I wrote my review of GHS this past summer, well before the rerelease came out => [iorr.org
After listening to the rerelease, I am persuaded more than ever that Mick deepsixed the more rocking numbers from the Kingston sessions to produce his own softer, lighter rock sound to emulate the music scene going on in 1973. How else to explain the omission of Criss Cross and All the Rage from the record. (Forget Scarlett, that was recorded well afterwards).
He had to leave at least one rocker, so he went with @#$%& cuz he knew he wasn’t gonna win that one with Keef.
Remember all the light rock going on at the time? CSN&Y. James Taylor. Cat Stevens. Bread. Seals & Croft. Me and You and a Dog Named Boo. This was Mick’s campy period.
He really wanted to detour from the raw backward-looking blues sound of Exile in favor of what he always wants to do. Look forward. This is what influenced him and he steered GHS in that direction.
The result was a Stones version of that softer rock sound. Which thoroughly confused the @#$%& out of all of us at the time, who were, as I wrote, all expecting an album more like Emotional Rescue. In fact Mick tried to create another artsy themed album with IORR, which again failed to win breath-taking accolades. He finally threw in the towel and went with the winning formula with Some Girls some 5 years later.
GHS would have sounded a lot different with not only the 2 aforementioned tracks, but also “Who Am I,” their first reggae track “I Got A letter,” and “Fast Talking, Slow Walking” included. In my opinion, it would have been a more satisfying album at the time and now, years later.
I still think that GHS and IORR are overlooked gems with subtle sounds, lots of wah-wah, and Charlie coming into his own. IORR is a Watts masterpiece, just listen to the drums on the whole album. So I am overall very happy with the GHS rerelease. I am concerned however that if Scarlett was scotch-taped to this GHS rerelease, then there may not be an IORR rerelease.
That would be a pity.