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The Shuffle: 'Sway'

Here's a new feature for If the Six: "The Shuffle," posts about single songs from bands you've heard and bands you've never heard of.

I'm going to Buffalo next Tuesday night to see Mick Taylor at the Tralf. As old folks like me remember, Taylor played guitar for the Rolling Stones on what I think are the Stones' two best albums: "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street."

I started thinking today about how many Taylor solos really stand out from his Stones years, and the song "Sway," from "Sticky Fingers," came to mind. "Sway" isn't a song you immediately think of when you think of the Stones; indeed, it's an overlooked gem. I've been listening to it for almost 40 years, and I can't say I ever understood half of the lyrics. But one of the great things about rock 'n' roll is that you don't necessarily have to follow all of the words to get a feeling from the song.

Anyway, as I went to my music library to play "Sway" tonight, I did a Google search for the lyrics. My goodness. They are magnificent. The song begins:

Did you ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind
Destroyed your notion of circular time

And then the chorus, words I've never been able to decipher, which perhaps contributed to their heart-punch impact when I saw them:

It's just that demon life has got you in its sway
It's just that demon life has got you in its sway

The lyrics continue, gloomy yet defiant:

Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground
For all my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling getting so brought down

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

After a few less powerful lines and an instrumental break comes the final verse, with an amazing image at the end:

Hey, hey, hey now
One day I woke up to find
Right in the bed next to mine
Someone that broke me up with a corner of her smile, yeah

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway ...

Do yourself a favor: find the song in your library or someplace online where you can listen to it, Google up the lyrics, and get lost in the sounds of a legendary band at the peak of its power, sounds that include licks by as fluid and bluesy an electric guitarist as you're likely to hear. I really hate to sound like a nostalgic old fart, but "Sway" is as good as rock gets.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
My brain stopped and stalled at "Mick Taylor at the Tralf." REALLY?

I suddenly suspect I may be going out on a work night. Worthy cause and all that.

And don't call me old. Young folks can have good taste in music too. :P
May. 5th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
If you decide to go, give me a shout. We can drink at the bar and get caught up while the opening act plays.

May. 5th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
I may. My second thoughts tell me my boss has an endorsement announcement that night, but I think it'll be over in the realm of earlyish. So perchance afterward, that would be an excellent means of decompression. I'll give you a shout if I do.
May. 7th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
never mind. Concert delayed and/or cancelled due to Taylor's illness. Boo.
May. 7th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Boo is right. I went online trying to find out what was wrong with him, and I found this, which is worth a read even though it's not related to his illness:

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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