Holy shit is this revelatory. Wonderfully demonstrates how the Rolling Stones sound is more than just the sum of its parts, with the component tracks of one of their key songs, “Gimme Shelter,” from 1969’s Let it Bleed album.
The vocal harmonies of Mick Jagger and Merry Clayton are nothing short of astonishing, heard naked here. Clayton’s performance was one of the most significant contributions of a woman to a Stones number. “Rape, murder; It’s just a shot away, It’s just a shot away…” Listen to what happens to her voice at about 2:30 to 3:00 minutes in. Fantastic! (Clayton’s great cover version of “Gimme Shelter” would enter the Billboard Top 100 charts the following year).
Keith Richards’ rhythm guitar track:
Keith Richards’ second guitar and Nicky Hopkins on piano:
Bill Wyman, was, of course one of the greatest bassists in rock music history, up there with John Entwistle and John Paul Jones, but less showy than either. Listen as he holds down the maelstrom that is this song with this bass-line. Outstanding!
And Charlie Watts is just a human metronome here. Have you ever head a more perfect drum track this side of Jaki Leibezeit??? (Jimmy Miller, who produced Let It Bleed on percussion here, too).
Thank you, Tara McGinley!