110 – Beggars Banquet

110 – Beggars Banquet

The Rolling Stones


In embarking on this 1001 albums journey, I was mindful of the great Stones v Beatles debate.  However as a single man, Christmases used to consist of my listening to all 16 Beatles studio albums in order  so the ‘great debate’ was never on my horizon.  It may be the great debate is beginning in my mind with Beggars Banquet.

Just for the sake of grammar, there appears to be no apostrophe in the Beggars bit, so that is strange.  However, the album itself is variously described as The Rolling Stones’ ‘coming of age’ by various long term collaborators of The Stones.  I would describe the style of the music as ‘Blues Rock’ and their hook up with Jimmy Miller as Producer put The Stones at the forefront of fantastic Delta Blues rock/pop music for the next five years, that is to include the equally magnificent ‘Exile on Main Street’.  Rolling Stones

The album cover was originally to feature a toilet seat but this was deemed a bit too controversial by the record companies involved in the distribution so a rather bland cover, featuring the invitation to the Banquet emerged.

This album followed the controversy of the ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’, a psychedelic rock concept album that did not really go down very well as it drew unfavourable comparisons to “Sgt. Pepper’s”.

Still back in the driving seat, Jagger and Richards hit their straps to full effect, by stripping everything back.  ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is magnificent, rising from an innocuous conga & maracas led introduction and building in layers of vocals, honky tonk piano and lyrics to a climactic conclusion.  Any song written by ‘Lucifer’ with Jesus Christ, Anastasia and the Kennedys is going to grab anyone’s attention.  The next outstanding song for me is Jigsaw Puzzle, which does have a Dylanesque feel to it but still shambles on wonderfully, with electric and slide guitars.

Unbelievably,  I brush over the now iconic ‘Street Fighting Man’ to mention next ‘Stray Cat Blues’, which I absolutely love.  I just can’t get Jagger strutting away to this blues riff classic out of my head.   Stolen in style from the Velvet Underground’s Heroin, it tells the tale of lust for a fifteen year old groupie, and it is pure lyrics and outrageous blues/rock gold.

You say you’ve got a friend, that she’s wilder than you
Why don’t you bring her upstairs?
If she’s so wild, then she can join in too

It’s no hanging matter
It’s no capital crime

Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
Oh yeah, don’t you scratch like that
Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
I bet your mama don’t know you can bite like that
I bet she never saw you scratch my back

Released – 1968

Favourite Tracks – Jigsaw Puzzle, Stray Cat Blues

Rating – 9.35 (better than Revolver, only just!)

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