Mystery Dissolved

THIS WEEK, like many of my “completest” friends, I’m making my way leisurely through the remastered, de-mythologized, but still nice-and-swampy Exile on Main Street. My inaugural listen is on the soon-to-be-departed, which in a ways mimics the first way I listened to Exile — it was someone else’s LP, my now-musician brother who blasted the Stones pretty much daily for a period of five or so years. Yes, everyday. For about a decade after, I couldn’t quite appreciate the band since I felt it shared a bunk bed with me (and not in a good way.) But this was the album that changed things for me … namely it was “Sweet Virginia” — I had no idea where on map of anything that it came from — stumbling, heart-open, sloppy, alive.
Ben Ratliff , in the New York Times this week, says of the newly released version of “Loving Cup”, “it’s country gospel gone lurid, and it seems to rise up out of a nap.” Yes, yes, something quite like that.

As press rolls on this one, there is a lot of demystifying going on, for one that the whole opus was recorded in the basement of a French mansion. Not quite. In fact, some of th cuts were laid down here in a studio in Los Angeles — they brought the mood with them, it thrums with a anixious melancholy. But plucking away that old, gilded myth doesn’t lessen the impact. What’s there is already in the grooves; at it’s heart, it’s music at it’s most visceral without thinking and posing and projecting. Blues, gospel, rock, pop a oily smear of it all.

It’s 80 degrees in L.A. today good weather to open the windows press play, turn it up and let it loose.


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