rolling stones exile on main street turd on the runCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Turd on the Run
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I boogied in the ballroom, I boogied in the dark/ Tie you hands, tie you feet, throw you to the sharks…

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: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Bill Plummer (upright bass)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-201

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
Mick Jagger’s pen is once again dipped in vitriol to express the resentment he feels toward a woman guilty of a thousand and one betrayals. The second verse is a masterpiece of its kind. Reading between the lines, it seems that the mistress of the unfortunate narrator has taken the diamonds, leaving her ex-lover, as her only parting gift, a dose of venereal disease…
His desire for somewhat drastic retribution is expressed over a boogiewoogie rock groove on amphetamines. Electric guitar, honky-tonk piano, harmonica in the ancient swamp blues tradition—the Stones alchemy is irresistible.

As was so often the case during the sessions that took place in the humid Nellcôte basement, “Turd on the Run” was recorded in pretty unusual circumstances. As a result of the repeated absences of Keith Richards (to look after his son Marlon) and Mick Jagger (who had just married Bianca), the other members of the group returned to their homes to await developments. This is precisely what Bill Wyman did, which explains why the upright bass that can be heard on “Turd on the Run”—like that on “Rip This Joint”—was recorded later by Bill Plummer at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles. This sonority has the effect of accentuating the Chicago blues/rockabilly vibe of the track already established by Keith’s efficient rhythm playing, most probably on his Gibson Les Paul (in open-G tuning)

Another guitar can be heard at 1:01, in all likelihood also played by Keith. Charlie Watts maintains an infernal tempo, making excellent use of the brushes, a legacy of his jazz influences. He seems utterly preoccupied with this hypnotic beat, and barely touches the rest of his Gretsch kit. Nicky Hopkins is dazzling, his piano playing demonstrating his incredible ability to embrace every different style. Finally, Mick Jagger divides his attention between his vocal line and the harmonica, revealing the real progress he had made on the instrument since the loss of the late lamented Brian, with a more secure, more inspired style of playing. It would probably be true to say that “Turd on the Run” is an underrated Stones track that deserves to be (re)discovered, if only for the amazing vibe it creates.