Classic Rock Corner

Eyeballin: Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! - the Rolling Stones In All Their Late-'60s Satanic Majesty

In late 1969, the Rolling Stones were at a musical crossroads. They were two years away from the deep blues of Sticky Fingers and its follow-up, the majestically scuzzy Exile On Main Street. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still very much tinkering with their new bluesier direction that would take them through the mid-70s up to Black And Blue and their late decade fascination with disco and cornball country.

The newly re-released and repackaged Get Yer Ya Ya's Out is a document of their time leading up to Let It Bleed. Originally released in 1970 to tide fans over before Sticky, the live set of Ya Ya's is an ace example of just how lethal they were at those shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden in the last days of November. The entire band was firing on all cylinders, and Jagger was getting the hang of his newfound bohemian mystic skin. Director Albert Maysles was on hand filming what would end up being the violent and bloody Gimme Shelter documentary.

This past month, ABKCO Records gave Ya Ya's a lush refurbish, complete with an extra disc of live tracks by openers B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner. The package adds five Stones songs to the previous ten to create an entire concert experience, because one has to admit that only two shy of a dozen isn't enough to capture what was going with these guys at the time. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin randomly pop up backstage hanging out Jagger and company as well. Joplin is seen taking a few drags at the side of the stage at the MSG shows, giddily clapping along.

The thing that makes this gift set a must-have is the bonus DVD of songs shot by Maysles and crew. A few performances from these MSG dates made it onto Gimme Shelter with the rest cut for time. What is included here is stunning and a snapshot of a young band about to outlast the Beatles. Drummer Charlie Watts is seen at a photo shoot on a deserted highway with the donkey from the cover of Ya Ya's and we get to see Richards playing piano and rifling through tapes in the recording studio. Also included in the deluxe edition is a hardbound book with expanded pictures from the tour, two temporary tattoos, and a red guitar pick with Watts silhouette adorning it.

If anything pick up this Stones set for the performance of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" where you get to the entire floor of MSG at a slow burn, watching Jagger work his voodoo on women and men alike. The song fades out and Jagger slowly heads toward Maysles camera like a feral beast, wild-eyed and sweaty. It's a sight for the ages.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty