Exile on Main Street (1972)

1.Rocks Off 2.Rip This Joint 3.Shake Your Hips 4.Casino Boogie 5.Tumbling Dice 6.Sweet Virginia 7.Torn and Frayed 8.Sweet Black Angel 9.Loving Cup 10.Happy 11.Turd on the Run 12.Ventilator Blues 13.I Just Want To See His Face 14.Let it Loose 15.All Down the Line 16.Stop Breaking Down 17.Shine A Light 18.Soul Survivor -Bonus Disc 2008 Release- 1. Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren) 2. Plundered My Soul 3. I'm Not Signifying 4. Follow the River 5. Dancing in the Light 6. So Divine (Aladdin Story) 7. Loving Cup 8. Soul Survivor 9. Good Time Women 10.Title 5


Widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, Rolling Stones album of all time. A "double album" that features the band experimenting with just about anything and everything. What's a bit odd about this album's alure is that they don't seem to be trying very hard. Of course, that might be why it ironically works so well. It's a bit reminiscent of Bob Dylan's "The Basement Tapes" or Bruce Springsteen's "Pete Seeger Sessions". For the most part, this album seems to be one big "party" with the band jamming with various musicians in any style that you can imagine. Of course, having said as much could mean this could have turned out to be a giant mess, but from the opening riff of the first song Rocks Off, though the entire selection, the band pulls out one great song after another.

Ironically, there's not many commercial hits here. Tumbling Dice is probably the one song that everyone knows (it's been done by a lot of other artists since) and Keith Richards' Happy is probably his best known song with the band, but after that is basically a hodge-podge of catchy, playful, tunes. Of course, the Stones being the Stones, they're not exactly choir boys with many of the topics, nor even some of titles themselves (i.e. Turd on the Run), but unlike the predecessor Sticky Fingers, this album just sounds more light.

The (what is becoming) obligatory Country song Sweet Virginia is an incredibly fun sing-along and tunes such as Rip This Joint and Ventilator Blues will have you hitting the "repeat" button on your CD player. The band even journey into some beautiful gospel tunes such as I Just Want To See His Face and the fan fave Shine a Light. Again, they seem to attack every style here with "stones-like" precision. As the album passes the halfway point, the songs seem to lose a bit of their spontaneity and become more "focused" so those songs aren't as well known, but they're equally as impressive.

If you don't feel this is the best Stones album out there, it's still probably the one you would want with you if you were on a desert island and you could only grab one from your collection.

NOTE: In 2008, a bonus edition was released with some extra, left off cuts. Some are very strong (Plundered My Soul) and some are a bit out of place because they were reworked and take away from the overall feel (Follow the River). It doesn't make the package necessarily better, but it does make a nice addition to a great set.

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