Rolling Stones — Exile On Main Street


Limited edition double LP — half-speed mastered on 180-gram vinyl

The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street is a sprawling mix of genres — from blues and country to swing, R&B and gospel. It features a rare lead vocal from Keith Richards on Happy, as well as the world-wide top-10 hit Tumbling Dice.

This limited edition pressing of Exile On Main Street was half-speed mastered for a clear, crisp sound with much better stereo separation and attention to sonic details. The original Exile On Main Street album packaging is replicated for this re-issue, including 12 postcard inserts photographed by Norman Seeff, art director for the 1972 release.

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There’s a lot going on in this sprawling Rolling Stones classic — from the gospel choir on Loving Cup and Shine A Light to the sinister honk of Mick’s harmonica work on Ventilator Blues and Turd On the Run. Ben Ratliff of The New York Times sums it up well, calling Exile On Main Street, “a dark, dense, loosely played, semiconscious tour through American blues, gospel and country music, recorded in a basement in France.”

The darkness also permeates Exile On Main Street’s iconic cover, featuring documentary photographer Robert Frank’s jarring 1958 image Tattoo Parlor, 8th Avenue, New York City — a collage of circus performers and freaks, including “Three Ball Charlie,” a 1930s sideshow performer pictured with a tennis ball, golf ball and billiards 5-ball in his mouth. If you’re a fan of black-white verité, check out Robert Frank’s widely influential and highly provocative photographic book, The Americans, here.

Side 1:

  1. Rocks Off
  2. Rip This Joint
  3. Shake Your Hips
  4. Casino Boogie
  5. Tumbling Dice

Side 2:

  1. Sweet Virginia
  2. Torn and Frayed
  3. Sweet Black Angel
  4. Loving Cup

Side 3:

  1. Happy
  2. Turd on the Run
  3. Ventilator Blues
  4. I Just Want to See His Face
  5. Let It Loose

Side 4:

  1. All Down the Line
  2. Stop Breaking Down
  3. Shine a Light
  4. Soul Survivor

The Rolling Stone’s classic Exile On Main Street has been half-speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios using 24bit/96khz digital transfers supplied by the Stones and made from the original 1/4" tapes. The result is a pressing with superior high frequency response (treble) that reveals a new depth to the recordings.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, the half-speed mastering process involves playing back the original master tape at half its recorded speed (16-2/3 RPM), while the cutting lathe is similarly turned at half the desired playback speed. This allows the cutting head twice the time to cut the intricate groove into the master lacquer, giving it considerably more sonic accuracy. Because both the source and the cut were running at half their “normal” speeds, everything plays back at the right speed when the record is played at home.

Half-speed mastering of the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street would typically take more than four times as long as cutting a normal record, but the results are a clear, crisp sound with much better stereo separation than previous versions.




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