The Rolling Stones

Let It Bleed

Nov 1969

1st generation tapes and layers are found, leading to a suitably ramshackle remaster

Classic Sixties Rock

With its first generation tapes remastered for the latest release this classic sounds as good as it deserves once more.

The original LPs have always sounded good rather than great – and the subsequent CD reissues in the late eighties in particular – open to some serious derision. But in the last few years first generation tapes have been found and given a careful transfer/mastering job by a trio of top engineers: Steve Rosenthal, Teri Landi and Bob Ludwig. The result reveals layers many Stones lovers didn’t know were there.

On hooky opener Gimme Shelter Jagger is brilliantly aided by Nicky Hopkins on piano and a larynx-busting backing vocal from Merry Clayton. Things stay audio-sweet with Love In Vain featuring Ry Cooder on mandolin, while the fiddle playing on their countrified piss take of Honky Tonk Women (Country Honk) sounds suitably ramshackle. And both bass and drums kick in with power on Live With Me as does the piano playing of Leon Russell. The acidic side finishers Live With Me and Let It Bleed have a fantastic rock n roll swagger that few could match.

The killer Midnight Rambler - a concert pleaser to this day – opens the B side and is followed by the sly You Got The Silver with Keith giving it some lovely neck. Monkey Man is one of their great, unheralded masterpieces - a snotty number perfectly placed before the glory of You Cant Always Get What You Want. This is the Stones at the peak of their powers, overlook it at your peril.