rolling stones goats head soup can you hear the music 1973Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Can You Hear the Music
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When you hear the music trouble disappear/ When you hear the music ringin’ in your ears…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Dynamic Sounds Studios Kingston Jamaica, Nov. 25-Dec. 21 1972; Island Recording Studios, London, England, June 1973
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Jim Horn (flute), Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jimmy Miller & Pascal (percussion)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The message conveyed by the Glimmer Twins in this song is universal:
music possesses a magic that can soothe the soul, heal many an ill, and even
transcend the metaphysical question. Sometimes I wonder why we’re here,
but I don’t care
, sings Jagger, immediately adding: When I hear the
drummer, get me in the groove/When I hear the guitar, make me wanna
. In short, When you hear the music, trouble disappear…
This fine homage to music is also the most complex track on Goats
Head Soup
in terms of its instrumentation. It opens with an atmospheric
intro featuring flute, percussion, and bells. This may have been intended as
an allusion to the late Brian Jones, who played a leading role in crafting the
Stones’ sound during the second half of the sixties. But without their
multiinstrumentalist “blond angel,” the Stones could be said to have lost their
way a little on this track.
“Can You Hear the Music” is a strange mix of diverse sonorities
reminiscent of the musical arrangements on Their Satanic Majesties
. The Stones’ psychedelic frenzy may have been perfectly
legitimate in 1967, but in 1973 it fails to make a mark on a disc that has
ended up becoming overly heterogeneous. Poor Jimmy Miller has not really
succeeded in bringing the Stones back up to scratch as he did on Beggars
, and as a result the band lacks direction. In the intro, Pascal creates
pleasing tinkling sonorities on the triangle and finger cymbals, while Jim
Horn plays an oriental flute that recalls The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (the
album recorded by Brian Jones in 1968) against a background of congas
with heavy reverb, played by Rebop. Keith Richards then enters with a
pretty unmistakable guitar sound, obtained almost certainly using a wahwah
pedal and Leslie speaker. He is followed by Nicky Hopkins, who plays
piano arpeggios that sound as if they could have been lifted from a
relaxation tape, before being joined by Charlie Watts on drums and Bill
Wyman on bass, the only elements on the track that are truly solid and
justified. Even Mick Taylor has trouble finding his rightful place, playing a
very distorted lead guitar that is recessed in the mix, and if truth be told, not
exactly indispensable. As for Mick Jagger, he seems to be the only member
of the band who believes in his message.

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