Song of the Week – Scarlet – Rolling Stones with Jimmy Page

My occasional Song of the Week post is done to feature a song that is – for one reason or another – of some interest. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great song but it is worth noting. 

Rolling Stone: “When the Rolling Stones rolled out details of their upcoming Goat’s Head Soup box set earlier this month, one of the most exciting elements was a previously unreleased song recorded with Jimmy Page titled “Scarlet.” The package isn’t coming out until September 4th, but on Wednesday, the band released the highly anticipated track. (The song is named for Page’s daughter with French model Charlotte Martin.)

The song was cut in October 1974 with Keith Richards and Page both handling guitar duties and Traffic’s Ric Grech on bass. “My recollection is we walked in at the end of a Zeppelin session,” Richards says in a statement. “They were just leaving, and we were booked in next and I believe that Jimmy decided to stay. We weren’t actually cutting it as a track; it was basically for a demo, a demonstration, you know, just to get the feel of it, but it came out well, with a lineup like that, you know, we better use it.‘”

In 1975, Page told Rolling Stone‘s Cameron Crowe that he thought the track was supposed to be a Stones B-side. “It sounded very similar in style and mood to those Blonde on Blonde tracks,” Page said. “It was great; really good. We stayed up all night and went down to Island Studios where Keith put some reggae guitars over one section. I just put some solos on it, but it was eight in the morning of the next day before I did that. He took the tapes to Switzerland and someone found out about them. Keith told people that it was a track from my album.”

“I remember first jamming this with Jimmy and Keith in Ronnie’s basement studio,” Mick Jagger says in a statement. “It was a great session. I really feel close to this album, and I really put all I had into it … I guess it comes across that I’m more into the songs,”

The new edition of Goat’s Head Soup also features the previously unreleased tracks “Criss Cross” and “All the Rage,” along with rare demos, alternate takes, and mixes, and a complete concert taped at a 1973 gig in Belgium previously released as A Brussels Affair.

So how is the song? Well, it’s got a funky feel to it but I wouldn’t call it one of their greats. Page’s guitar is nice, lyrical. But I don’t think it’s gonna have much more than historical interest. I look forward to hearing the unreleased songs. But there’s often a reason songs are unreleased. I once bought a version of Exile on Main Street that had leftover tunes and until I wrote this post, I’d completely forgotten about it.

Anyway, see what you think.

Spotify link

17 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Scarlet – Rolling Stones with Jimmy Page

  1. I agree with your assessment of the song, nice but not a classic. I’m not sure who was in charge of writing what, but I got a bit of a “Trampled Under Foot” feel out of the bass at times. Physical Graffiti followed this work in 1975.

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    1. Good point. It’s funny but I knew these guys knew each other but I never much thought of them in the same breath. I associate them more with old chum Eric Clapton who played on their recent blues album.

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  2. I think it could have strengthened Goat’s Head Soup if it had been included – sometimes that record’s a little slow and draggy. At the least it could have been a really good b-side.

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  3. A little rough and ragged. I like it.
    Something the record companies do to generate interest/sales? PR thing? Stones could use a few bucks. Didnt you do a lost Beatles song way back when they were doing some re-release. Maybe it was McCartney.

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    1. The record companies have always been about cash grabs. Just using the Stones as an example, how many times have they repackaged their songs, both studio and live? I checked – they have 26 compilation albums, 28 live albums. And it’s a favorite trick to re-release an album with a bunch of “lost” songs or a greatest hits album with one new song. I think I did do a Beatles thing. Can’t remember.

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      1. I dont pay attention to that but holy shit, that’s crazy when you give the stats. It’s like an addiction for fans. I guess they gotta have it. Those numbers are nuts. Doc you are a wealth of info.

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        1. Somebody’s buying all that stuff. I’ve picked up a couple of really good box sets – Clapton, Allmans, Police. But I definitely don’t need “Satisfaction” 12 times in studio and live versions. Like I mentioned in the piece, I’d completely forgotten that I have a CD somewhere with outtakes from ‘Exile.’ And that was a Father’s Day gift or something.

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        2. “Fathers Day” thing I get. Plus I’d be interested in what was on those sessions. The CD version of ‘Live At Leeds’ had some great extra cuts. But it gets goofy when you throw those numbers out. A curiosity but its cool when you hear some legit treasures.

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        3. There’s an ‘Exile’ Deluxe version on Spotify if you’re curious. Yeah, I always like hearing lost treasures. I remember a couple of years ago I posted about a lost Sly and the Family Stone album. Live from the Fillmore East, released 40+ years later. Great.

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