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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Captain X lent me Robert Greenfield's "Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones", a good supplement to Robert Janovitz' 33 1/3 volume on the same subject. Greenfield is more gossipy-- who slept with who, and who the Euro-trash hangers-on were; Janovitz approaches the side as a text, and breaks down the songs' meanings. Interestingly, Greenfield says that close to a third of the album was in the can before the famous summer in the south of France He says that "Sweet Virginia", "Sweet Black Angel", "Loving Cup", "Stop Breaking Down" and "Shine A Light" were all recorded during the sessions for either "Let it Bleed" or "Stickey Fingers". Janovitz says nay-- perhaps some material was written or drafted earlier, but they came into their final form at Villa Nellcote. Janovitz is also better on the technical aspects of the recording process, which is more interesting than the drug stuff at this point. Both offer a new way in to one of the most significant works in the rock'n'roll canon, and neither represents such a significant time investment that one should be read in favor of the other-- if it is a topic of interest, by all means read both.

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