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Rolling Stones unreleased: If You Can’t Rock Me (alternate take)
*Click for MORE STONES UNRELEASED TRACKS
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Rolling Stones Mobile, Stargroves, Newbury, England, Apr. 10-15 1974
Guest musicians: Billy Preston (clavinet), Ray Cooper (congas)
*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:
Charlie Watts opens the Stones’ new album with a triple rap on his snare drum. “If You Can’t Rock Me” is essentially a classic rock number with a short incursion, of several bars’ duration, into a funkier style. The band cranks itself up, Jagger pushes his vocal cords to the limit, and the guitars are searching for the ultimate riff, but despite all this, the track has difficulty taking off. Keith Richards seems to take care of the two rhythm guitar parts himself, with Mick Taylor playing a number of solo interjections.
Billy Preston is on the clavinet, and uses a wah-wah pedal to emphasize the syncopation. On the drums, Charlie is not as effective as he had been in the presence of Jimmy Miller, and his playing is distinctly lacking in groove. This is all the more apparent in the funk-rock bridge (from 1:28), in which Keith performs a solo on distorted bass guitar.
Moreover, the listener will notice that there are actually two bass sounds, one “normal” and the other more metallic. It is probably Keith who takes care of both on his Fender Precision, Bill Wyman being either absent or not asked to play. The mixing buries the vocals beneath oversevere compression, eliminating too much expressivity from the performance.
The Stones give the impression of doing the job without a great deal of conviction. This is regrettable on an opening track, and doubly so on the first record to bear a Glimmer Twins production credit. (Ref. rolling stones if you can’t rock me alternate)