I’ll admit it. I tried like hell to delay this write up until I got all the way through the Some Girls reissue. First there was the reissue of Exile, and then the reissue of Goat’s Head, and then the reissue of the footage, beginning and ending with the reissue of Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones. The Stones had survived the Hell’s Angels debacle at Altamont, withstood an onslaught of music and non-music-related drama and showed the USA what was to come over the next three decades as the Stones ripped though a set of classics including everything from ‘Brown Sugar’ to ‘Street Fighting Man’.
What was so special about Ladies and Gentlemen… was what the Stones were representing at that moment. Everyone was pissed off, even Charlie Watts. Tax evasion in England, a drug saga partially fabricated in France, and a yearlong tour though the USA that included a week long stay at Hugh Hefner’s place in Chicago and many other nights worth mentioning at another point down the line. They were putting the finishing touches on Exile, had no idea what it meant and no idea what a double LP could do. But they pushed on through. And what came out of it? The Exile LP that they mastered in LA, Goat’s Head, Sticky Fingers, Exile outtakes, etc.
Watching Some Girls – Live in Texas ’78 is really interesting. It’s a very similar set as Ladies and Gentlemen at the very core, yet played SO differently. At the same time, the juxtaposition of the two shows is unbelievable and the initial listen is worth the time on its own. Mick sells himself wholeheartedly to the lyrics, while Keith shows the world exactly how to lay down a five string solo. What really grabs me about this set is that it is literally 2/3s of the Ladies and Gentlemen set, but confident, horn free and very bluesy – Texas Stones at its best. Perhaps the most interesting bit of it all is that both films were shot in Fort Wort within 6 years of each other, essentially meaning that a massive piece of Stones history lay in Dallas-Fort Worth, a piece of land that was quite uncomfortable for the Stones for most of the 70s. And this iteration of the Stones to me is really where they became the Stones that we know today. One last show for the die-hards in a smaller club – they were playing an arena tour at the time of this show – in fact they played this show in Fort Worth under the guise of The London Green Shoed Cowboys. Of course, no one fell for these smoke and mirrors – everyone knew who The London Green Shoed Cowboys really were. Some Girls to me was the Stones coming of age in the ’70s, embracing disco, embracing funk, embracing their grandiose image – and they capitalize upon it the best of ways, even bringing back the Chuck Berry tracks that got them going and attracted Charlie Watt to Mick and Keef so very long ago.
What I knew about Ladies and Gentlemen was that it was THE live show encompassing Exile and everything that the record meant. What has always meant a lot to me, is what Some Girls meant as a record to the Stones. My mom told me about Goat’s Head, but it was really Some Girls that made a huge statement. And she always made sure I knew that. It said, “We’re here. We ain’t going fucking anywhere. And you better get used to it”. Some Girls was the record that I played for all of my best friends in college… yes they had heard Sticky Fingers, but it was for singles. Some Girls is the record that my close friends still reference to this day – Rolling Stones record. ‘Miss You’, ‘Respectable’, ‘When the Whip Comes Down’, ‘Beast of Burden’, etc.
The bottom line is that you haven’t really heard Ladies and Gentlemen… or Some Girls – Live in Texas ’78 until you’ve heard the other. These are both incredible pieces of rock and roll history and both illustrate a time in the USA where rock and roll had its own agenda and there wasn’t anything getting in the way. Both shows were sold out… small shows… Fort Worth… Mick and Keef in their glory… Ronnie Wood joining the party…. A truly special time in rock and roll.
We believe that time is upon us again. Rock and Roll is alive and well and the anniversary of Some Girls couldn’t have come at a better time.
Some Girls – Live in Texas ’78 – 4.5 Stars
- Mick Grady