Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
(2002) - Abkco
by Matt Rowe of The Digital Bits
Audio Ratings (SACD 2.0/CD 2.0): A-/B-*
Extras Rating: N/A
Specs and Features
48 mins, single-sided, dual-layered (SACD/CD Hybrid Disc), tri-fold
CD digipak packaging, track access (10 tracks - see
track listing below), audio formats: SACD DSD 2.0 & CD PCM
by Rolling Stones and Glyn Johns
Mastering: Bob Ludwig/Gateway Mastering
DSD Engineer: Gus Skinas
Mick Jagger (lead vocals/guitar), Keith Richards (guitars/vocals),
Mick Taylor (guitars/vocals), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts
(drums) and featuring Ian Stewart (piano)
Rolling Stones have produced some of the world's most enduring rock
and roll albums, from their entrance in the early 60s, to their
dominance in the 70s, and on up to the present time. They are
currently treating fans with yet another tour (for future reference,
this "tour", called Licks, began on September 3rd, 2002,
in Boston and finished its US leg on February 6th 2003). The fans
are legion, the songs many, and some of their albums are legendary.
That's the thick of it. You could say that The Rolling Stones are to
rock what the Bible is to Christianity, and you would not be
wrong... nor would you be much disputed.
While many of The Stones studio albums are extraordinary, they fail
to capture the raw brilliance that one of their better live albums
can easily reveal. The Stones have quite a collection of live titles
available and they're all good. But the one that stands out, the one
that can keep you coming back for more, is 1970's Get
Yer Ya-Ya's Out. This live disc is so good that it still
raises the hairs on my arms, even after some 32 years of deepening
the grooves on my LP from repeated play. Recorded in 1969 (in what
proved to be a difficult year for the band) at Madison Square Garden
on November 27th and 28th, Get Yer
Ya-Ya's Out documents a wildly successful tour and for
good reason. The Rolling Stones were on a course that would carry
them to immortality.
In 1969, The Stones waded through the muck with the departure of
band leader/originator Brian Jones, who was later found dead in his
pool. Between that departure and the discovery of Jones' demise, a
young guitarist, Mick Taylor, plucked from John Mayall's blues band,
began his rocky stint as the new hired gun. Also in 1969, the
ill-fated Altamont free concert occurred. So, The Stones had both
heartbreak and triumphs. This recording of those Madison Square
Garden concerts documents not only the achievement of The Stones,
but also the beating heart of Rock and Roll. There aren't just
moments on this disc. The whole thing is a moment in music history,
suspended in perfection.
There are ten dynamically performed songs on the disc, with two
penned by Chuck Berry (Carol,
Little Queenie), one by the
inimitable Robert Johnson (Love in Vain)
and the other seven by the fertile collaboration of Jagger/Richards.
Of the seven Stones originals, all of them have gone on to achieve
classic status, defining the era as well as the band.
This review of this live masterpiece is also a first look at the
high resolution audio format known as Super Audio CD or SACD.
Recently, Abkco re-released their catalog of Stones albums in
remastered form, something they'd held off doing for a long time,
making it long overdue. But it was worth the wait. Using a process
known as Direct Stream Digital (DSD), digital encoding of analog
signals, the industry can now remaster at a much higher sampling
rate. Without drawing out the technical aspects of this, the
sampling rate of SACDs can achieve 2.8 MHz, much higher than CD
standard's 44.1 kHz. For the moment, suffice it to say that music on
SACD can not only shine, it can rock!
On Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out, the
SACD stereo mix is nothing short of amazing. The sound of every bass
rip, of every drumstick fall, of every uttered word is accentuated.
The timbre and nuances of Mick Jagger's vocals are stunningly clean
and clear, but in a purely natural way. Gone is the "same pitch"
tinny quality of CDs. When Mick growls here, it's an unmistakable
growl. When he talks, you can hear the tonal changes of his voice.
The guitars of Keith Richards and Mick Taylor are beefy and full.
When Keith rips, the strums are heard for what they are - his plucks
resonate and linger. When Mick gives us his bluesy slide treatments
for Robert Johnson's Love in Vain,
you can hear the depth and the pressure of the slide. Wyman's bass
becomes a true rhythm, sounding like bass should - deep, rich and
recognizable. Watts' drumming sounds as perfect as it will ever get
with the clear sound of the sticks bouncing off the skins. And as a
listener, you're so bleedin' blown away you'll want to cry.
From a concert setting perspective, the staging is spectacular, not
only in the expansiveness of the soundstage but also in the true
ambient sense. Anyone who has attended a concert recognizes the live
sounds that make up a show. It's a hard thing to explain, but I
think you're with me on this. This disc brings out the true
qualities of a live show to the fullest extent. The audience is well
defined to the point that the girl uttering the infamous lines "Paint
it black... paint it black... paint it black, you devils"
sounds as if she is next to you, as if you can hear her moving. The
transient sound of the crowd as you absorb the spacing is evident.
You can hear someone on the left as well as on the right.
What all this means is that depth becomes a real thing, even in a
stereo recording, given the DSD treatment. This makes every song on
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out a new
experience, a musical tour de force. I don't have to tell Stones
followers how good this album is; they already know it. But what I
can tell them is that, for now, they can't hear it in any better
quality than the SACD version of the disc.
But if you don't have an SACD player, don't despair. Abkco has
thoughtfully made these re-issues hybrid SACD/CD discs, by layering
on a standard CD that doesn't need a specialized player. That means
you can play this disc in your car, in your Walkman, and at home.
The CD portion has also been remastered using DSD technology. It's
not as rich and enveloping as the SACD version, but it is a
magnificent improvement over the original issue, and an excellent CD
recording in its own right. This hybrid disc concept represents a
fantastic boost of faith and goodwill by the label. Not only do you
get the value of an excellent remastered recording that you can
enjoy right now in your standard CD player, you'll also get greatly
improved quality from the same disc when you upgrade your equipment
to SACD. And at roughly $18 give or take, the price isn't that much
greater than a standard CD release.
The disc comes in a tri-fold digipak package. The artwork is
original as found on the LP. Inside are track listings and credits
with an explanation of the DSD/SACD process. You may find yourself
confused when looking for these Rolling Stones Abkco remastered
catalogue discs, because there is nothing on the outside of the
packaging to alert the consumer that they're SACD/CD hybrid discs.
So you heard it here, folks. Every reissued Stones discs from Abkco
is an SACD/CD hybrid disc - there are no separately packaged
As a Stones fans, after hearing this disc, I'm now setting out to
add all of the remastered Stones SACDs to my collection. They're
that good. And if you're in a music store one day, and you happen to
hear someone shouting, "Paint it black!"... it's probably
just me, still intoxicated from spinning this disc.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Stray Cat Blues
Love in Vain
Sympathy for the Devil
Live With Me
Honky Tonk Women
Street Fighting Man