PERFORMER: THE ROLLING STONES
SONGWRITER: MICK JAGGER / KEITH RICHARDS
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1972
COMMENTS: A nasty little jagged slide guitar riff defines this record. You'd best watch out, cause it's a slippery little thing. One misstep, and it'll cut you right to the bone. Fortunately, Charlie is right there to keep it under control with a taut back beat on the cymbals and a few sharp, dramatic snaps on the snare.
It's no big fancy guitar line, less than a dozen notes, but for my money it is the best one hook on the whole classic Exiles on Main Street album. Indeed "Ventilator Blues" was not considered a featured song. It's buried somewhere near the bottom of the double album. Nonetheless, this song kicks my ass much harder than the more pop oriented "Tumbling Dice." Keef and Charlie have the song just about on the list before Mick ever even starts with the actual tune.
Thankfully, Mick sings a tune good enough to develop the brutal precept of the guitar riff. It comes out hard, and cold. He draws out the notes to savor the ass kicking he's describing. "When your... spiiine is crack-ing, and your... hands, they shake." Not that it sounds much like him, but this comes about the closest to the brutal authority of Howlin' Wolf of anything they did after "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
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