Album #107 – Beggars Banquet

Album #107

Album #107

It’s not always the case that a great and legendary record label takes its name from a legendary album. One of my favorite record labels, Beggars Banquet Records, probably took its name from this album. They also own 4AD and Vertigo Records, which are also two good record labels. Not only is the name of this album influential but its sound is influential too. This album marks the start of my favourite era in The Rolling Stones’ career. From 1968 until 1972, the Stones made one great album after another. They helped popularize country-influenced rock and roots music. They collaborated with many different musicians including Micky Hopkins, Ry Cooder and Billy Preston. The songs are some of the best Jagger and Richards have ever written. The sound of those albums are legendary and very influential. This album marks that starting point. Two of the Stones’ most well known songs, Street Fighting Man and Sympathy For The Devil, are on this album. But, the album tracks are just as good. Salt Of The Earth is the album’s closing track and is a very uplifting gospel-tinged song. I first heard the song shortly after Sept.11th when Jagger and Richards performed the song with Paul Shaffer and members of his band, the CBS Orchestra, at The Concert For New York which was organized by Paul McCartney. The chorus seems to celebrate the everyday heroes and you could sense the emotion in the room when Jagger said those words. They felt like he was singing to them and so did I. It was one of the emotional points of that concert for me. They also explore country-rock on this album for the first time. Between 1968 and 1972, the Stones brought country rock to the mainstream and influenced countless alt-country artists including the late, great Gram Parsons. No Expectations is the track off this album that showcases best this sound. Blues is also explored on this album. The Stones’ started off as a Blues group but they never really touched the roots of acoustic blues until this period. Songs such as Stray Cat Blues and Factory Girl clearly show the blues sound they would experiment with during this period. The album’s two biggest songs show that The Stones’ were still doing it better than The Fab Four. Every track off this album is a winner. I have this album in my collection and I am so glad I do. This album started something special. The Stones would continue to make great music during this period and I am so glad that these four albums are all on the list. Other highlights include: Dear Doctor (Mick actually does a funny impression of an old female patient!!! LOL), Parachute Woman and Prodigal Son. Overall, I give this album 5.5 out of 5!!!!

Next: Traffic’s self-titled second album (featuring Steve Winwood!!!)

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