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Some detailed info behind the recording of SCARLET by Martin Elliott, author of the books “Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1989” (1990), “The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002” (2002) and “The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2012” (2012), currently working on a new updated version. By the way, don’t forget to follow Martin on his THE ROLLING STONES SESSIONS page on Facebook/Twitter at:
“SCARLET – I thought I posted but will try again. These are unedited notes compiled today with pre-existing text already posted.
It was at this time, on 4 October 1974 that at Ron Wood’s Wick home studio in London, along with Ric Grech (Traffic’s bassist), Bruce Rowland (Fairport Convention’s drummer), Ian Stewart and Jimmy Page, a small session evolved which worked on the song Scarlet. Jimmy worked on a riff around Keith’s guitar part. This was a Jagger/Richards song described by Jimmy that was in the mould of folk but featuring reggae style guitars. Jimmy thought it was particularly good, something you would get on Bob Dylan’s BLONDE ON BLONDE album and would have made a good B-side. The following evening, Keith Richards went with Jimmy to Island Studio No. 2 for guitar overdubs and transfer from eight to 16-track. The tapes also contain a long unavailable jam with Stu, Jimmy and ‘Keef’. Soon after, the tapes were taken to Switzerland by Keith where they were listened to and Keith described the content as something from a possible Page solo album project. Scarlet Lilith Eleida was the then three years old daughter of Jimmy with his partner Charlotte Martin. In September 2020, the track became a stretched addition to a GOATS HEAD SOUP re-issue since the album had been released over a year before Scarlet was recorded. However, it was a welcome and anticipated addition which while unheard had gained some folklore credibility over the years by fans. Scarlet was given a fresh coat of paint by Mick in spring 2020 by overdubbing vocals, an acoustic guitar and some percussion.
It was released as a download on 22 July following a preview with a brief Mick and Jimmy Page interview on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast programme. The 2020 recording has a short and lively staccato guitar intro before the percussion and vocals enter. It develops into a catchy refrain followed by the first lead break from Jimmy which holds interest. However, unlike the mechanisations behind Criss Cross which integrate into the era the overlying stratosphere of Scarlet is modernistic and somewhat forced. It contains some cuts, splicing and pasting to lengthen the track as the original tape box testifies with a timing of 3.05. The tape notes state the Cockroaches as the artists which was a much-used studio anonymity tactic. Many of the bonus out-takes from the re-issue of GOATS HEAD are contemporary instrumentals and re-mixes and Scarlet may have been best served in that ilk.”