rolling stones crazy mama 1976Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Crazy Mama
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You can scandalize me/ Scorn my name/ You can steal my money/ And that don’t mean a doggone thing…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Rolling Stones Mobile, Rotterdam, Holland, Jan. 22-Feb. 9 1975; Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, March 29 1975; Casino, Montreux, Switzerland, Oct.-Nov. 1975
Guest musicians: Ollie Brown (percussion), Billy Preston (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
After funk, soul, and ballad, the Rolling Stones wrap up Black and Blue with a first-rate rock ’n’ roll number featuring a made-to-measure riff in order to go out with a bang. Like almost all the songs on the album, this one saw the light of day in the studio, as Jagger confirms: “We wrote that in the studio, too. All of it, my words and everything. It just ‘came’ to me.” And speaking of words, the lyrics of this song tell of a crazy mama wearing a ball and chain and wielding a sawed-off shotgun. A sort of Ma Barker revisited by the Stones… “Crazy Mama” is also the B-side of the single “Fool to Cry.”

The band initially worked on this song between January and February 1975 in Rotterdam with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but without achieving a satisfactory outcome. The base track that would be used for the various overdubs was laid down in Munich on March 29. Mick is apparently playing the rhythm guitar that opens the track. He is then answered by the riff master with another, very good guitar part. It also seems to be Keith who plays the exhilarating and highly successful slide guitar. Charlie attacks the beat with loud, chugging drums, his hi-hat half-open, and according to the “track identification chart” reproduced in the album booklet, Keith is on bass. This chart also has him on piano, which is less credible, especially as Billy Preston is present, helping out with the backing vocals.

The excellent Ollie E. Brown looks after percussion, notably the cowbells, of which great use is made on this album. Mick is magnificent, as he always is when he sings rock ’n’ roll, exhibiting an electrifying dynamism. Finally, there are guitar solos at 2:22 and in the coda from 3:30. These are superb in every way, with a hint of Nashville, but neither the sound (high-pitched, with heavy reverb), nor the playing style is Keith’s. In truth, this solo work is closer to Ron Wood’s style, although he is not mentioned in the liner notes. Furthermore, it seems possible that the guitar has been recorded at a slower speed in order to obtain its glitzy quality and rapid delivery when sped up. Either way, “Crazy Mama” is an excellent Stones rock track.