LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The label that controls the rights to the 1960s recordings by the Rolling Stones has cracked open its extensive vaults to reissue a live album that captured the band during its youthful glory.
ABKCO Music & Records is putting out a pair of multi-disc CD and DVD configurations of “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out,” a 1970 album frequently heralded as one of the band’s best releases as well as one of the most vibrant live recordings by any group.
The album consists of songs mainly recorded during a two-night stand at New York’s Madison Square Garden in November 1969, when icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Chuck Berry lined up to pay homage to the band backstage.
The band’s winter trek, its first U.S. tour in three years, was viewed as a comeback of sorts following a series of drug busts and the death of ousted co-founder Brian Jones four months earlier. The group, with new virtuoso guitarist Mick Taylor on board, unveiled such future classics as the nine-minute “Midnight Rambler” to mesmerizing effect.
“If you were there, you can relive it. And if it’s your first time listening to it, you get a sense of what was going on in music at that time -- how it was exploding, how it was so exciting,” ABKCO CEO Jody Klein told Reuters.
The “deluxe” package, coming out on November 3, includes a remastered version of the album, sourced from the original vinyl; a disc featuring opening acts B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner; a five-track disc boasting previously unreleased live Stones tracks; a DVD with 27 minutes of footage; and a 56-page booklet.
A “super deluxe version,” due out two weeks later, also includes vinyl versions of the three audio discs.
“You look at the DVD and you see how the fans are right up on stage,” Klein said. “Mick Jagger is sitting right in front of them. What concert have you been to in the last 20 years that has that anymore?”
Make that 40 years. Those innocent days ended forever a week after the New York shows, when the Stones played a free concert at the Altamont speedway near San Francisco. A Hell’s Angels member stabbed a gun-toting fan to death in front of the stage, as seen in the concert documentary “Gimme Shelter.”
The “Ya-Ya‘s” project marks ABKCO’s first major release since Klein’s father, company founder Allen Klein, died in July. The company is family-controlled, but frequently receives buyout overtures from “venture capitalists or multi-billionaires or record labels or publishing companies,” Klein said. He declined to go into specifics.
The ABKCO roster also includes recordings by the likes of Sam Cooke, the Animals and the Kinks. The lucrative publishing division boasts more than 2,000 copyrights for compositions written by the likes of Pete Townshend of the Who and Ray Davies of the Kinks.
Allen Klein, an accountant who cut his teeth extracting unpaid royalties for the likes of Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke, briefly managed the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s, and was also a key player in the bitter break-up of the Beatles.
The Stones fired him, but paid a heavy price. Klein ended up with all their master recordings through the “Ya-Ya‘s” album, and the copyrights for a few years beyond that.
Relations between the two camps were strained for years, and ABKCO further annoyed the Stones by releasing compilations. But the differences were patched over in 1989, and they have worked together on projects since.
The detente is not exactly great news for Stones fans, as Klein shares Jagger’s reluctance to put out archival material such as unreleased demos, outtakes and live recordings.
“There’s a time and a place for those things, and the time has not come yet,” Klein said. “The Rolling Stones are still making records.”
The paucity of rarities in the new “Ya-Ya‘s” package raised some fans’ eyebrows. The five previously unreleased audio tracks are the blues tunes “Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move,” “Under My Thumb,” “I‘m Free” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Different versions of the same tracks appear on the DVD, which also includes amusing behind-the-scenes footage. So why not fill the audio disc with more curios?
“What you have on the EP is the best versions of those performances,” Klein said. “I‘m not flying in stuff from the BBC (vaults) and adding it just because there is extra space on the CD. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte