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Rolling Stones - Stones In Exile
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In the spring of 1971 the Rolling Stones departed the UK to take up residence in France as tax exiles. Keith Richards settled at a villa called Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer and this became the venue for the recording of much of the band s masterpiece Exile On Main Street . Stones In Exile tells the story in the band s own words and through extensive archive footage of their time away from England and the creation of this extraordinary double album, which many regard as the Rolling Stones finest achievement.
Era il 1972 quando gli Stones si ritirarono in Francia per problemi fiscali, e Keith Richards prese residenza a Nellcote, la villa che fu teatro delle sessions che diedero vita all'album. Il documentario, oltre a filmati d'epoca, raccoglie contributi di tutti i membri della band non che delle più importanti personalità del mondo dello spettacolo di ieri e di oggi: Martin Scorsese, Jack White, Don Was, Caleb Followill (Kings Of Leon), Benicio Del Toro, Will.I.Am (Black Eyed Peas), Sheryl Crow, Anita Pallenberg, Ronnie Wood, e il produttore Jimmy Miller
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Si parla della creazione di uno dei più grandi album della storia del Rock e probabilmente il migliore degli Stones: "Exile On Main Street".
L'ambientazione è quella di una decadente villa in stile coloniale (Ville Nellcote) sulla Costa Azzurra, all'inizio degli anni settanta, dove gli Stones si sono rifugiati per problemi con il fisco Inglese.
Immagini incredibili, in questa villa diroccata si erano raccolti svariati musicisti ed altri spettrali individui; si suona in ogni stanza, si suona in ogni pertugio, si suona dal tramonto all'alba, si suona a qualsiasi ora. Le immagini familiari, dove Richards plana sulle acque del mediterraneo in motoscafo, ed i bambini che giocano e corrono nel parco della villa, si alternano ad altre apocalittiche dove aleggiano figure che paiono distrutte da ogni tipo di droga, alcool, ed eccesso.
Le odierne testimonianze dei protagonisti, ed alcuni fotogrammi dell'epoca, rendono questo DVD fondamentale anche per chi non prova alcuna passione per il rock.
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On the plus side, the interview with Don Was is good, probably the best of the non-Stones interviews, and Black Eyed Peas' Will I. Am gives a decent interview. Much of Mick Taylor's and Bill Wyman's comments are relegated to the bonus features area, but they are seen and heard in the main film, also. And speaking of the main film, it's only 61 minutes in the length, unfortunately. The bonus features bump up the running time on this release. I was hoping for a 2-hour documentary, "25 X 5"-style, with maybe 30 or 40 minutes of bonus interviews. Not so. It is a short feature, but what is there is pretty cool. To hear Keith Richards reveal why he did heroin in that time period (and presumably for another five or six years) is a revelation, and Wyman's playful jibe at Taylor's comatose-like stage presence during the 1972 shows is hysterical and ironic. Wyman does finally utter something like, "I'm one to talk." "In 30 years with The Rolling Stones, I maybe took three steps on the stage," Wyman says while laughing.
"Stones in Exile" is a good release, but it falls just short of being an immaculate document of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Maybe Eagle Rock's upcoming DVD release of "Ladies and Gentlemen ... The Rolling Stones" will be packed to the gills with extra goodies.
For the long time, obsessive enthusiast...who has either seen / heard or has every piece of audio or video media ever made available outside the Stones camp's private archive...there is still plenty of fun here. The interviews, wisely dubbed over period visuals, carry the story along vibrantly. If you pay attention there's lots of interesting insights...from the various horse's mouths...into their personalities, creative process, the Nellcote mythology (much of which isn't as decadent or mysterious as it has been embellished to be).
As for the footage, while germane to the period, album, and supporting tour the following year, there are only snippets here and there of 'original' or unseen footage (at least to the serious afficianado) with little thought to relevance or accurate chronology. That having been said, it is great to see clean, presumably first generation footage from 'CS Blues' and 'Ladies and Gentlemen' (which is FINALLY being cleaned up and officially released on DVD this fall). The grainy footage from Nellcote is mesmerizing, as are the cutting room floor audio sequences of previously unheard jamming and studio dialogue that accompany them.
A happy note too is the final credits soundtrack giving us 'Exile on Main Street Blues', a quick, piano accompanied track which was previously available only on bootleg since released as a 'flexi-disc' promo prior to the 1972 US Tour.
I enjoyed 'Stones in Exile', and...though, like any anticipated Stones release, it could never live up to the preconceived hopes I had for it...it was alot of fun to watch and I'm glad they did it. My only real criticism is the pointless interviews with the likes of Jack White, Benicio Del Toro, and Sheryl Crow...all nice people and interesting artists (no disrespect) but irrelevant. Fortunately very brief. Don Was was a sensible inclusion because a.) he has worked with them alot, and on 'Voodoo' tried to replicate / modernize the various dynamics that made Exile so great (this time at Ron Wood's house in Ireland). Scorsese, of course, appreciates the Stones intelligently and is always interesting to hear on any topic.
Finally, I'd like to point out that the Stones are now...after waiting almost 40 years...at the artistic status of their original idols who inspired them to play music in the first place (when they were 18 or 19): Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Robert Johnson, Chester Burnett, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley. They have an archive that is truly a legendary musical legacy, and the wellspring of alot more other artist's work and performing style than they are given credit for.
On that note, Keith, how about an album of covers in 2011 (like 'The Rolling Stones' and 'The Rolling Stones No.2'?)
Secondly, while I hope they continue to write, record, and tour as well, I am thrilled that they are FINALLY starting to really open the archives and share the 'backdrop' (outtakes and demos)/missing pieces (extended Ya Yas) of all their renowned recordings and tours...that could carry them commercially for another 40 years if they never recorded another note or played live again! Keep it coming fellows.
FOOTNOTE: the bonus footage of Stargroves (particularly) and Olympic, accompanied by Jagger and Watts commentary, was worth the price of the DVD alone (for me anyway).
However, what's most irksome is the lack of any real video content. Much of the video includes a voice over narrative with the only "video" being still pictures (often black and white) of the band. The camera pans over the photos at some random angles, but there's no disguising the fact that you're not watching any actual footage.
Second, there is very little concert footage. There are a few seconds here and there of some song, with zero information about the specific concert or location. It almost feels like a teaser for yet another Stones video package, which will yet again feature nothing but watered down product including photo montages and snippets of musical performances.
The soundtrack (exile on main st.) is wonderful, and crystal clear, but hey, I already have that soundtrack.
Feel free to pass on this one. I wish I had watched this as a rental instead.
Sure, it could have been longer, but at one hour, it NEVER drags. The (gratefully) brief interviews with current musicians are totally unnecessary, but made worthwhile just to hear Sheryl Crow unwittingly tell us how cool she thinks she is.
And regarding Gram Parsons lack of recognition in the film, he musically influenced Keith, and he WAS upstairs doing lots of drugs (which ultimately got him an invitation to leave), but beyond some uncredited backing vocals, he made no direct contribution to the album itself.