This particular take of Midnight Rambler just might be my favorite Rolling Stones tune. It's certainly not an infatuation with the subject matter, which is third & first person Boston Strangler, but the music, driving rhythm, and complexity of the song. Maybe it's the fact that the main riff is straight Chuck Berry with a very clever variation of the rhythm. Richards may be as significant an innovator of his influences as say, Robert Johnson was with his. Take a song like Son House' My Black Mama reworked by Johnson into Walking Blues, or conversely Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen reworked by Richards into Midnight Rambler!
The lyrical arrangement is quite different than the studio version.
(There is hand clapping in the left channel during the opening riff)
Line 1. I talkin' bout the midnight rambler
Line 2. E...everybody got to go
Line 3. Well I'm a talkin' 'bout the midnight gambler
Line 4. The one you never seen before
Line 5. I'm sighin' down the wind so sadly
Line 6. A listen and you hear me moan
Line 7. Well I'm a talkin' 'bout the midnight gambler
Line 8. E...every got to go
Line 9. "Yeah tell-on"(Marker #1)
Line 10. Talkin' 'bout the Midnight Gambler
Line 11. The one you never seen before
Line 12. I'm talkin' 'bout the Midnight Rambler
Line 13. A did ya see me jump the garden wall
Line 14. I don't give you a hoot of a warning
Line 15. A dressed up in a black cat cloak
Line 16. I don't dig the light of this morning
Line 17 I split the time the cockerel crows
Instrumental Break #1: Jagger can play the harp like nobody's business
Line 18. I'm talkin' 'bout the Midnight Rambler
Line 19. Well...the one that stole the rock 'n roll sho
Line 20. Well I'm a talkin' 'bout the Midnight Gambler
Line 21. E...everybody got to go
At 2:10 Instrumental Break #2: Check out Charlie!
The following vocal lines are muffled:
Theory: Jagger has his hands cupped around the mic. and harp. He is speaking through the harp without playing it, which produces these nearly inaudible sounds.
Line 22. "Whoa...whoa"(Marker #2)
Line 23. (A and Oh) don't do that (9 times)
I believe he's talking to the crowd here:
Line 23. Hello sweety
Line 24. Unintelligible lines. I've been trying to figure these out since I was in me short trousers. Still no luck.
At 4:14 there is electronic noise present in the recording. Maybe some 60 cycle disturbance.
Instrumental Break #3
At 4:31 Part I of the song ends. It is marked by a drum crash and a change in tempo. There is more electronic noise at this point.
Line 25. Yeah (the crowd mic. "comes-up" in the left channel)
Line 26. Well all right
Line 27. Oh yeah well all...
Line 28. Ry ry ry ry right ry right ry right (improvised)
Line 29. Oh yeah...oh yeah...yeah...yeah...yeah...yeah...yuup
Line 30. Well...you heard about the Boston...
Line 31. Man in the crowd: "G*d-dang-it"(Marker #3)
Line 32. Honey it's not one of those...
Line 33. Woman in the crowd shrieks: "Yeah"(Marker #4)
Line 34. Talkin' 'bout the midnight...sh*t
Line 35. Did you see me jump the bedroom door
Line 36. I'm called a hit and run raper in anger
Line 37. Or just a knife sharpened tippy toe
Line 38. Or just a shoot 'em dead brainbell "jang-gler"
(jongleur is French for juggler)
Line 39. Everybody got to go
Line 40. If ya...ever meet the Midnight Rambler
Line 41. And he's prow-lin' down your marble hall
Line 42. And he's prancin' like a...proud Black Panther
Line 43. You should say I...told you so
Line 44. If ya listen for...the Midnight Rambler
Line 45. Play it easy...easy...as you go
Line 46. I'm gonna smash down on your...plate glass windows
Line 47. Put my fist...through your...steel plated do..ooors
Line 48. I've got my terror...he's gonna come my door
Instrumental Break #4
At 7:42 Part II of the song ends. Tempo change.
Line 49. Yeah(Marker #5 at 7:47)
Line 50. Yeah(Marker #6 at 8:07)
Line 51. Well I'm a talkin' 'bout the Midnight Rambler
Line 52. The one you never seen before
Line 53. Well I'm a talkin' 'bout the...Midnight Rambler
Line 54. A-did you see me jump your...garden wall
Line 55. And if you ever catch...the Midnight Rambler
Line 56. Steal your mis-tress...from under your nose
Line 57. Go it easy with your cloak and dang-ger (dagger)
Line 58. I'll stick my...knife right down your throat
Line 59. And baby that hurts
At 8:49 Part III and the song end.
Not a pretty picture. Original punk/grunge/angst rockers without a doubt! Several groups have been inspired by this particular song including AC/DC's Night Prowler, and musically Rod Stewart's Born Loose. A blatant Chuck Berry, with three long parts (fast-slow-fast), also divided by tempo changes.
B. Reference Recordings, Markers and Conclusions:
1. Compared to MSG November 27, 1969 audience source
Lines 5-7: Are replaced by lines 14 -17
No Marker #1
Lines 14-17: Are replaced by lines 5-7
Line 18: Starts with "Well..."
No Marker #2: Says: "All right...all right"
Line 23: "Don't do that" is 10 times versus 9
The improvised section from lines 25-29 is quite different
No Marker #3 and #4
Line 34: The one that shut...
Line 39: And if you ever catch...
Line 40: Is "Play it easy...as you go"
Line 41: Is "I'm gonna smash down on your fare Black Panther"(?)
Line 42: Is "Everybody...got to go"
Line 43: Is "And if you catch the Midnight Rambler"
No Line 47
No Marker #5 and #6
Line 50: Is "Gambler" not Rambler
Line 55: Is "take" not steal
2. Compared to MSG November 28, 1969 2nd audience source
All "markers" are present. The song is note-for-note and word-for-word the same as GYYYO. There are no overdubs that I can detect.
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