Morton | Colorado | 06/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Rolling Stones-Beggars Banquet *****
Lets, just for arguments sake say that Beggars Banquet is the best Rolling Stones record ever made. It wouldn't be a hard thing to argue and many would agree with that claim. Beggars was the album that started the classic four albums from the Stones. This, Let It Bleed [DSD], Sticky Fingers + 7 Bonus Tracks, and Exile On Main Street [Limited Edition] all make up this classic period and are all essential to a collection, and maybe Beggars more than any other. Where Let It Bleed was unique, Sticky Fingers was the hardest rocker, and Exile is well it's Exile, Beggars is just perfect.
Brian Jones made his exit with this album as he was only on parts of Let It Bleed and it shows. He did his best playing here. The slide on 'Jig-Saw Puzzle' a tender ballad of sorts that on gets better with each passing listen. The sliding-blues-stomp of 'Parachute Woman' is uniquely Jones. But perhaps what is most impressive about Beggars is the fact that you don't hear Keith Richards' guitar for about the first three minutes of the album until he plays one of the greatest guitar solos of all time on 'Sympathy For The Devil' (which is rumoured by some to actually be Jimmy Page of Zeppelin as he was known for his studio appearances, and it does sound like him) perhaps the groups darkest song. For me what is so impressive is the key work through out, often over looked so take a second listen. Their reworking of 'No Expectations' exceeds the original by miles while 'Dear Doctor' is straight country honk at it's finest, and that's only side one.
Side two begins with the classic protest of 'Street Fighting Man' which may or may not be that greatest Bob Dylan song that Dylan never wrote. 'Prodigal Son' will take time for new fans to appreciate but it's worth the wait. 'Stray Cat Blues' is an unheralded classic that never was paid it's dues, but is among the bands best of the period. 'Factory Girl' and the blue collar feel of 'Salt Of The Earth' close the album to perfect avail.
Mick, Keith and Brian made their first 'TRUE' classic with Beggars. It's a shame Brian became a tragedy soon after. Beggars Banquet is a rare album in rock n' roll, there really isn't another like it!"
1969 Rolling Stones record reissued on CD.
Dr. Feelgood | USA | 10/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a good Stones record from the Brian Jones era of the band, which contained a couple of their earlier hits, but also some less known songs, that were quite good as well."
Gets My Vote For Very Best Stones Album Ever
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 01/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, it's a tough call. EXILE ON MAIN STREET, most often considered to be their best, is a phenomenal album although a few of its tracks don't quite measure up to its overall greatness in my view. For me, STICKY FINGERS ranks even higher. The playing on that album, thanks in no small part to new guitarist Mick Taylor, represents the Stones at the top of their game. But song for song, BEGGARS BANQUET comes out on top. It was the one that proved the Stones could get REALLY heavy. To most fans, it was also a welcome return to form after their SATANIC MAJESTY'S REQUEST detour into psychedelia. But more than anything, for the very first time the best songs on a Stones album ("Street Fighting Man," "Stray Cat Blues") achieve the highest level of greatness they will ever reach - their hardest rocking, most original, most compelling songs.
I still think the very best rock n' roll was made in the 60's. 1968 in particular was a tremendously exciting time and The Rolling Stones were a big part of that - they were surfing the edge of the zeitgeist. I'm no audiophile so I can't say which version sounds best. I'm just here to make the case that this album is indispensable, quite possibly the best album they ever made.
"Sympathy for the Devil" - The ultimate expression of Jagger's demonic persona. He preens and taunts as if he really is the devil. Thousands of tightwad parents certainly thought he was, or close enough to it to ban their kids from hearing this record. The instantly recognizable bass riff is so melodic and busy, so insanely catchy as is the evocative African/Latin-flavored drumming. Only Keith's guitar solo doesn't quite rise to the occasion. But somehow, it still sounds cool and demonic, as if the say, "Hey, I'm Lucifer. I don't NEED to try that hard to sound cool." Plus the metallic guitar tone is wicked. *****+
"No Expectations" - A laid-back, acoustic ballad with sweet piano and slide guitar, this can be seen as a poignant anti-war song, even today, from the point of view of someone who lost faith in society. *****
"Dear Doctor" - full-on country twang on guitar. Mick's mock Southern accent is hilarious as he gets sloshed while agonizing over his impending marriage. ****1/2
"Parachute Woman" - ". . . land on me tonight." This is a groovy, acoustic blues-rock shuffle that's pretty darn irresistible. For years now I've gotten sick of standard blues runs featuring the same old chord progressions. But the Stones can play any kind of music and chances are I'll love it. "Parachute Woman" sounds like a different kind of blues, even today, mostly because the Stones bring THE STONES to the table, a very powerful, very distinctive rock n' roll machine. *****
"Jigsaw Puzzle" - This track never got the attention it deserved. It would sound great on classic rock radio (but no, those radio clowns prefer to stick to the same 5 or 6 Stones songs. Radio stations claim playlists prevent repetition but they actually create it. Screw corporate radio). The super cool lyrics paint vivid pictures of our troubled world while Jagger just tries to chill out and do his jigsaw puzzle.Great piano accompaniment and strident acoustic guitar slide, Charlie Watts spot-on, jazz inflected drumming - this one's a real winner. *****
"Street Fighting Man" - This all-time classic is a tough, hard rage against society and a lament for the trials and tribulations of the poor man. There are so many layers of Keith's acoustic guitar overdubs that he was shocked to hear so many after the first remaster was made. Bill Wyman drives the song with some muscular bass-playing and Brian Jones, who was already on a drug-addled path to oblivion at this point, contributes some strangely effective mystical sitar touches. Exciting, Heart-wrenching heavy rock n' roll - this is the Stones at their best. *****+
"Prodigal Son" - Written by a one Reverend Wilkins, this is the only song here not penned by Jagger/Richards. It's a strident, folky country shuffle of the old-school variety about the proverbial prodigal son of the Bible. ****
"Stray Cat Blues" - This is the Stones at their nastiest and most menacing, my personal favorite Stones tune. "I can see that you're just 15 years old/ But I don't want your I.D." Such an infectious rocker, a compelling rhythm and Keith riffing all over the place. *****+
"Factory Girl" - a lovely little country/folk song featuring a fiddle and Jagger in full country drawl. He's waiting for his girlfriend to get off work to go party. I'm not much of a country fan, but I always love when the Stones do it. Just about every kind of music they touch turns to gold. *****
"Salt of the Earth" - Mick sounds positively drunk as he proposes a toast to the common masses who take care of all the lowly grunt work which benefits us all. Some view this song as a sarcastic, cynical jab at those who are less fortunate, but I see it as more of a moving tribute. This loose, country-tinged rocker features female choruses, forcefully strummed acoustic guitar, full drum kit and pounding piano which slowly build up to a head-spinning climax. *****+"