The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street (1972)

I've been on this album-a-day trip for a couple months now, figured I needed to get Exile in here at some point.  It's my favorite Stones album (though obviously Sticky Fingers is pretty damn close), and among my favorite albums, period. Certainly something I've been playing steadily for decades without it ever wearing on me.

So why don't I feel pumped up to say anything about it? Maybe the classic rock canon is just boring at this point. What's left to say about Exile? Nothing, really. So just a few random thoughts.

1. Best Mick line:  "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me."  ("Rocks Off")

2. Best Keef line:  "I always took candy from strangers."  ("Happy")

3. The copy I originally owned had really muddy sound, which kept me from playing it as often as I might have otherwise done. More recent remasters are much cleaner. Purists may like the swampy, dark production of the original as best serving the bluesy, decadent nature of the music, but for me, a little more treble goes a long way.

4. "Tumbling Dice" is my favorite Stones song, bar none. I mean, there are plenty of Stones songs that are arguably as great, but this is the one song I can play over and over and still want to hear just one more time.

5. Liz Phair has famously said her classic Exile in Guyville album is sort of a song-for-song response to the Stones album, at least in terms of general sound and theme. I've thought about testing that out by mixing the two together, but have never gotten around to that. It's a project for a rainy day.

6. Like almost every double album ever (except maybe Quadrophenia), it's not too hard to imagine cutting a few tracks to make it an absolutely perfect single album. Kind of a moot point in the digital age when you can just skip around, but if I were to re-cut this, I could do without "Casino Boogie" and "Ventilator Blues."

7.  The live Stones around this time, with Mick Taylor on slide guitar, were probably the best live band, ever. Their 1973 Brussels Affair has long been my favorite bootleg, later made available (depending where you live) as an official vault release. You need it.

Here's "Tumbling Dice" live '72:
... and, about 40 years later, "Rocks Off":