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FANS ALBUM REVIEWS
Nineteen Reviews - Overall Average Rating - 9.76 Tongues
(We are accepting fan reviews for this album once again for a limited time)
by Timothy Getz
January 24, 2013
While Stones fans could debate best album till the cows come home, we have one thing in common: The boys dropped the bomb in 1968. Forget the best song argument, as well. Something--quite possibly Bob and the Band's Basement Tapes--spurred an instant revolution we are trying to keep up with now, 45 years later.
"No Expectations" flows the best with Beggars Banquet. Aside from the "pearls before swine," this tune holds no biblical significance like the album's other big guns do. In the same vein, "Factory Girl" makes a Celtic excursion without which we would not think so highly of 1968.
Drink to the hardworking people--and no matter what anyone else says, Keith is not joking.
To listen to some sound clips from BEGGARS BANQUET or to buy the CD, click on: Beggars Banquet (Remastered)
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by Matt P.
February 20, 2010
Beggar's Banquet began the Stones' height of creativity and the band's high point, which lasted from 1968 until 1972 with the release of Exile On Main St. This was also the band's first album produced by Jimmy Miller. He was by far their best producer, and knew how to make everyone work together and produce beautiful music. This album was also the Stones' break from the orchestrated and elaborate psychedelia that marked Their Satanic Majesties Request to the blues and the roots of rock music, which lay in American country.
The album starts off with one of Rolling Stones' five best songs recorded, 'Sympathy for the Devil'. This song shattered the love and peace that dominated the ideas of the 60s counterculture and introduced the concept of examining the other side of love and peace, which was destruction and war. Although many claim that the song was about devil worship, it was about how man has become defined by his inhumanity. This song was a classic and is still relevant to this day. The rest of the song draws its roots from the blues and gospel. 'No Expectations' is a great song about lost love, and Brian Jones plays an excellent slide guitar here. 'Dear Doctor' is a good but forgettable song, but Mick Jagger plays an unforgettable harp. 'Parachute Woman' is a great song, but it's too short. 'Jigsaw Puzzle' a good song, but I think that Mick's vocals are bad and Brian's slide is out of touch with the essence of the song and is not really part of it. This really is a representation of his growing alienation from the rest of the band.
by Travellin' Man
December 1, 2009
The Banquet starts out in perfect form as, 'Sympathy For The Devil', gives us a stunning taste of musical evil from the original "Bad Boys" of Rock And Roll. Keith Richards' sinister sounding lead guitar licks are that of a manic, slashing, demon, and Jagger's vocals are convincingly "Satanic". The song's lyrics are among the very best in Rock history. A Stones classic which was so convincingly evil in theme and execution, it is greatly responsible for perpetuating the myth that the boys were indeed pure evil themselves!
'No Expectations', is "perfectly sad" with Brian Jones' giving his last truly great performance on a Stones record, expertly conveying his own emotional state via the slide guitar. Slow, full, sad, and beautiful, is this song about a rich man turned poor, who sadly seeks to leave on a train while his lady love has already left him, "packing his peace of mind", along with the rest her luggage. Who can't relate to that bluesy feeling if you have lived more decades than one? Keith's acoustic is sublime, as are the lyrics and Jagger's delivery on lead vocal. Nicky Hopkins bittersweet piano is the icing on the cake of a perfect Stones Blues. 'Dear Doctor' is meant to be comic relief after two songs of an extremely dark nature. The Stones have previously sought to scare us and then make us cry. "Now it's time to make them laugh", I suppose was the thinking. Unfortunately it's the rather boring, yet chaotic, arrangement which is the only thing laughable. The song is a "miss", and sounds like it was hastily thought out in less than an hour's time. It's not terrible. It just isn't good. Jagger's attempt at a Southern accent is more stupid and annoying than funny here.
'Parachute Woman' is a sexy, blues style baby which is good but barely
gets going before it's over. It barely tops the two minute mark. Too bad it was not worked
into a full song. 'Jigsaw Puzzle', is interesting in the way the lyrics describe the
members of the band, but the music never really pleases the senses in true Stones fashion.
Where Brian's slide on 'No Expectations' was rich, and full of human emotion, his slide on
this song lacks human emotion of any kind and is thin and aimless. Jagger sings in a
fruitless new montone. As the song gets faster and faster it simply gets more tense and
nervous. The effect is not pleasurable. Whereas 'Paracute Woman' was too short, this song
is about two minutes too long.
'Street Fighting Man' is a classic for good reason. A political song with strong hints at the idea of a needed revolution, recorded in a unique style (in part by using a tiny, cheap cassette recorder) even for the Stones. The lyrics are smart and aimed at the angst of youth, and the music rocks. Jagger's noteless singing works here because there is real emotion in the vocals. 'Prodigal Son', is an uptempo acoustic which grew on me and Jagger does get credit for singing on this album in a variety of pitchs and styles. 'Stray Cat Blues', is wild lust. Disturbing that the lust is for a far too young teenager. The music displays the unbridled sex and yearning to great effect, however.
'Factory Girl' lacks in interesting lyrics but the bongos, fiddle, and
acoustic make for a pleasant enough listen. 'Salt Of The Earth', has some very interesting
lyrics as Jagger and Richards give an appreciative nod in the direction of the common,
hard working man. A good way to end this overall fine album. The Watts Street Choir is
used for backing vocals and the song has an Exile feel partly for that reason.
Shades of things to come in '72, on this song, and album, released in '68.
Beggars Banquet is a great Stones album no Rock or Blues fan should ignore, yet a few of the songs fall short of the mark. It certainly starts out in extraordinary fashion, with 'Sympathy', and 'No Expectations', but there are one too many forgettable moments to rate this album a ten. Still, if you don't have this album in your collection you need to remedy that situation today.
by Darius Henry
November 25, 2009
Beggars Banquet is one of my favorite albums of all time. Though its not the Stones best album, which would go to Sticky Fingers, it is certainly one of those albums that I love playing a lot. Almost every song on here is nothing short of pure greatness. Maybe Im a sucker for acoustic music, but there is something about this album that just grabs me everytime I listen to it.
This album starts off with one of the greatest songs of all time, Sympathy for the Devil. Great lyrics about the Devil's point of view. Great guitar, great African drumming and percussion, great piano chords, and one of the greatest usages of back-up vocals. Man, you just cant ask for a better song than this one. Listening to this song is what got me to be a Stones fan in a first place. The next song, No Expectation, is one of the most beautiful songs the Stones have ever done. Great Blues song about loneness. At least it felts this way when you do listen to this song. Great piano and great sliding guitar work by Brian Jones. Dear Doctor is another great Country song. It sounds like a cover song, but it isnt. Great song about a broken hearted man. Parachute Woman is a great Blues song. A little bit rawer than the rest of the songs, but still a great song. Love the harmonica and the guitar work on this song. The next song, Jigsaws Puzzle, is one of my favorite songs on this album. Great Dylan-based song about a person around weirdos. Love the guitar work and great synthesizer.
Street Fighting Man is a great acoustic song. Great politics song. Surprisingly, there is no electric guitar in this song. I always felt that Jumpin Jack Flash shouldve been on this album. It suits this album more. But still this one is one of the hardest songs on this album. Love Jaggers vocal. Prodigal Son is a great cover tune written by Reverend Robert Wilkins. Great Blues song. Love the guitar on here. Stray Cat Blues is possibly my least favorite song on this album. Many fans love it. Me, personally, Ive never like this song as much as the others. I always find this song one of the Stones most overrated songs of all time. I always felt it ruins the mood of this album. But thats just me. Factory Girl is a great Country song about, well a factory girl. Only have one problem; this song is too damn short. This album closes with Salt of the Earth, a great Gospel-based song about the common workers. Great singing not only by Jagger, but also by Richards. Love the guitar work and love the piano. But what I love the most is the back-up vocal by the choir. Love it! And with that, this album closes beautifully.
No question about it, Beggars Banquet is a great album. This is certainly the album that I love listening to. No matter what, this album will always be one of my favorite albums of all time.
September 21, 2001
Beggar's Banquet is the first disc of what is considered the Golden Period of the Stones. And a fine disc it is. After Satanic which received a lot of flak and a loss of musical direction, the Stones knew they had to rebound with a winner. And they did. Keith rediscovered Guitar via open tunings and Jagger dropped the psychedelic lyrical garbage and came up with some classics. There were political issues at hand , bent up sexual frustrations to write about, and also as always still a healthy dose of humor. The first track is one of the band's all-time classics. "Sympathy For The Devil". Jagger had been doing a lot of reading and wanted to share what he had learned. This is one of the best lyrics he ever penned. Plus he wrote the music, even though he did not come up with the uptempo idea of the Sambabeat, as the movie One Plus One clearly demonstrates. With Keith picking up the Bass the song finally took off. What we end up with is a six minute tale of humanity portrayed as the devil of itself. Jagger delivers the lyrics with uncharacteristic clarity. All this is set to a frenetic backdrop of percussion, a mass choir chanting 'whoo whoo', and only once is the tale interrupted by a Machine gun Guitar solo by Keith. Often declared to be his best solo. It is sparse and straight to the point. Piercing. Lethal. Followed by the gorgeous other wordily beauty of "No Expectations" with Brian making a formidable appearance on Slide guitar, to assist Keith's Acoustic. The lyrics are quiet, sullen almost. Another one of Jagger's best. The comical country flavored "Dear Doctor" follows with great Acoustic guitar work by Keith. Acoustic guitars dominate this disc as the next one is "Parachute Woman", recorded on a cassette recorder to get the proper distortion. The Harmonica howls! The lyrics are nasty and tasty. Right into "Jigsaw Puzzle". Another good piece of lyrics by Jagger who sings with utter conviction. The song musically repeats itself over and over again, but builds in momentum and excitement with every passing verse. Side 2 opens with another classic "Street Fighting Man". This was the single off the album and due to it's political overtones was banned from radio, which only added to its legend. It began as another tune "Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?" This version can be found on Boots and is very interesting. Keith is especially proud of this tune, since it is an absolute powerhouse of Rock'n Roll, but the only electrical instrument on it is the Bass. Charlie does not even play real drums on it, but a fold out practice drumkit. Next comes a cover of "Prodigal Son", a country gospel number, with just Mick on vox and Keith on Acoustic. A Hi Hat holds time. The sexual energy and lyrics of "Stray Cat Blues" are a great exercise in tongue in cheek. One of the few straightforward rockers on this disc. "Another 'British' Country song comes in the form of "Factory Girl". Keith outdoes himself on acoustic guitar again. The disc's closer is a powerful Gospel tinged number called "Salt Of The Earth", which ends in a rousing finale with a whole choir chiming in.
April 29, 2001
This is one of my favorite Stones albums, and I think it stands as a musical masterpiece even if viewed independently from the context of the band's career. Although the album shows Jagger and Richards sampling from several different musical styles, there is a continuity to the album which is based on the music of the downtrodden and disadvantaged. There is a taste of the rich blues produced by the deprivations of the Mississippi delta in "Prodigal Son" (which subsequently presents the biblical story with a powerful rustic elegance), there is an attempt cast at feeling the pain of poor white trash with "Dear Doctor" (although "down in Virginia" shows a very English feel for Southern Geography), as well as a poignant folk rendering of "Factory Girl" which calls to mind an English working class sing along taking place through the bleary haze of a few pints at the pub. The album also contains such rock classics as "Sympathy For the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man" which in there own right are accomplishments worthy of their place in the pantheon of great rock songs.
However, these songs seem almost as singles tacked on to the rest of the album. They possess an awareness which is more concerned with the current events of the time, attempting an edge and a revolutionary tone that supersedes the scope of the rest of the album. Without these songs the album would still be one of my favorites, being an intelligent, multifaceted yet continuous artistic statement.
By Alan Alwiel
February 19, 2001
Beggars Banquet started the golden age of the Stones.This album proved that Jagger/Richards were a great songwriting team. Also the album showcases Keiths amazing maturity on the guitar. Ry Cooder showed Keith the delta blues form of playing in open tunings and boy did Keith learn open tunings. Keith uses open tunings on many of the songs and the signature sound of the Stones was born. The album opens with 'Sympathy For The Devil', the best rock song ever put on record. Jagger was influenced by Dylan and wrote a rock epic that is haunting. Keith plays an amazing bass and his blistering lead solo is legendary. 'No Expectations' is a beautiful ballad sung by Jagger and Keiths dominant acoustic in open tuning with Brian Jones' amazing slide. 'Dear Doctor', a fun song, the first real attempt by Jagger/Richards to write a folk/country song. Their singing and delivery of the song is great. 'Parachute Women' dives into the world of sex with Jagger providing great vocals.'Street Fighting Man', a classic rock song showcases Keith's driving rhythm with great vocals by Jagger and support from Charile and Bill. 'Progical Son' shows Keiths' great ability to play acoustic in open tuning and his fingerpicking style is beautiful. 'Factory Girl', another fun song has great Jagger vocals and Keith's wonderful acoustic guitar. 'Salt Of The Earth' ends the album with Keith singing one of his first solo verses on record. The song has great lyrics and a wonderful song to end a great album. Beggars Banquet is a rock and roll gem with the majority of the songs on acoustic and wow, what a feel and sound the boys put on record.
By Net Pimp
December 28, 2000
No explanation can describe how great and monumental this album was. It kick-started the Stones once more and provided new horizons in their bluesy-hard rock experimentation's. "Sympathy for the Devil" is outright awesome. The percussion and chanting vocals is like some African samba. The feeling is destructive. Lines about the devil and war show how the J/R song-writing team was growing in their harrowing madness, like Dylan's songs. "No Expectations" is pure acoustic beauty. The song has a sad theme, mood, everything. The piano from Nicky Hopkins is enthralling. "Dear Doctor" a mock-country/folk ballad, is one with a funny delivery. The guitars all seem to work so well. Brian Jones, though he was backing off from the band, still delivers a fine performance. "Parachute Woman" is a sly, sexy song recorded on Keef's basement recorder. "Jig-Saw> Puzzle" is an underrated tender, introspective song. The next, also recorded mostly on a home tape-recorder, rocks to the bone with a wall of sound being built to a crescendo in the chorus. The sitar is mesmerizing too. "Prodigal Son" is the blues cover and it's captivatingly done. "Stray Cat Blues" offers a loud, fast blues song that has sex-related themes, used in future. "Factory Girl" is a down home, fiddling track. It's the weakest track, but it works. "Salt of the Earth" is the moving finale dedicated to the working class. What a song! What an album!
By Steve Simon
November 9, 2000
Beggars Banquet may be one of the most important albums in rock history. It is the beginning of the Stones golden age. With the kick off 'Sympathy for the Devil', the Stones explore the roots of evil with Satan depicted as a member of high society. Yet it is the less known songs that sell this album. Soft melodic slide guitar glides over 'No Expectations' while a fun country jive tells a story on 'Dear Doctor'. 'Parachute Woman' rocks out with deep blues riffs by Keith. Perhaps the best song on this album is 'Jig Saw Puzzle' which just lets it out with great lyrics and a scorching piano accompaniment. 'Street Fighting Man' is just a Rolling Stone classic. 'Stray Cat Blues' is a sexy hard song in which Mick just rips it. 'Factory Girl' is such a relaxing jam. Even though it's short that beautiful fiddle rings throughout the song. Finally 'Salt of the Earth' finishes it up with the Stones tribute to the working man. So if you need to get juiced or just lay back roll Beggars Banquet for instant pleasure. A Stones Classic.
By John Barnett
August 19 2000
1968 was a pivotal year in music history. The Beatles recorded and released 30 immaculate songs on a double album, Jimi Hendrix was changing rock & roll by tearing some weird and wired sounds out of his Fender, and The Rolling Stones put out Beggar's Banquet in November, an album which in itself changed the history of rock music. Many people seem to think that this album contains mostly acoustic playing. I'm not sure where this myth originated, but anyone with a good ear can tell that it brims with electricity, be it the emotional kind, or the kind that flows from an amp. Banquet was also the 1st Stones studio record of 5 to be produced by Jimmy Miller, the only man who had the ability to make the band sound better than they already did. Sexuality in music hits a new plateau here, and one that I think it had to reach. Several songs here are so sexually charged that many listeners can't help but blush while overhearing powerfully sung lines like "I bet your momma don't know you scratch like that" and "Parachute woman, land on me tonight."> At the time this album was recorded, the Stones were as happy a band as you could hope for. Mick Jagger was just entering his reign as a rock legend, Keith Richards had perfected his rhythm guitar skills once again after the band's questionable foray into psychadelia, Bill Wyman's bass was a force to be reckoned with, Brian Jones was still hanging around, and Charlie Watts' drumming was about 1/2 as good as Keith Moon's (which is a HUGE compliment). The only true fault with Banquet is that the seamless hit song 'Jumping Jack Flash' wasn't included. Recorded at the same time as Banquet, 'Flash' would've made a great album even greater.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: Many Stones fans favorite song, this little slice of evil finds Mick playing Satan and spouting some of the best lyrics the Jagger/Richards team ever wrote. NO EXPECTATIONS: Wonderful ballad, haunting vocals, this original sounds just like an early blues record. DEAR DOCTOR: A bit too country for me, but still a great tune. Proves that humor CAN find it's way into a late 60's Stones LP. PARACHUTE WOMAN: Can you say 'SEX'? This hard edged song finds the band contemplating the 1st of 2 unique girls on Banquet. STREET FIGHTING MAN: ...This one will kick your ass. THE hardest rocking bit of music that had been released up to this point. Recorded in Keith Richard's basement with a one track recorder and a toy drum kit. PRODIGAL SON: This song combined with 'Sympathy For The Devil' = The Rolling Stones VS. The Religious Right. Jagger has WAY too much fun making fun of the Bible here, but I support him all the way. STRAY CAT BLUES: Can you say "EVEN MORE SEX"? The most sexually explicit and hard rocking song that anyone dared release until the Stones did it again in 1971 with 'Brown Sugar.' FACTORY GIRL: The 2nd of the girls pined after on Banquet is even more fascinating. Only this band could pull off this song. SALT OF THE EARTH: The band's 1st attempt at an epic song. The topic is the average hard-working American. A great song, but Mick and Keith spend too much time trying to convince us that they're part of this collective, and not just rich rock stars singing about it.
A great record that changed rock and roll, all the while adding more turmoil to the late 60's political scene all over the world.
By Anthony Peterson
July 21, 2000
Great return to form. The best stuff on here is the stuff you don't hear on the radio (at least here in Minnesota). Only flaw, 'Sympathy for the Devil' is an obvious ploy inflate the "satanic" image of the late 60's. Not a song to be taken seriously, (Mick has said as much, as did Marrianne Faithful) it's Mick showing off on how much reading he had been doing. I will give it this, played live (Get Yer Ya Ya's Out) it's excellent. If they had replaced this with 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', I would give Beggar's a 10.
March 19, 2000
This album starts off with "Sympathy For The Devil". Whatever this song is about, it' s absolutely magnificent and magic. You can hear that after the rich people on "Their Satanic Majesties Request" they again play underdogs like you and me, and especially again the disadvantaged black. As a consequence of this, the style is acoustic blues. The other hardrocker here, "Street Fighting Man", is as good as the furious opener. Humoristic lyrics like on "Jigsaw Puzzle" or "Factory Girl" are rare on blues records, but the Rolling Stones have always had a talent for them. "No Expectations" definitely is one of the most beautiful Stones songs ever, it' s full of desire, the singing as well as the playing. "Salt Of The Earth" is a terrific final to the last and one of the best complete albums with Brian Jones. If you find yourself not liking this album (like I did, as I have to say), just think about what an unbelievably great comeback to the roots it was.
October 2, 1999
Beggar's Banquet was the album that started the Stones' reputation as the self-titled 'greatest rock and roll band in the world' a year later. With evidence like this, who was going to argue? Beggar's Banquet was the first modern Stones record that portrayed all the sex, angst, humor and decadence that would soak much of Let it Bleed the following year. The fact that on here, however, they were able to capture all of this and not plug in an instrument bar one song is truly remarkable and to this day, never duplicated. Beggar's Banquet, simply put, is the greatest acoustic rock record ever made. The opening song, 'Sympathy for the Devil' encloses all the aforementioned qualities. In the song, Mick's 'Jagger as Lucifer' performance is perhaps the best of his career. Jagger gets inside his lyrics and transforms himself into a character worthy of an Academy Award. The music itself, adding layers of sound as the song progresses, is anchored by Nicky Hopkins' brilliant piano and Keith's wicked solo. Following this fierce introduction the band takes a left turn and literally slides into the delta-blues styled 'No Expectations', a sweet song that captures one of Brian Jones' last awesome contributions to the band. His beautiful slide playing adds tremendous texture to a wonderful gem of a song. In fact, his playing becomes as much a part of the song (and almost as important) as the lyrics. Magnificent! The Stones, and Keith especially, have always been fans of country music as the songs 'Dear Doctor' and 'Factory Girl' attest here. In both of these songs Jagger's approach is humorous. The former is about a man whose fiancée has run off with his cousin on his wedding day so Jagger turns to his factory girl 'who's got stains all down her dress' for respite. In both songs, most notably 'Factory Girl', Keith's picking is inventive and flawless. Due to it's social commentary, Banquet was a very controversial record at the time of it's release. 'Street Fighting Man' just may be the best revolution song ever....During the time of it's release it was banned from many radio stations. This, along with Decca's recall of the 45 due to it's controversial record sleeve, prevented it from becoming a bigger hit than it was. Jagger contends here that 'the time is right for fighting in the streets' and 'I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, and rail at all his servants' only to take a step backwards and refrain by asking the question, 'But what can a poor boy do except to sing for a rock and roll band?' Jagger is admitting that a revolution is needed and something must be done, however, the reality of the situation is that doing something will not make any difference at all. Keith's ferocious acoustic guitar backs up Jagger's lyrics with convincing swagger. Never has there been more angst strummed on an acoustic as Keith does here. The one song that goes electric is 'Stray Cat Blues'. Don't let the title fool you. This song is malicious and mean and rocks like little else they had done prior to Beggar's Banquet. Other songs include the bluesy 'Parachute Woman', the Dylanesque masterpiece 'Jig-Saw Puzzle', the acoustic bliss of 'Prodigal Son', and the gospel-tinged 'Salt of the Earth' which is obviously the foundation for 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' still a year away. Beggar's Banquet and it's acoustic country blues was the beginning of the Stones' 'golden era' and with ample reason. Rarely has rock and roll sounded as nasty and mean without plugging in.
By David Shannon
September 27, 1999
One of the best albums of all time. The album starts off with one of the greatest rock songs of all time, Sympathy For The Devil. How can one not like this song? The music builds to such a fitting climax and it has the most intelligent lyrics ever found in a rock and roll song.
All the songs are incredible. Stray Cat Blues, Parachute Woman, Street Fighting Man and Jigsaw Puzzle are simply amazing. Factory Girl and Salt of the Earth really close the show. Factory Girl is one of the most adoring songs Mick has ever sung and Salt of the Earth always puts a smile on my face.
I have not really added a new perspective on the album but I just wanted to share my comments.
By Steve Cronen
July 13, 1999
Words cannot describe the greatness of Beggar's Banquet, the greatest album ever put out by the Rolling Stones. It ranks up there with the Beatles' "Revolver," the Who's "Who's Next," Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde," and the Monkees' "Headquarters." I wrote an entire essay on Beggar's Banquet. If you'd like to read it, drop me a line and I'll email you a copy. This is the main course of Stones albums, really. It's a half-and-half deal: Half rock and half acoustic. Put 'em together and you have your main meal. Exile is like the appetizers and side dishes, and TSMR is like dessert. That's just my opinion, though. Anyway, some of the greatest songs ever grace this album. "Sympathy for the Devil" is one of the greatest songs ever written. I wish I had written it! Same thing with "No Expectations," which is kind of a personal song for me. "Dear Doctor" is hilarious. Why does no one like "Parachute Woman"? It rocks out! Brian's distant guitar (yes, Brian. Keith plays acoustic guitar) wails away as Mick whips out the harmonica and makes the song more dangerous-sounding that it already is. "Jigsaw Puzzle" took a little more time for me to appreciate, but I've found it to be one of the best on here. Brian again shines on slide guitar. "Street Fighting Man" is the undisputed revolution song of 1968 (except for "Revolution," maybe). "Prodigal Son" is awesome acoustic blues, but the mood is broken with my favorite Stones song of all time, "Stray Cat Blues." Brian and Keith don't just duet on guitars, they DUEL each other. Listen on headphones to the solo; it rocks out! The beginning is what makes the song for me, though. That distant bass guitr... the chopping guitar that comes in as Mick whimpers and coos... Charlie starting in as Mick growls "I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs." PERFECTION! "Factory Girl" is so sweet, it always makes me smile. "Salt of the Earth," Brian Jones's swan song, is absolutely beautiful. It also holds some personal things with me. To see it on the Rock and Roll Circus almost makes
If you're just starting out as a Stones fan, get this one first!!!
By El Ducko
July 11, 1999
This is a great album. Only problem is its mainly acoustic. Sympathy for the Devil is definitely the best track off the album, and one of the best rock songs ever written. Keith does some great lead fills, and the piano adds a nice touch. Street Fighting Man comes in a close second, with a nice interplay between Kieth and Charlie in the intro. It rocks hard, as most of the tracks on this album do not. Stray Cat Blues is a very good, raunchy song, with nice guitar work. Dear Doctor is a great country/folk Barroom song, as is Factory Girl. No Expectations is Ok too, as is Prodigal Son. Only songs that I really didn't like were Jigsaw Puzzle and Parachute Woman. Brian does some nice slide on Jigsaw Puzzle , though. Salt of the Earth closes out the album nicely. Overall the album is excellent.
By D. Bowers
June 4, 1999
Not many albums in my opinion deserve a 10.0 plus. It would have to be something very profound and life moving to get such a rating. And what do you know I would have to say this album deserves it. The Stones only came close a few times in reaching the majestic power this album has. On second thought there are very few albums ever recorded by anyone which reach the level of creativity of Beggar's Banquet. I could sit here all day and tell you how awesome this album is. I think I will sum it up with just one word, "incredible." If you do not own this album you are missing something truly amazing. This recording is one of those amazing moments in the history of the universe!!! I think you get the point.
By Jim Wilgus
May 5, 1999
This is still my favorite album of all time.I have over 10,000 albums (vinyl) in my collection and none brings me back to a time/emotion as completely as Beggars Banquet.I used a varied assortment of chemicals back then,from pot to opium to acid and smack,yet this lp still rings with the same clarity.I'm still chilled when I here Mick's confused state on Jigsaw Puzzle,the country feel of Dear Doctor makes me yearn for a fresh prescription to this day(even though I've been clean/sober these past 15 years) This album is recommended listening for every person who's not familiar with it(if there are any who've clicked onto this page) Do yourself a favour though,don't just listen to the hits,hear it all the way through(preferably on vinyl if you can obtain a copy) hear this masterpiece in its uncut perfectly sequenced glory.You'll be happy you've chequed in.
By Jon Mertz
Jan 31, 1999
Beggar's Banquet, recorded and released during the most tumultuous year of the 1960's --1968 -- still stands today as one of the best and most influential rock albums of all time. A more polar opposite to 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request can scarcely be imagined; gone are the Arabic flourishes, meandering self-indulgence and bad acid, and although exotic instruments like sitar, tamboura and mellotron are still present, they are buried so far in the mix that they are barely audible. During the sessions in Londons Olympic Studios which produced this masterwork, Brian Jones roused himself from mental agony and pharmacological collapse to do his last meaningful work with the band he had founded six years earlier. Although Jones was on his way out - of the band and of this mortal coil - the Stones, at this juncture of their career, managed to recreate themselves and rock & roll simultaneously.Neither entity would ever be the same again.
The album begins auspiciously enough with "Sympathy For The Devil". (As a personal aside, I first heard this song when I was in grade school -- I was in a "bad" section of town, hanging out with the "bad" kids, being where I KNEW I wasnt supposed to be, when I heard it. It sounded like something I wasnt supposed to be listening to.From the subject matter to the jungle rhythms and "who whooos" and ESPECIALLY Keiths guitar solo, this song was forbidden fruit, original sin, grounds for damnation. The sound immediately established was lush, with layers of sound being added as the song progressed. The band had experimented with a dozen different arrangements of the song (the sessions were filmed by Jean Luc Godard for his film One Plus One) before arriving at the album track, which relies heavily on Nicky Hopkins piano and Rocky Dijons percussion. No instrumental attributions were included with the album, so it wasnt generally known (until Godards movie was released) that the songs prominent bassline was provided by Keith Richards. Musically and lyrically, the song was an incredible leap forward, beyond anything the band had recorded up to that point. It was (and remains) a masterpiece in itself, starting calmly and politely and building to a shrieking climax. Along the way, Richards guitar solo set a standard for filth and ferocity which has rarely been eclipsed. But besides the musical excellence of the track, Jaggers lyrics (inspired by a Russian novel, The Master and Margarita, which Marianne Faithful had given him) showed a new level of maturity -- not just copying Bob Dylan, who is a huge influence on the album, but perhaps surpassing him. And in choosing such a universally controversial yet irresistible subject, and singing about him in the first person, Mick added a new layer to his already archetypically complex public persona. The next track, No Expectations, shows that Brian was still fully capable of instrumental brilliance. His delta-tinged slide guitar, played over a soft bed of strumming acoustics and Hopkins tinkling piano, provides the perfect tone to accompany the simple and beautiful lyrics. Although not strictly speaking a blues song, it captures the genres detached, end-of-the-line fatalism, both in tone and delivery. The resulting song is a timeless gem, as sad and beautiful as life itself. With the cagey timing of a vaudevillian, the Stones follow this transcendent moment with a great joke. Obviously enamored with C & W music but perhaps unable to pull off a straight-forward attempt at it, Mick instead puts his considerable tongue firmly in his cheek and adopts a goofy Appalachian accent to bray out the lyrics to this tale of marital trepidation. When he slips into a campy falsetto to deliver the dear john letter, the results are hilarious. Again, the song is carried by acoustic instruments; at once signifying a return to the roots of their own influences as well as a step forward. Beggars Banquet placed the Stones squarely on top of the latest trend while returning to their own beginnings. Their beginnings, of course, were as a blues band. The next song, Parachute Woman, proves that the Stones had absorbed so much of the music of black American blues musicians at this point that the blues now came out of their pores. Richards again achieves a guitar tone of unparalleled distortion and menace, which plays underneath the basic track. Acoustic guitars & harp drenched in reverb ride atop Charlie Watts spare drums as Jagger drawls out indecipherable yet unmistakably lascivious lyrics. The sound is pure Howlin Wolf - it raises the hair at the base of the neck. Brian returns with stinging slide guitar on Jigsaw Puzzle. The lyrics are Jaggers most overtly Dylanesqe. Again, acoustic guitars drive the track and the band relies heavily on Nicky Hopkins. Again, Keith plays a bassline Bill Wyman would have found difficult to reproduce. Structured similarly to Sympathy, the song begins quietly and builds, fading out with the band still rocking. Side 2 opens with Street Fighting Man. Like Sympathy with its evocation of recent assassinations, it shows Mick to have his finger on the pulse of society, yet its chorus ("What can a poor boy do? Cept to sing for a rock & roll band? Cause in sleepy London town theres just no place for a street fightin man.") seems to defuse the riot even as it incites it. Recorded using a bizarre amalgam of lo-fi and hi-fi techniques, it was issued as a single and immediately withdrawn -- their label feared that the b & w photo of a recent riot on the cover was too incendiary. This single (with picture sleeve) is considered by record collectors to be the most valuable 45 in existence. Mint copies fetch in excess of $10,000. Prodigal Son, a blues parable originally recorded by the Rev. Robert Wilkins, is one of the highlights of this remarkable album. It is the absolute antithesis to Sympathy For The Devil, a brilliant extension of Jaggers explorations of opposites in the latter song. (Another personal aside - this song was THE song which opened up the Blues for me. It was like a shard of pottery which led to the discovery of an entire civilization--I heard it, said "Oh--THAT must be the Blues!", connected with it, and never looked back. Thank you, Mick & Keith.) Micks convincing vocals and Keiths absolutely brilliant guitar prove once again that they are no longer aspiring to play the blues, they flat out ARE. The Stones put away the acoustics for Stray Cat Blues. Keith starts out with an ominous, biting guitar as the band crashes into the fray, Nicky Hopkins piano chords forming the framework for Richards to lay out more bent razor-blade riffs. Enough of Jaggers lyrics are audible here to know exactly what hes muttering about, but the song would be pornographic WITHOUT any words. After building to an absolute frenzy it unexpectedly shifts gears, shifting emphasis back to Rocky Dijons percussion. In this new mode they once again build back up to a steamroller pace. This song has absolutely everything a rock & roll song should - sex, swagger, sneers, snot. despite being called a "blues", its structure is fairly complex and unusual. But it is as elemental and crude as rock & roll gets. It is another defining moment for the band.
Factory Girl provides another moment of relative levity, and strips the sound of all electric instruments. Acoustic guitar, mandolin and fiddle grace this ode to a working class girl. Mick is campy and not quite believable in his proclaimed affection for the girl with "stains all down her dress" -a line which rings with a new resonance today! -- but the energy with which Keith attacks his acoustic guitar carries the song ably. Salt of the Earth repeats the albums predominant formula - acoustic guitars, heavy reliance on Nicky Hopkins, and a structure which builds like a tent show evangelist, from calm declamation to frantic crescendo. Although it ends with the fullest, most orchestral sound the band had ever recorded, it starts out in a very spare manner. The first verse is sung by Keith Richards, who has displayed throughout the course of this amazing album a major growth spike in his development as a Rock God. His lead guitar playing has become ferocious and deranged, yet his acoustic playing shows that he has seriously been studying his craft, learning (then)arcane alternative guitar tunings and finger-picking patterns; his able handling of bass chores is a surprise; and his modest vocal turn here will eventually spawn a successful solo career. His partner in crime takes over halfway through the verse. Mick, too, has shown on this album that the tumult of 1968 has served to sharpen his vision. His performance is masterful, as is his writing ; the personae he has given voice to and absorbed have pushed his already complex image to new limits. The band as a whole has entered a new era, one which will in time be recognized as their Golden Age. Sadly, the founding member of the band -- Brian, his doom already tangible as it hangs above him -- has made his final great contribution.
Keno's mini review, song list, lyrics and more info on BEGGAR'S BANQUET
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To listen to some sound clips from BEGGARS BANQUET or to buy, click on: Beggars Banquet (Remastered)