On Let It Bleed, the Stones did not have much of a second guitarist mainly because Brian Jones had died just a few short months before the album had been released. He was ultimately replaced by Mick Taylor although he also only plays on two of the tracks. The Stones were never the most consistent when it came to the producing of albums, they always had very good ones and a few not as good albums. On the album, there would be the first time ever to hear Keith Richards have the lead vocals in a song, that song would be "You Got the Silver". They also decided to try and tackle the legendary Robert Johnson song, "Love In Vain". Also, two of the Rolling Stone's most popular and most loved songs appear on this album, "Country Honk" which is a real rootsy sing-a-long song, and the brilliant "Gimme Shelter".
1) Gimme Shelter -
This song is considered by a great deal of people to be the best Stones song ever. Rightfully so, it is a great song, starting off with a brilliant buildup of guitars, which is very recognizable even if your new to the band. The great arrangement of guitar parts continues on for the most part of the song, after it is done it goes straight into Mick's almost threatening vocals. The lyrics in the song touch on some controversial subjects such as death and rape. What really brings light to the vocals however is the backup vocals performed by Mary Clayton, who goes throughout the song greatly reinforcing the lead of Mick. Overall this is a great song, many consider it the band's best, but there is many more songs I like more than this. However, I do believe it is one of the best on this album.
2) Love In Vain -
This is a brilliant rendition of a Muddy Waters classic, and as with any cover that the Stones have ever done they surely put their stamp on it, and turn it into their own. The song starts off with the soft whisper of Keith's acoustic guitar, this provides the backbone for the rest of the song. Although there is some great slide work that is provided courtesy of Mick Taylor. Ry Cooder's comes in as a guest and plays mandolin on the song, and adds even more feeling to the song, making it achieve the impossible and become better than it already was. For a cover this is a great song. Maybe even surpassing the original which is not the easiest thing to do.
3) Country Honk -
Here is a song that comes off very rootsy and quite easy to sing a long to. There is nothing too spectacular going on production wise throughout most of the song. Sounds almost like something they could've came up with in a bar. The song starts off with a very simple acoustic rhythym which is really rootsy as I said before and just gives off a fabulous vibe for the rest of the song. Some people may recognize the lyrics in the song because it is basically the same song as "Honky Tonk Women" only it is a more stripped down, rootsy version of it. Which includes a violin, to just add to the vibe of this song. The violin is definitely one of the highlight features that is going on throught the entire song. Pretty Good song.
4) Live With Me -
This song is quite a bit more upbeat and intense than the past few mellow tracks. Starts off with a nice bassline that really provides the backbone for the song. The interplay between the bass and the electric guitar in this song, is really key to the entire song. Towards the middle of the song there comes a Saxophone out of nowhere, which was unexpected but still goes great with the rest of the song. As for the lyrics in the song, I'm not really the biggest fan of them in this particular song, I would've thought that he could've came up with some better lyrics than the ones displayed in this song. This is a pretty good song.
5) Let It Bleed -
Starts off with a nice acoustic rhythym, then Mick's vocals come into the song, and he has a different tone in his voice than he does on most of the other songs. Most people would find the lyrics a little bit cheesy in this song, I do agree on some moments throughout the song. The slide guitar in the song is very good as well, and is quite the surprise because they usually do not use very much slide in their songs. Other than the slide there is really nothing that spectacular happening inside the song. Okay song.
6) Midnight Rambler -
This is a very typical blues song, consisiting of the standard blues rhythym, and quite a bit of harmonica. The same thing is going on for the most part of the song. I find the lyrics in this song to just be alright just like many of the songs contained on the album. As the song gets closer to the end, the harmonica seems to almost get better by the minute. When the harmonica playing is at its fastest is probaly the climax of the song, because other than that there is really nothing too special going on.
Its a good song for what they were trying to accomplish, which was just a simple blues-rocker. Towards the end there is a pretty interesting guitar solo, that goes great with the rest of the song, and closes the song out pretty good.
7) You Got The Silver -
On "You Got The Silver" it is the first chance that Keith Richards had ever had the chance to sing lead vocals on one of the Stones songs. Overall I would say he did alright, but Mick is definitely the better singer out of the two. The song in itself is a very simple, ballad like song, like alot of other songs on the rest of the album. It has some very intersting and good acoustic guitar work, which goes for most of the song. In the background you can hear the obvious slide guitar, which by far shines over the acoustic guitar, although they seem to go great together with each other. Towards the middle of the song it starts to kick up and the drums come in and goes on with that for the rest of the song length.
8) Monkey Man -
Some of you may recognize this song from the furious chase scene at the end of the movie "Goodfellas". The song is similar to that of "Gimme Shelter" because it is an epic of sorts meaning that it builds up from the start and gradually gets better until the end of the song. However, one of the real highlights in the song is in the middle section, when the guitar and the piano intertwine perfectly. The guitar riff is probaly one of the better ones on the album, and goes throughout the whole song, so that is what ends the song as probaly predicted. One of the better songs on the album.
9) You Can't Always Get What You Want -
The song starts off with the very apparent oper style singing, they will ultimately sing the first verse of the song, before the real first verse is sung(if that makes sense). Then the song goes straight into an emotional acoustic ballad, as quite a few others included on this album. Soon afterwards, other instruments join in and that brings the song to go into full tilt. This is a very recognizable song its one of their more popular songs, and it has been used in a variety of different movies. It is definitely one of the better tracks on the album, if not the best on here. The arrangement of this, is wonderfully done, and well thought out.