SOUND 10 / PACKAGING 9.5 / PERFORMANCE 10
Review By RICCAR99 - More articles by RICCAR99
Discs One ( Ruff Mixes)-Three (Alternate Reference Mixes): 1. Intro-Take The A Train, 2. Under My Thumb, 3. When The Whip Comes Down, 4. Let s Spend The Night Together, 5. Shattered, 6. Neighbours, 7. Black Limousine, 8. Just My Imagination, 9. Twenty Flight Rock, 10. Going To A Go Go, 11. Let Me Go, 12. Time Is On My Side, 13. Beast Of Burden, 14. Waiting On A Friend, 15. Let It Bleed.
Discs Two (Ruff Mix)-Four (Alternate Reference Mixes): 1. You Can t Always Get What You Want, 2. Band Introductions, 3. Little T&A, 4. Tumbling Dice, 5. She s So Cold, 6. Hang Fire, 7. Miss You, 8. Honky Tonk Women, 9. Brown Sugar, 10. Start Me Up, 11. Jumping Jack Flash, 12. Satisfaction, 13. Outro-Star Spangled Banner.
This is another cool download release that came out in February 2019, whose title comes from a variation on Honky Tonk Women lyrics Jagger indulged on that location and is something special because for the first time this marks a collaboration between JEMS and Captain Acid. It seems Cpt. Acid was asked to remaster two sets of tapes of the Stones show in Tempe, December 13. 1981. What was done is some speed corrections, equalizing and level correction; nothing else was needed since the tapes were great to start with. The cassette transfer was done by JEMS and after the remaster the files were converted to 16bit FLAC. These versions come from two pairs of in-house cassettes that were included in the same trove of tapes that yielded the Foxes In The Boxes series a few years ago. All the tapes once belonged to Art Collins, who essentially ran Rolling Stones Records on behalf of the band inside of Atlantic Records in the U.S., they came into JEMS possession several years ago.
The first two TDK SA-90 cassettes were labelled Ruff Mixes and they are clearly copies from reel to reels, since it is possible to hear the reel come up to speed at the start of the recording. Like the Foxes tapes and the Concerts for Kampuchea outtakes that were also released from his collection, Collins seems to have used cassettes as reference tapes to review/approve mixes. The dubs were likely made for him off master or mix-down reels, which explains why their quality is so high.
Compared with the known soundboard tapes this is an alternate source with intriguing provenance and very nice quality.
The Collins cassettes also contain a second set of tapes from this gig, and that mix is different from the first one; they are called the Alternate Reference Mixes and present a second new source for the Tempe soundboard recording, culled from the same trove of tapes; these are two Maxell UD-90s with typed labels but no additional detail, just the venue, date and song titles.
The mixes on the second set of cassettes differ from the ruff mixes and are on balance more refined than the rough ones.
As both new uncirculated soundboard sources are excellent, it will be up to the listener to decide which source he/she prefers, however, these two new Tempe mixes provide a fresh way to hear a very familiar recording; amazingly the discs length is slightly different ..
The concert happened in Tempe, close to Phoenix and has come out on many underground recordings, while Jumping Jack Flash and Satisfaction are shortened versions from Still Life that can be found also on Ride Like the Wind (Rattlesnake 041-44). On vinyl we can find tracks on On Top Of Old Smokey (Sound Board Ltd AT 891), Mission Direct Hits (Glimmer RSG 81), Ride Like The Wind (Great Live Concerts RSSG 6012-4299).
Some tracks are available on a number of discs: 7 tracks on Truncated Tracks LP (LSNT), 4 Tracks on Kings of Drugs (EVSD 006-7) and KBFH Broadcasts 2 (Moonchild Rec.029), 14 tracks on Let s Spend The Night Together (C.Drift CD 005-6) in 1995 taken from video source, Hang Fire can be found on Ride Like the Wind (VGP 290), Best of USA Tour 73-80 (Seagull 031), Concerts that Rocked the World vol.1 (KBFH 9-22-87) and on KBFH (DIR 18F2) and Another Still Life (no label). Both Hang Fire and Satisfaction are on Time Is On My Side (VGP 038), On Top of Old Smokey (VGP 280), Mission Direct Hits (VGP 247& S&H Music House HD 23-24), Going To A Go Go (STCD 1042), Ride Like the Wind (Great Live Concerts RSSG 6012-4299) 84, Black Limousine (Lobster 018-2), Fever In The Funkhouse vol.2 (Golden Stars LACD 002, Live in Detroit (BCLS 005), Sexual Healing (OTR 6551-2). Satisfaction can be found on Still Life and on On Top of Old Smokey (AT-81) cd released in 1993, Hannover 82 (Check This Out), Start Me Up, Still Life (90922 2025 RS). Hang Fire and She s So Cold are on Stoned Through the Years (Golden Rec. GC002CD), Miss You and Satisfaction on Mission Direct Hits 2LP (Glimmer Rec. RSG 01-04) 83 and as part of us American Tour 1981 Part 2 (WLR 2192). As for the complete show an audience recording can be found on Want Some Dirty Stuff? (RAR Rec.)3 cds and on Welcome to Phoenix cdr. The soundboard version was released on Satisfaction Guaranteed (VGP 136) as stereo soundboard in 1997, then on Live at Sundevil Stadium (ARIZ 8101-2) and on Devils and Desert (GFR 346-7) in 2009, finally as Phoenix 81 Let s Spend The Night Together (DAC 141) which offered a nice complete version including the full length songs that were shortened on Still Life. Some funny things to notice about this show: on Let It Bleed Jagger forgot the lyrics at the beginning repeating the initial verse over and over, instead of getting to the second one, this is weird since the concert happened at the end of the tour; another striking thing is the band introductions when he introduces Stu saying he has been with the band for 25 years , had it been so Stu should have started playing with the Stones in 1956 ! Finally the Outro contains the whole Hendrix track, which was not edited as on Still Life ,.
So what are the major differences between these versions? The Ruff mixes appear decently balanced while the Alternate Reference ones has the guitars buried in the mix and upfront are Mick s vocals and the drums, the good thing about the Alternate Reference mixes is that it is possible to hear Stu better. By way of example, the sax solo on You Can t Always Get What You Want is low in the Ruff mixes, but appropriately levelled on the Alternate Reference mixes, there is no obvious sign these came off mix-down reels but they very likely did. Generally speaking on the Ruff mixes it is possible to hear the sax better, though.
Packaging includes two sets of different covers using stills from Hal Ashby s film, one for each different version (red coloured background for Ruff and green for Alternate), as well as inner inserts with photos of the real cassettes, but lacks a comprehensive front cover, if someone decides to have both versions and house them into a Fatboy case. This is anyway a great find which will eventually end up duplicated on some label s catalogue, we will see which mixes will be selected by them to be on silver disc, unless some creative character may decide to print a selection of songs from both, according to his own taste.