rolling stones exile on main street I just want to see his faceCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: I Just Want to See His Face
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Sometimes you ain’t got nobody and you want somebody to love…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Rolling Stones Mobile, Nellcote, France, Jun.-Nov. 1971; Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, USA, Dec. 1971-March 1972; RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA, March 1972
Guest musicians: Bill Plummer (bass), Jimmy Miller (percussion), Clydie King, Vanetta Fields and Jesse Kirkland (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“I Just Want to See His Face” begins as a fade-in at the end of “Ventilator
Blues,” a song with a very different feel. This track was actually the result
of a jam session involving Mick Jagger, Mick Taylor, and Charlie Watts in
the Nellcôte basement. The Stones singer improvised the words as the
number developed: Sometimes you feel like trouble, sometimes you feel
down/Let this music relax your mind
, he sings in the first verse. During the
course of the song, the only remedy for this melancholy seems to reside in
the quest for Jesus. Hence the title, which is repeated over and over again at
the end of the song: You just want to see his face.
This improvisation, which lasts for almost three minutes, has a gospel
feel, but is also evocative of some kind of voodoo ritual…

The Wurlitzer electric piano—which Mick Jagger would probably have
sung to—may originally have been played (improvised) by Keith Richards,
before being replaced later by a part performed by Bobby Whitlock, who is
nevertheless not credited on the album cover. This, at least, is what
Whitlock claims in an interview with Bill Janovitz: “There were two songs
I was playing on, one of them was about: (starts singing) ‘I don’t want to
talk about Jesus/I just wanna see his face.’… that happened in Olympic
Studios… I was in England.” If this session indeed took place, it can only
have been in November, before the Stones flew off to Los Angeles.
“I Just Want to See His Face” is the only number on the album without
guitar. It is also the only one to have an electric bass part played by Mick
Taylor as well as an upright bass part played by Bill Plummer, who happily
incorporates jazz patterns akin to those of the great Charlie Mingus. Charlie
Watts plays his toms with restraint while marking the beat on his hi-hat and
bass drum. Jimmy Miller, meanwhile, plays an African conga-type
percussion instrument. Mick Jagger, who mumbles rather than sings his
lyrics, is almost certainly on tambourine, and is surrounded by the superb
backing vocals of Venetta Fields, Clydie King, and Jesse Kirkland, who
lend the track such a spiritual feel. It is almost certain that Mick did not do
any voice overdubs in Los Angeles, as he did for most of the other songs,
because his performance sounds very live.

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