Rolling Stones songs: Back of My Hand
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
I see dreams, I see visions/ Images I don’t understand…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Studio France, West Indies, Nov- 2004; Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA, March 7-9 & June 6-28 2005
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Back of My Hand” is a blues by Mick Jagger that came to him during the
recording of A Bigger Bang. Keith remembers, “I sleep downstairs and the
studio is upstairs. One night I thought I was hearing this old Muddy Waters
track I didn’t know, but it turned out to be Mick working on a slide part for
‘Back of My Hand.’”
In actual fact, “Back of My Hand” belongs to a blues tradition that goes back
way beyond Muddy Waters or Willie Dixon. It has the heavy, sluggish atmosphere
of founding fathers, such as Leadbelly and Bukka White, who had felt the iron
discipline of the penitentiaries. It also contains one of the stock blues characters:
the preacher man, in this case a street-corner preacher who announces that
trouble’s a comin’ and who hears a mournful melody that he can read
like the back of his hand.
This is the first time Mick Jagger has played slide, and the results are
surprising. He would later say that he used a Sears Silvertone 1457 bought
for barely $44 and tuned in open G. Keith Richards’s confusion becomes
more comprehensible when one realizes, listening to this track, that Jagger
sounds almost like Muddy Waters. “He’s always been a good, smooth
acoustic player, but the electric seemed like an untamed beast for him until
this year. When I heard him this time I thought, ‘My God! The boy’s finally
got it.’” This album, and above all the exceptional state of affairs with the
Glimmer Twins recording as a duo, forced Mick to reveal his hand as a
talented multi-instrumentalist. For he also, on this track, plays bass—
although that’s not particularly audible—maracas (doubled), sings, and
plays the blues harmonica, whose sonority calls to mind Little Walter. Keith
would later regret that they did not record him at Chess Studios in Chicago
in 1964! Here, Keith accompanies him on rhythm, playing with
considerable subtlety and beauty, and Charlie keeps it as simple as possible
by confining himself to the bass drum.
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