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Brian Jones: The Stone that Fell

on Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:43 pm
This is a more compact version of a topic I set up on the Capitol Board from 2 Nov 2009 to 8 Feb 2010. I have only made use of my own posts. Many of the original YouTube links had been removed----I've managed to find satisfactory replacements for all but one. And since then I've had to replace another nine links. YouTube is a fickle animal, it seems.  


Let's start with this early footage of "Not Fade Away" with BJ on "vamper"...
In lieu of anything else, here is Brian's wiki page.

This thread was prompted by a book written by Graham Ride, who shared digs in Cheltenham with "Jonah" before he left for good for London, fame, fortune and a tragic decline. Called Foundation Stone, it's a brilliant read...

My interest in Brian Jones actually began in Cheltenham in 2007 when, thumbing through a copy of Country Life magazine in the hotel room (I must have been bored!) it mentioned in passing the house (in Eldorado Road) where Jones had spent his early years (whether he was born there I don't know*). So we went and had a look...
 




Cheltenham is still obviously a fairly snooty place as folks there even today are disparaging about Brian Jones. He was obviously no angel (he had a cruel streak) but for the town's main bookshop not to have anything about him (in 2007 at least) is scandalous. :=(
Nor did they have anything on Gustav Holst (the internationally famous composer of The Planets and even better things), who lived and worked in the Cheltenham area most of his life. Still, Holst's birthplace is a museum with a modest shop and admittedly there is little in print about him these days (just as scandalous, of course).

Just imagine it's 1967 and you're wandering through the crowds at Monterey and then suddenly ...
Brian would introduce Jimi onstage.
Eric Burdon & The Animals did a song about the festival. Check out the line about BJ at 1:51.
I remember when Burdon's "Monterey" was played on BBC Radio One and Eric sang the lines "If you wanna find the truth in life, Don't pass music by", the DJ said this was pretentious twaddle or something----in the middle of the song! He forgot to add that it was music by Eric Burdon and all the other folks mentioned in the song that was making him a comfortable living. Prat.

Nothing like a "Little Red Rooster" to start your day...
Bottleneck guitar, according to teenage friend Graham Ride's book Foundation Stone, was one of Brian's great musical strengths, the others being blues harmonica and rhythm guitar. Jones used to be a jazz snob and had a massive vocabulary of guitars chords of all shapes and sizes. Of course, this didn't mean a jot in his work with the Stones. Even mouth harp and slide guitar didn't figure that much after the early days...
Brian had only a basic grasp of all the other instruments he played, in Ride's opinion. Basic it may have been, it all adds a fantastic dimension of colour to the Stones' first phase...

Does this belong in a "cover better than the original" thread? Maybe, thanks to Brian's forward-looking slide solo----"I Want To Be Your Man" was the perfect stepping, uh, stone to greater things but I just love the organ in the Beatles version... ;=)

Back or rather forward to 1967. On "Ruby Tuesday", Brian shows an above-average grasp of the recorder----those staccato broken chords are tricky...

Actually, I'm not a great Stones fan, it's having been on BJ's old stamping ground in Cheltenham that kindled my interest in him. He's a truly tragic figure. Keith Richards even said after Jones's funeral (it's on YouTube somewhere) that some people are just not meant to grow old...

"Lady Jane" features Brian on dulcimer...

Not sure what the purists thought of Mr Jones taking up the sitar, but the purists always were a sneaky bunch.  
This is "Paint It Black"...

Things were already turning sour for Brian----judging from the promo vid----by the time the magnificent "We Love You" was released, although he does contributes some wonderfully manic mellotron...
One of my favourite Stones songs (with a Beatle or two on backing vocals)...

All change to marimba for "Under My Thumb"...

It's a fallacy that Brian played accordion on "Back Street Girl". That's Nick de Caro (as confirmed by Stones producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham). Brian is on glockenspiel and (distant) organ...

If I've got my facts right (I'm not a big Stones fan really), it was Brian who founded the Stones, not Keith and/or Mick. He was even paid more in the beginning (as their musical director?) and insisted on staying at different hotels to the rest, who of course resented this and gradually eased him out of the limelight and out of the Stones, no doubt with Andrew Oldham's encouragement. As I say, if I've got my facts right, otherwise shoot me...  
Anyway, here's "Dandelion" with Brian on oboe (not the easiest of instruments) and----according to Wikipedia, in which case it's buried deep in the mix----sax.

This is "2000 Man" with Jonah on organ this time...
On this same album (Their Satanic Majesties...), which apparently he hated, Brian even indulges in a little theremin (end of side one) among the arsenal of instruments he banged, blew, scraped and depressed on TSMRAR.

Jones plays sustained notes on sax (not trumpet, as reported earlier) on the B-side of "Jumping Jack Flash", the moody "Child Of The Moon"...

This is "You Got The Silver", Brian's last recording with the Stones, on which he plays autoharp. Richards sings the version on Let it Bleed; here Jagger is doing the honours...

This is music by the Master Musicians of Joujouka that Brian recorded on a trip to Morocco in 1968. Amazing album, with phasing added to some of the tracks----to great effect.  

"Sittin' On A Fence" was a UK hit in 1966 for Twice As Much. The Stones' own version features Brian on harpsichord.

"2120 South Michigan Avenue" is an instrumental workout highlighted by some stunning harpwork from Brian.
Graham Ride who wrote about his months sharing a flat with Jones in Cheltenham claimed he still hadn't mastered the note-bending technique when he left for London.
In that case he made prodigious advances in a very short time indeed...  

Rest in peace, Brian.


* It would seem that this was indeed his first home: https://cheltenham4u.blogspot.nl/2007/08/rolling-stones-tour-of-cheltenham.html

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