Everybody knows that Sticky Fingers is one of the all-time great rock and roll records. This past week, the album was reissued again, but this time with extras. So the million-dollar question is are the extras worth it?
That depends – the recent Rolling Stones reissues of Exile On Main St. and Some Girls gave you a number of unheard songs, some of them with newly completed vocals from Mick Jagger and guitar from Mick Taylor. With Sticky Fingers, the band admits that they already raided the cookie jar pretty heavily with the Exile reissue so there wasn’t as much left when they went back for this one. Therefore, the extras of the “Deluxe Version” hinge on five alternate takes and five live cuts. The first is an alternate version of “Brown Sugar” with Eric Clapton on slide guitar. It’s pretty cool for historical reasons and has a good edgy feel. “Wild Horses” lacks the electric leads and Keith’s harmonies and feels empty. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” captures the band figuring out the song. It’s pretty loose. The alternate take of “Bitch” has a lot of fight to it and Jagger sings some alternate lyrics. It is interesting to hear the song develop. Eventually the track comes to an abrupt ending. “Dead Flowers” sounds a little dirtier and is played a slightly faster than the final album version. However, none of the alternate takes surpass the versions that are on the final official album. They are fun, but not essential to the casual listener.
The rest of the bonus disc features five Sticky Fingers-era live tracks from the Stones’ 1971 performance at the Roundhouse. The five songs, “Live With Me,” “Stray Cat Blues,” “Love In Vain,” “Midnight Rambler,” and “Honky Tonk Women” are cool gritty examples of the Stones’ live power, but none of these songs are actually tracks from Sticky Fingers. The fade-ins and outs show that these are clearly part of a longer concert. Why not include tracks from Sticky Fingers?
Lastly, if you pick up the digital version of the “Super Deluxe” Sticky Fingers or paid $152.98 for the physical box set, you get a bonus disc of a 1971 full concert at the University of Leeds. The show features the Stones introducing the Sticky Fingers material to the crowd for the first time. It’s pretty great and is a more rewarding listen than the five alternate takes and five live cuts on the standard “Deluxe Version.”
Sticky Fingers is an undeniable classic and rock fans of all generations should be familiar with it. The question with the reissue is how much you want to invest in it. If you want the bonus material and don’t want to spend $152.98 on the box set, I would recommend buying the $19.99 digital version so that you get the University of Leeds live material. That is the way to maximize your "satisfaction."
Essential Bonus Track: “Brown Sugar (feat. Eric Clapton)”