Tattoo You (1981)


 
1.Start Me Up 2.Hang Fire 3.Slave 4.Little T&A 5.Black Limousine 6.Neighbors 7.Worried About You 8.Tops 9.Heaven 10.No Use in Crying 11.Waiting on a Friend

 

By the time this album came out, people were beginning to wonder just how long these guys were going to be around. They had been together, it seemed like, forever, and unlike many of their counterparts that were still producing music, this band never took one of those extended "vacations" from each other. They continued to churn out an album every year or so - a bit surprising with all of the personal and physical turmoil these guys inflicted on themselves.

It might have been a surprise that this was not just "another" album. On the contrary. It remains, if not their best, definitely the most known album of their career. Since it had been 17 years since their debut, they were now making just as many new fans as they had old fans. It certainly didn't hurt that they embarked on one of the grandest worldwide tours known to mankind at the time. And to think that these guys were (gulp) in their forties!

If you wanted to be picky, you could make the argument that this album was mostly a collection of older songs, that for whatever reason, never saw the light of day. It really doesn't matter. If they never had revealed that, no one would have ever known. The music drifts a bit away from the "dance" sound that they had been experimenting with, and goes for a more "soulful" feel that many of the African-American community embraced wholeheartedly. With songs like Slave, Tops, Waiting on a Friend and the beautiful Worried about You, they seem to float effortlessly throughout these memorable tunes that, even though sound a bit monotonous, never go on longer than necessary. Sonny Rollins' saxophone graces many of the songs so well, that it's almost hard to remember that this instrument isn't a "normal" part of the band's music. It's just a groovy feeling.

They haven't lost their bite, either. Start Me Up has become the standard "starting" song for just about anything including the Stones, or not including the Stones (i.e. sporting events, etc.). This song, while great, became a little tiresome hearing it everywhere in the next quarter century. Neighbors and Hang Fire have a good bite to them, the latter featuring the boys in beautiful Stones-like three part falsetto harmony. Keith get's pretty nasty on his rollicking Little T&A. It's another tune that seems to repeat itself throughout, yet never get old. The lyrics would never past most censors, but they're hard to understand. It's a great song. It's a great album.


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