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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Tumbling Dice"

The Rolling Stones "Tumbling Dice" (1972)

A song that is all about the groove.



Joe Strummer of The Clash once claimed that "part of what makes this special, is that the words are a conundrum, like 'Louie, Louie'". Mick Jagger has claimed that the song is ordinary and he doesn't really see what people see in it. The Stones use a backing group of women that kinda give the song a singalong feel. Mick is singing lyrics that are hard to keep up with, but when you hear something you recognize, everyone just sort of jumps in. There's a bit of a brass section, some tinkling piano, a little slide guitar, and world renown saxophone player Bobby Keys adds to that free wheeling "just throw it all in and see what happens" feel like the female backing musicians.  But that freewheeling sound was precise. It sounds like it just happened because the musicians care so much. Engineer Andy Johns suggests that as many as 150 takes were done of the song.

Part of the legendary Exile on Main Street album, and part of the Stones live performances for so long that it appears on three different live compilations, the song is one that is often covered. Linda Ronstadt had a hit with it just five years after the original. Keith Urban and Bon Jovi are known to play it live. I've always like the Johnny Copeland cover on an album called Paint it Blue: Songs of the Rolling Stones. It's not a enlightening cover, but the whole album is great, so I think well of the song. It does have a ripping good guitar solo.

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