“I really like girls an awful lot,” Mick Jagger confided to Rolling Stone in 1978. “And I don’t think I’d say anything really nasty about any of them.” And yet the eternal kick of Some Girls is that Mick has a deliciously nasty word or two for everybody. Just when the Stones seemed to be fading away, they shadoobied back to life with some of their toughest songs ever: the punk sleaze of “Shattered,” the soulful Keithness of “Beast of Burden,” the late-night-disco desolation of the chart-topping “Miss You.” The result was the Rolling Stones’ funniest, trashiest, bitchiest LP – an all-time classic that remains their biggest-selling record.
So how do you improve an album like this? How about making it twice as long? This edition has 12 outtakes, most of which have been hoarded on bootlegs by Stones fanatics for years. Some of the bonus tracks are nearly as hot as the originals; certainly they live up to the Some Girls spirit, from the cheeky piano lament “Petrol Blues” to Keith Richards‘ tender Nashville cover “We Had It All.”
The Some Girls sessions were famously productive – mostly just the five Stones and engineer Chris Kimsey holed up in a Paris studio cutting dozens of songs. Some of the leftovers landed on later albums – see “Hang Fire” or “Black Limousine,” both of which resurfaced on Tattoo You – while others were unfinished until now. The outtakes get refurbished with guitar overdubs and Mick’s new vocals. But as on last year’s Exile on Main St. reissue, the touch-ups usually improve bootleg versions – see “No Spare Parts,” a twang-soul truck-stop reverie that finally gets the full-on Mick vocal it always deserved.
The best find is “Do You Think I Really Care,” a countrified ramble through New York nightlife driven by Ronnie Wood’s pedal steel and Charlie Watts’ drums. Mick chases an erotic mirage all over the city, from the D train to Max’s Kansas City. Who else but the Stones could blow off a song this great?
“Claudine” is one of their most notorious lost tunes, a Chuck Berry-style rocker lampooning the Claudine Longet/ Spider Sabich scandal. Over ragged guitars, Mick dishes about a Vegas singer who shot her Olympic-skier boyfriend. It might be a libel lawyer’s cream dream (“Blood in the chalet, blood in the snow/She washed her hands of the whole damn show”), but it holds up as a funny satire of tawdry American celebrity – a condition the Stones knew well by this point.
You can hear Mick and Keith rediscover their Glimmer Twins chemistry, whether it’s a blues groove like “When You’re Gone” or a romp through the rockabilly chestnut “Tallahassee Lassie.” (And this is just a taste of the treasures still in the vault – where the hell is “Fiji Jim”?) The whole package catches the Stones on a roll, thriving on the punk and funk energy in the air, with Mick driving the music and playing more guitar than ever. It’s the ultimate version of the album that invented the Stones we’ve known ever since: mean, vital, gloriously unrepentant.