In April 2020, weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rolling Stones released “Living in a Ghost Town”, with lyrics and video apropos of the time. The song actually came out of a 2019 recording session, and the band finished it off remotely when it became more relevant than they could have anticipated. The song also represented the first new, original song the Stones recorded since 2012.
While in lockdown, the Stones finished off work on the re-release of 1973’s Goats Head Soup. The update featured three previously unreleased songs including “Criss Cross”. A very sexy new video was made for the song’s release, based on shoots that director Diana Kunst had done over a period of a few years with Spanish model/actress Marina Ontanaya.
And on April 13th, Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl released “Easy Sleazy”, a hard rocking look back at lockdown – definitely from the perspective of guys who haven’t had it too bad. Let’s pray the whole world will feel ready to join Mick’s and Dave’s upbeat spirit soon.
The Rolling Stones’ deluxe reissue of Goats Head Soup has been out for a few weeks. The album was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica in late-1972, though an article in the magazine Rolling Stone notes, “Jagger jokes that the Stones may be the only band to make an album in Jamaica with ‘not the slightest influence of reggae on any of the tracks.'”
The most notable songs from the reggaeless original album were “Angie” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, and an instrumental version of the latter is included on the deluxe reissue. Listen to the familiar original, with its timely first verse, and then the instrumental version. And count the “Doo Doo”s. The song title has five, but to my ear they clearly come in sixes.
While the Stones are re-issuing, legendary Kingston band Toots and the Maytals released a brand new album, Got to Be Tough. The band is credited with introducing the term reggae to the world with their 1968 song “Do the Reggay”.
Rolling Stone has an article on Toots Hibbert in this month’s issue, based on a December 2019 interview. Sad to say that just the other day, though, Hibbert was hospitalized – an apparent COVID-19 victim. Listen to the title track from the new album, to the song that gave reggae it’s name, and pray for Toots.