Tuesday, September 16, 2014

That Ain't Easy: the Stones Shake Their Hips

Recorded in July and October 1970, December 1971 and March 1972 among the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Mick Jagger's residence in Newbury, England, Olympic Sound Studios in London, and Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles—not at the fabled 1971 sessions at Keith Richards' rented home in Villefranche-sur-mer, in southern France—this deceptively simple cover of Slim Harpo's 1966 Excello single still astonishes. As cool as Jagger's reverb-soaked vocal, Richards and Mick Taylor's rockabilly serpentine playing, and Bill Wyman's funky walking bass are, it's Charlie Watt's deft playing that continues to surprise me. I've listened to this song a thousand times, and those four isolated snare shots seem to land on a slightly different beat each time, an aural illusion. Or voodoo. Or Charlie being Charlie.


Here's some cool "Shake Your Hips" rehearsal footage from 1972.


EDIT: according to James "The Hound" Marshall, the four snare shots were played by producer Jimmy Miller, not Watts, and were overdubbed in Los Angeles. As Marshall said, the Stones were great at sounding spontaneous.

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