The Rock House All Stars – Let It Bleed Revisited: An Ovation From Nashville
10 songs – 48 minutes
This is an interesting one. Many acts over the years have paid tribute to The Rolling Stones, and rightfully so, given the Stones’ place in the pantheon of great rock and roll acts. Let It Bleed Revisited: An Ovation From Nashville, however, goes one step further, being a re-recording of the entire Let It Bleed album, the Stones’ classic 1969 release. “Wild Horses” (from the Stones’ 1971 Sticky Fingers) is also included as a bonus track.
The brainchild of Qualified Records, an independent record label based out of Nashville, TN, Let It Bleed Revisited features The Rock House All Stars (Kevin McKendree on keyboards and percussion, Yates McKendree on drums, John Heithaus on bass and Rob McNelley on electric and acoustic guitars) as the “house band”, with a variety of lead singers and guest musicians adding their various talents to different tracks.
Like the musicians, the singers are all top quality and include Jimmy Hall, Bekka Bramlett, Emil Justian, Lee Roy Parnell, Seth James, Rick Huckaby, Nalani Rothrock, Mike Farris, Wendy Moten, SARACHEL, Lilly Hiatt and Luke Bulla. Of the guest musicians, James Pennebaker adds mandolin and steel guitar to “Love In Vain” and “You Got The Silver”. Jimmy Hall and Stephen Hanner contribute harmonica to “Gimme Shelter” and “Midnight Rambler” respectively. Andrew Carney’s French Horn graces “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, while Luke Bulla adds fiddle to “Wild Horses” and “Country Honk”.
Produced by John Heithaus and Kevin McKendree and recorded at The Rock House in Franklin, TN, the sound is superb (not something that could necessarily be said about the Stones’ original release).
So, we have top drawer musicians, laying down excellent performances, matched by some superb vocal performances. What’s not to like? Well, there is the nagging issue of exactly what the album is intended to achieve. The original Let It Bleed is one of the most famous rock and roll LPs of all time. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005 and is on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. Further, tracks like “Gimme Shelter”, “Let It Bleed”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Midnight Rambler” are staples of rock radio stations around the world, known and recognised by music fans who may not even be fans of the Rolling Stones.
It could be an interesting exercise to re-imagine the songs in wholly new settings, using for example different instrumentation or time signatures. The versions on Let It Bleed Revisited, however, are all played extremely close to the originals, with the harmonicas and guitars often playing the same licks as on the original recordings.
There is also a blessed sloppiness to the Stones’ originals, which help to breathe real personality into the songs, and which is something that is almost impossible to recreate.
If you are a Stones fan, you will probably enjoy hearing new recordings of some of the lesser-known tracks from the album, such as “You Got The Silver” or “Monkey Man.” It’s difficult to see this appealing to a wider audience, however.
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