Returning to the American concert scene after a three-year layoff, the Rolling Stones recorded GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! during a triumphant two-date stand at Madison Square Garden in late November 1969 that found B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner opening for them. Having amassed an impressive recorded output during their three years away from touring, the Stones peppered their sets with hits, including "Honky Tonk Women," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and "Street Fighting Man." Tipping their collective hats to Chuck Berry, the band also included covers of "Carol" and "Little Queenie" alongside more blues-influenced numbers such as "Stray Cat Blues" and "Love In Vain."
Having been a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, new guitarist Mick Taylor parlayed his experience into some impressive slide guitar work. The pièce-de-resistance of what is arguably the best live Rolling Stones recording is the eight-minute-plus reading of "Midnight Rambler." Between Mick Jagger's unearthly harmonica playing and the tight interplay between Taylor and Keith Richards, the sinister vibe emanating from this song was eerie, foreshadowing the tragedy that would occur at Altamont less than two weeks later. Observant fans will catch the cover's subtle visual reference to a certain lyric from Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" from BLONDE ON BLONDE.
Rolling Stones Photos
Introduced at the beginning of their second live album as "the greatest rock & roll band in the world," the Stones come off instead as perhaps the world's sloppiest. Recorded at Madison Square Garden on the first dates of the 1969 tour that would end at Altamont, Ya-Ya's
shows our heroes struggling manfully to get comfortable with a stadium-size PA system. Of the nine songs included here, only "Love in Vain," "Stray Cat Blues," and "Live with Me" come close to matching the fire of their studio versions; much of the time the band just sounds ragged and distracted. Still, given that it's the only official live document from the period in which Mick Taylor was the Stones' lead guitarist, Ya-Ya's
is a must-own for any die-hard Stones fan. --Dan Epstein