A couple of years ago I reviewed, and listened too, over thirty Rolling Stones albums and decided that Exile On Main Street ranked number one in my personal Stones hierarchy. The Mick Taylor years were a strong period for the Stones and this was their finest effort.
They have certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of that album recently. There has been a remastered edition, a new vinyl edition, a rarities edition, a collectables edition, a huge box set, and who knows what else.
The latest entry into the Exile On Main Street sweepstakes is the DVD documentary Stones In Exile. It combines archival footage from the era, stills, voice overs, and interviews to form, not only an excellent picture of the album's creation, but also of this important period in the life of The Rolling Stones.
I do have two criticisms. The first is while the DVD contains close to two and a half hours of material, the actual documentary clocks in at only 61 minutes. The rest is bonus material, and I feel some of it could have been used to lengthen and enhance the film. Secondly, interviews with the likes of Liz Phair, Sheryl Crow, and Jack White have little depth and are more cheerleading than informative. On the positive side interviews with Don Was, Jeremy Miller, Mick Taylor, and particularly Keith Richards and Bill Wyman are top notch. Richards and his heroin addiction is chilling. I have seen and heard Bill Wyman interviewed a number of times, and he is always amusing and connected and such is the case here.
The rare footage is interesting but I wish there was more of it. The home movie footage of Nellcote is mesmerizing. The footage from Stargroves and Olympic studios is equally interesting.
Director Stephen Kijak has done an excellent job assembling the material. The story hangs together well and, while it may not present the complete story of the album, it does cover the basics well.
I find it interesting that the Rolling Stones were influenced by such musical icons as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Robert Johnson; and now, nearly fifty years into their career, they have assumed the role of elder statesmen.
Who knows how much material The Rolling Stones have stored away, but if Exile on Main Street in general and this DVD are any indication, their fans can expect exciting additions to their catalogue for years to come.
Stones In Exile just about completes the Exile story. All in all it is an interesting, if incomplete, look at one of the great rock ‘n’ roll groups in music history creating a legendary album. It is well worth the price and time especially if you are a fan of the group.