Number One on Billboard's Hot 100. The rest of the album reflected a penchant for diversity, without reaching beyond commercial viability (i.e., no experimentation ala Satanic Majesties). In a recent interview, Richards revealed that the unreleased songs were meant to fill out a double Some Girls album, but time constraints whittled down the record to the single disc Stones fans know today. Make that yesterday.
Without question, the extra songs are anything but throwaways and outtakes. These are fertile tracks that stand strong on their own. "Claudine" and "So Young" are ragged barn-burners, while "Do You Think I Really Care" and "You Win Again" are additional countrified tomes. And how the catchy "No Spare Parts" didn't make the original cut for Some Girls may forever being mired in mystery.
As with the Exile reissue, Jagger couldn't help but add some newly recorded tracks to a couple of the songs like the calypso-charged "Don't be A Stranger," with new bass tracks (courtesy of Don Was) and percussion, and the rocking "Tallahassee Lassie" enhanced with handclaps from Was and John Fogerty (!). "I Love You Too Much" is really the only song that sounds like an actual Some Girls outtake, with its rollicking rhythm, catchy chorus and bright guitars.
Some Girls Live In Texas '78 makes a proper companion piece, despite its rough edges. Over the years, the 1978 tour has gained a reputation as a raggedy, nonchalant affair, perhaps based in part on the Stones' bedraggled performance on Saturday Night Live, which just happens to be included in the disc's bonus section. As with all Stones tours, it had its moments.
The concert, filmed in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 18, 1978, is in an indoor arena, rendering a tighter, more absorbing setting for the band than the handful of stadium shows (one of which your humble reviewer attended) they played. Richards is on fire on "Honky Tonk Women" and "Star Star." This is the first tour where Jagger strapped on an electric guitar. At this show, he also gets behind the piano during "Far Away Eyes," featuring fiddler Doug Kershaw, playing country gent. But then just before "Respectable," Jagger mouths off like a snotty teenager: "I'm afraid if the band's lacking energy it's because we spent all last night f***ing…"
"Love In Vain" sounds especially sweet with Wood sliding into home plate at the climatic break. Over the course of the night, Jagger, when he isn't putting the make on Wood, is at the center of the action with Richards and Wood anchoring the steam and Watts and Wyman gunning the engine. Digitally restored in high-definition and remastered in Cinema Surround Sound, Some Girls Live In Texas '78 carries a badge of historical significance that no Stones fan worth his weight in tumbling dice and satisfaction should go without. Even the ever critical, non-nostalgic Mick Jagger, in a recent video interview also featured on the disc, admits Some Girls and the tour that followed are highlights in the Stones' 50-year career.
~ Shawn Perry