Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 24. 26th September 1973
A new morning for the Rolling Stones. An amazing LP easily the best since "Let It Bleed" and I've a feeling that the flash from this will last a lot longer.
Some random impressions. Wyman has all but left the group, he share bass chores with Jagger. Richard and Taylor. Jagger also plays piano on one track, and guitar on another. Mick Taylor at long last gets room to really stretch out and just about walks away with the record. The Stones are definitely no longer dominated just by Mick and Keith, Taylor's presence comes through loud and clear in every track. Also the first LP in which the Stones really get into wah wah guitar from both Richard and Taylor. More good news: the horns and keyboards fit in perfectly for the first time. Jim Horn is a great improvement on Jim Price and Hobby Keys. Nicky Hopkins generally avoids that music box twinkling he sometimes gets into; at least on all cuts except "Angie".Unfortunately there he coincides with a bit of simpering vocal from Jagger, and together they almost sink it, but the song is strong enough to survive. It's weird that "Angie" and "Silver Train" which sounds like a leftover from "Exile" were released as singles. With the notable exception of "Silver Star" they're the weakest cuts on the album.
Some of the more interesting tracks are: "Dancing with Mr D", Mick Munster rides again. "I saw the flesh fall off her bones/the eyes of her skull burning like coals Lord, Lord get your hands off me/I'm dancing with Mistress D." Great fun, and no one, least of all Jagger takes it seriously anymore.
"Hide your Love" — a rewrite of "Casino Boogie" from "Exile" but a vast improvement. Jagger sings magnificently, a great Ronettes clapalong in the background, and Richards does the identical bass runs he did in "Casino" Another fun song, "Coming Down Again" — begins with Elton John type piano, then settles in to a stunning vocal performance from Keith Richard. Good lyrics, in fact this LP has the best the Stones have ever done. "Winter" — Jagger's tribute to Van Morrison. Imagine the best of the Stones combined with the brooding intensity of "Astral Weeks". The Belfast cow boy dominates this track in every way.
"Wished I d been out in California/when the lights on the Christmas trees went out." Building to a typical Morrison image: "I just want to wrap my coit around you/Oh and I want to burn a candle for you." Then in come the swooping violins from "Madame George" as Jagger scats his way out.
Ten tracks, well over forty minutes and the only real bummer is "Star/Star", a silly groupie song to the tune of "Carol" with a singalong chorus about "starfuckers". A pointless drag.
So after ten years while the rest of the rock pantheon, Presley, Dylan and the Beatles are all burned out the Stones rock on magnificently. Rock and roll is the Rolling Stones. Accept no substitute.