|1. Brown Sugar|
|3. Wild Horses|
|4. Can't You Hear Me Knocking|
|5. You Gotta Move|
|7. I Got The Blues|
|8. Sister Morphine|
|9. Dead Flowers|
|10. Moonlight Mile|
The Stones were also free from the sixties and all that "revolution" nonsense. The Stones could be their own kind of "cool" and millions ate it up.
Production values also changed. As a close listen to this record will show, stereophonic sound now had a presence in which the listener seemed to find himself in the midst of the instruments and musicians. This was exciting at the time and gave the listener a new sense of realism in the playing. Later in the seventies, this approach was driven so far that many records felt claustrophobic. The sound was so up close and precise that it became unreal. In the Stones' hands, however, the sound was tight but the feeling was loose and free.
The album opens with "Brown Sugar" and "Sway". Wonderful lyrics, good solos, rocking rhythm. Definitely forbidden subject matter. But this was all a part of the new era of freedom and frankness of the time. It was all about being "past all those hang ups".
"Wild Horses" is a touching, tender ballad that somehow manages to drip with masculinity. "Can't You Here Me Knocking" is perhaps the greatest lost Stones song. Perhaps it is all the drug references or because the instrumental section reminds many of Santana, but it is smart and tough and all cool. It is unjustly ignored.
"You Gotta Move" is a slide guitar blues song that seems inconsequential but you find yourself playing it in your head weeks later. "Bitch" is simply one of the Stones best with a growling guitar line, snapping drums and a tight horn section all trying to keep up with swaggering Jagger.
Things slow down with "I Got The Blues" and "Sister Morphine". Then the mood lightens up with the comical country song "Dead Flowers". Finally, we get 'Moonlight Mile". 'Moonlight Mile" is a wonderful romantic and gentle song that flows like a quiet river over the listener and slips out into the sea. It deserves repeated listening and the Stones themselves would try to rise again to the same level in other songs-but they never got it as perfect as they did here.
OK, I count 6 great cuts out of 10 strictly speaking. But even the lesser songs hold up and are memorable over thirty years later. This is the Rolling Stones at their best. It is a shame all some remember is the Andy Warhol "jeans" artwork. Sticky Fingers is smart, sexy and commanding. It helped make the summer of 1971 a good time to be alive.