Foxes In The Boxes, Vol. Two
Early Dirty Work Sessions
01 Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
02 Talk Is Cheap
03 What Am I Supposed To Do
04 Stick It Where It Hurts
05 Can’t Cut The Mustard 1
06 Can’t Cut The Mustard 2
07 Can’t Cut The Mustard 3 (fragment)
08 Victor Hugo
Dirty Work Sessions: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, February 1985
Hello and welcome to JEMS' Foxes In The Boxes, the second volume in a series featuring unreleased studio sessions from the Rolling Stones, circa 1979-85. Based on our research, along with the expertise of Stones sessionologist N, who helped us sort through these tapes, we believe the Foxes In The Boxes series offers a small trove of previously uncirculated material along with upgrades and a few familiar outtake favorites from new source tapes. All of Volume Two is wholly unreleasedt.
The series is titled Foxes In The Boxes in homage to its source: boxes of in-house cassette tapes obtained by JEMS from someone "on the inside" of a major record label in the '70s and '80s. It is also a rhyming nod to the bootleg Static In the Attic (Midnight Beat), which mined the same sessions for kindred material and to which we believe Foxes makes a worthy companion. Samples provided.
Some tracks in the series have been previously rumored, some are wholly new finds, while others improve on previously circulating versions. There are a few frustrating fragments, too, but what's presented here is exactly what was on the tapes, which were seemingly meant to capture and present in-progress status on Stones sessions and to preserve ideas for future consideration.
Volume Two focuses solely on the February 1985 Dirty Work sessions in Paris, as captured on a single cassette tape. What’s fascinating about these monitor mixes is that, after the first track, Mick departs and Keith takes over, which explains the appearance of songs like “Talk Is Cheap” which would become the title of Richards’ 1988 solo album.
As we learned from his autobiography, Life, tension between Mick and Keith was running high at the time because of Mick’s budding solo career. Scheduling conflicts between Mick supporting She’s The Boss and recording the new Stones album caused a rift and explain why he isn’t present on the rest of the tracks.
But Mick’s absence is what makes the recording especially compelling, as we get to hear Keith leading the Stones through his material, venting frustrations with Mick in the process, especially on the final song. With that said, let's go track by track:
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever: The Stones started the Dirty Work sessions by warming up with some cover versions, and this Four Tops song (written by Stevie Wonder and Ivy Jo Hunter) is one of the few to circulate so far; this version being an upgrade. While Mick’s vocals are a touch soft, overall it is a fine and, at times, enchanting performance, not to mention it being a song that could have made a great Stones track
Talk Is Cheap: Over 11 minutes long, “Talk Is Cheap” is in the vein of Keith’s Dirty Work contribution, “Sleep Tonight.” The single guitar suggests Ron Wood is probably playing bass. Richards never finished this ballad, but the title stuck and was used on his first solo album in 1988.
What Am I Supposed To Do: Early version of “What Am I Gonna Do With Your Love.” Long, 15+ minute jam around the title phrase, performed by The Podiums, the pseudo band consisting of Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Womack and Don Covay formed as yet another way to kill time when Jagger was not around during the Paris sessions. One of two Podiums tracks to surface from the Dirty Work sessions (the other being “Sending Out Invitations”).
Stick It Where It Hurts: Likely a Ronnie Wood composition, as he sings the guide vocals. The title phrase offers the only words which can be clearly made out.
Can’t Cut The Mustard 1-2: Early versions of “Had It With You,” though the eventual title phrase is not yet present. Some singing by Ronnie Wood again (together with Richards), as he co-wrote the music to the song. Already circulating, but these are upgrades and include some studio chatter.
Can’t Cut The Mustard 3: Fragment of a third take, but this stays instrumental and gets abandoned after half a minute.
Victor Hugo: An absolutely fascinating fly-on-the-wall track. Presumably pissed off about Jagger missing sessions and abandoning the Stones, Richards improvises a nasty set of lyrics about his bandmate, going so far as to refer to him by the derisive nickname, Brenda. “Victor Hugo” showcases Keef at his vitriolic and profanity-laced best.
JEMS offers its huge thanks to N, who helped us sort through the tapes and provided invaluable insight in ascertaining what we had. The song-by-song notes above are culled from N's essential contributions. Pitch adjustments come courtesy of Goody, who lent us his keen ear and his unwavering commitment to A440. Thank you, Goody. SkipKid68 also chimed in with valuable feedback, so thanks to him, too. The much-appreciated official cover art is courtesy of ethiessen1. And last but not least, kudos to mjk5510, who came on board at the start and helped finish the project to get it into your hands.
BK for JEMS
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