New reissue of Exile on Main Street

Has anyone heard the new reissue (oxymoron?) of "Exile on Main Street"? Apparently, there's a ($19.95) 2 disc and a ($139) 5 disc version. I just heard one of the bonus tracks on XM (something about plundering Mick's heart), which sounded pretty darn good; I wondered if it was worth popping for all the extras. Best wishes to all.
Is there a Cd only version?
Just heard some of it on a talk show on the local NPR station. It is the original release plus ten previously unreleased songs from that era.
I can honestly say that I really never thought of this album as a Stones masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, there are some good songs on it, but I'll take "Beggars Banquet," "Let it Bleed" "Sticky Fingers" "Some Girls" and even "Goats Head Soup" over Exile any day. The album actually got poor reviews when it first came out. I have it on vinyl, maybe I need to give it a listen, it's been a few years.
There are some great songs on "Exiles," but I always thought it was an uneven record.
My personal favorites are "Beggar's Banquet" and "Let It Bleed," followed up by "Sticky Fingers." Oh, and "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out." I wore that last one out a couple of times.
Still, I'm going to order the new "Exiles" vinyl. I've got a reissue on heavy vinyl that sounds pretty bright.
when it came out, i wasn't crazy about it...after seeing the stones later that same year, i couldn't get enough of it....still among the best.
Link to an article on

just got the reissued exile cd yesterday. gave it a quick listen last night and really enjoyed it. haven't listened to the original in a month or so can't compare sonics yet.....but i will.

initial impressions are positive. some of the new, previously unreleased cuts are pretty good too. however...a few of them are as expected, are mediocre at best. have always liked exile. don't think it's the "best stones ever" but do feel it has a place up top on the list somewhere. gritty, dirty and full of kick. it's only rock and roll but i like it!
ok......let me modify my comments regarding the bonus tracks. don't really care for any of the previously unreleased stuff. not horrible but not good either imho. they just don't fit in and it seems obvious why they were left out in the first place. the "alternate take" stuff is kinda cool but that's about it regarding disc #2.

the original releases on disc #1 do sound good. will need to do an a-b to confirm, but it seems cleaner with better detail. cleaner/better detail is usually an improvement for most recordings. not sure that's the case for exile though?. the re-master may "sound better" but exile was never about sounding better. often used words like "raw" and "gritty" were what made exile special imo. hoping the "edge" hasn't been lost while making it "better". will report back after a proper a-b comparo. it does sound pretty good though.

Has anyone heard the vinyl - compared it to original pressings? I'm just wondering if it's worth the $$$ and hype.
Stay away from the vinyl -- comes from a 24 bit/44.1khz file and doesn't come close to the original Artisan vinyl. These slabs are too loud, compressed & lack the dynamics of the originals.

Also the new vinyl issue is not mastered by Doug Sax (as some claim); he only cut it (mastered by Stephen Marcussen).

i do recall that the original release was generally regarded as a botched production job--murky and muddy--which may account for the mixed reactions above. i always thought the sound quality was part of its allure; query whether they've chosen to clean things up in the remastering.
thanks for your responses.
I just received the super deluxe edition and have been listening to it. Initial impressions are that the CDs have been cleaned up quite a bit. The guitars pop and Mick and Keith’s vocals are clearly out in front. They aren’t as murky as the Virgin remasters. Whether that’s a good thing or not is subject to debate. Bob Ludwig did the Virgin remasters, and I GREATLY prefer them to the latest batch of remasters from Universal, which are totally compressed and bright beyond belief. What a disappointment! But this “Exile” is different. It doesn’t sound really compressed, just cleaned up. Personally, I think the Ludwig remaster comes closest to the original intent, but this one allows you to see the instrumental interplay to a greater degree.

I also liked the bonus tracks. Not essential, certainly, but interesting nonetheless. The packaging of the super deluxe box is also really nice. I had to have it, as "Exile" is in my top five of best albums of all time.
Lousy Recording. No real improvement with the remaster.
I am enjoying it on my sun deck looking over the Pacific, while being deeply opiated. The scarf around my neck is a nice touch. In a word: scuzzy genius.
B-fury, Does the "opium" come with the music because I believe that under an influence it's the only way the reissue will sound much worth the price?
I'm listening to side two of the '94 Ludwig remaster now. Like Sit, I think this is a lousy, lousy recording. Some of us seem to find the murk and grunge appealing in a weird way, I just think it sounds crappy. I'm not the kind of listener that whines about "less than audiophile" recordings as a rule, but early Stone's recordings leave me so frustrated. Such great music, such crummy sound. Every remaster I've ever heard sounds like an exercise in polishing sonic t*rds I'm afraid.
Sounds great on my iPod and Sony headphones. Must be me, but I also love Iggy's Raw Power from the same era. Dank and murky has it's fans. Sorry it is not your cup of tea.
What version do I have? I've lost the inserts (doh!) and have only the disk. It shows: Virgin and 1972. Is this the '94 Ludwig remaster (holding out hope)?

It sounds like you might have the Ludwig remaster. When Virgin bought the Stones catalog, they initially remastered everything from "Sticky Fingers" up to "Tattoo You." (They later remastered "Undercover," "Dirty Work," and "Steel Wheels.") Ludwig did most of the remastering, and IMO did a great job. These latest remasters from Universal, though, are horrid: compressed to hell and piercingly bright. If you have the Virgin remasters, hold on to them.
Each reissue is a new opportunity to revisit Atco COC 2-2900 vinyl. A tad lite on bass, but generally fantastic, detailed, spatial recording with brass balls, Stones on top. If it sounds murky on your system it's your problem.
Unfortunately, the vinyl and cd are both overly compressed and harsh-sounding. The original Artisan cut vinyl is still the best way to listen to this album. Here's a full review of the Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, which includes impressions of the vinyl and photos from the hardcover book:
Have to revise my initial impression of the CDs. Last night I played them on my just-assembled main system, which is MUCH more resolving than the system I initially played them on. The other posters are right: they ARE overly compressed and bright, much like the other Universal Stones remasters. What a disappointment, since I love the packaging and it probably will become a collector’s item in future years. I toyed with the idea of returning it, but then I got the bright idea of popping the 1994 Ludwig remaster into the deluxe packaging—and, voila, I’ve got the best of both worlds: a collectible deluxe box set AND a better remaster!

As a side note, with the Universal remaster, details pop out more, but they come at the expense of musicality and the ability to turn the music up with minimal compression. I’ll take the latter any old day.
I love it. This is by far the best version I have heard (I do not have vinyl). I have had the SACD and hated it, too bright. Narcotic ears certainly a bonus Bfury but no Pacific Coast here...just Ohio rain...

One of my favorite Stones albums and roughly the birth of Alt country/ Americana.
"Exile" wasn't issued on SACD—just the Stones' pre–“Sticky Fingers” ABKO catalog.
My mistake Hooper, I thought I remembered that but guess i am thinking of another title. Always good to have knowledgeable folks here to check our heads!
Good NY Times Piece today, particularly Don Was's comments at end about Loving Cup:

"But back to the alternate take of “Loving Cup,” which still seems like the star of the whole enterprise.

I asked Don Was what he thought. “There’s a sound that’s identified with ‘Exile’ that’s become part of the vocabulary for every rock ‘n’ roll musician subsequently,” he said. “And this is the ultimate track of the style that characterizes ‘Exile.’ It’s not sloppiness; it’s width, in terms of where everyone feels the beat. You’ve got five individuals feeling the beat in a different place. At some point, the centrifugal force of the rhythm no longer holds the band together. That ‘Loving Cup’ is about the widest area you can have without the song falling apart.”"
Bought the LP when it came out,,,,loved the songs ,hated the recording!
just read the cover story of rolling stone, which was about the making of exile---very good read. the article spends a good bit of focus on the actual recording and mixing processes, both of which were unusual to say the least and which likely accounts for the strange, unique sounding mix.
This is a surprising statement, Richard:

"One of my favorite Stones albums and roughly the birth of Alt country/ Americana."

And not just because the Stones are pretty darn English, or so I thought. "Alt country/Americana" covers a multitude of sins, obviously, but I'd have thought Uncle Tupelo's "No Depression" (Belleville, IL, USA) a more likely candidate for the original event.

actually, according to the same rolling stone article, keith stated that exile was the first grunge record. according to wikipedia "grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song dynamics, and apathetic or angst-filled lyrics. The grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music, and many grunge musicians were noted for their unkempt appearances and rejection of theatrics." now, the stones were rarely stripped down, and never eschewed theatrics, so i wouldn't think of 'em as grungey, but it's interesting to read how they regard themselves.
There's no way this could be grunge, it's too upbeat. Plus there is not enough distortion and fuzz on the guitars.

I just got the vinyl version of the remaster and I like the sonics. I orginally bought this album the day it came out in 1972 and wore it out that summer. I think it was bargain priced as I remember and I usually bought albums based on price in those days. Plus it was a double. The music is simply loose, loose, loose; some moments it drives me nuts and then there will be a shift and they "rescue" the song by reigning it in. That is the appeal of Exile and there is really no other like it. Stoned, drunk, intoxicated Stones making music in a dusty, hot humid basement in 1971.

Those were the days...
Jdoris, I agree "Exiles" is not the beginning of, but I think Tweedy & Farrar would agree it goes back to at least Gram Parsons, with The Byrds, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo," then The Flying Burrito Brothers (especially The Gilded Palace of Sin) and his solo stuff. Parsons "discovered" Emmylou Harris (which she still acknowledges)and she sings on his "solo" album, "Grievous Angel."
I don't think the fact that they are "pretty darn English" has much to do with Americana. There are plenty of Americana/alt country bands from all over the world in the Indie scene today. I think it would be pretty hard to trace the genre back to one record but I still hear this one as a pretty early example (hence my preface "roughly"!)...

I guess my main point...aside from expressing my love of the album...was to say it sounds quite like many of the current Americana/Alt Country bands I listen to.

Hell what do I know! Just a great album.
To points about alt/country influence, here is a bit on Gram Parsons's presence at Nellcote in '71.

The Brit invasion bands were of course magpies of American music forms.
I think some may be confusing Country with Alternative Country here.

While Exile certainly has more blues influence than Uncle Tupelo's 90's stuff, there is still some of that rock band paying country swag. We could probably come up with a bunch of artists/records that have that Americana feel from way before 1990...partly because we are probably old!
genre lines are always blurry, but loving cup, sweet virginia and torn and frayed are as country as it gets. gram parsons was hanging around the studio during the recording (and reportedly 86ed for misconduct), and his influence was obvious
Despite being made by a bunch of Englishmen, “Exile” is one of the best slices of Americana ever put down on wax, IMO. It was truly a masterpiece and—despite the group’s best efforts—an impossible act to follow.

As has been stated in this thread, one shouldn't minimize Gram Parsons' influence. It's in every grrove of the record.
I guess I always thought of as basement guitars plugged into white boy roots music. Plus something a little harder to peg, about rest stops, interstates, and "three hour away" towns.

I don't think the Stones really tapped into this; touring America as rock stars ain't Americana. That the Stones themselves recognized this is evident in their characteristically shrewd parody/self-parody in "Far Away Eyes." (I'm willing to count the lovely "Moonlight Mile" as, though.)

I'd have thought Neil Young (Canadians do Americana!) was a more important influence than Parsons (and the Stones) on bands like Uncle Tupelo; in addition to the sonic affinities, Neil is constantly covered by bands in the tradition, such as one of the most inspiring direct heirs to UT, Two Cow Garage.

An underappreciated album that I'd peg as "early" is Lucinda's "Happy Woman Blues," even though it doesn't fit my own "definition."

Arguments about musical styles are likely to be as inconclusive as arguments about cables, of course.

FWIW, allmusic lumps "alt-country", "americana" and "neo-traditional folk" within the same subgenre, "alternative country", and generally defines these styles as country stripped to its basics and subverted; the unifying factor being that they're simple, traditional forms made outside the nashville system and, in the case of alt-country and americana, infused with rock and roll aesthetics. allmusic doesn't classify either the stones or neil young as alternative country.
That's interesting Loomisjohnson, although I suspect that if one is inclined to argue genre's they're also not much inclined to treat allmusic as definitive.

I fear Neil may be classified as "classic rock."

alt country/americana's birth? 'the dillards'
From the Stones to the Dillards. Perfect!

Jaybo, can you recommend on the Dillards for an entry disc with good sonics?


the bgo two-fer cd of roots and branches/tribute to the american duck......decade waltz....mountain rock
i finally succumbed and bought the new exile reissue. to my ears, it does sound better than the original cd and vinyl releases--more detailed and less murky, without the overly-digital brightness of most such exercises--drums and piano, in particular, are better articulated. the new, bonus material sounds mainly like works-in-progress--no real lost classics--but an interesting listen nonetheless. i just heard that the reissue is top of the charts in the uk, which is either a tribute to its timelessness or a sad commentary on the state of modern rock.
Loomis: i agree. just finished doing a direct a-b comparo's with the original release. your comments are spot on imo. drums and piano both come through cleanest but almost everything sounded tidied up a bit to me.

still don't like disc #2 but to my ears using my gear.....the remasters of the original release do sound better. still has the exile edge/sound.....just a bit sharper. glad i spent the $20.
Listening to the Virgin Ludwig vinyl remaster on some nice 2A3 tubes. Dirty and downright Scuzzy as they were meant to be heard, as Mick says "DONT FIGHT IT"!!
A dissent . . . compared the new reissue CD my friend brought over to my earlier Greg Calbi mastered CD (Rolling Stones Records) and found the older CD much better. The new reissue is uncomfortably bright on the top end, the older is much better . . . musical, listenable, natural, but rockin'. Both my friend, who I believe has a great ear, and I agreed . . . not even close! We were shocked when we put on the Calbi CD, the difference was so apparent and vast. Go figure!
BUT, my 1994 Bob Ludwig mastered Virgin vinyl reissue is far superior to both.
Reading the comments here, I think I'll pass on the new vinyl.
I've had Disc 2 of the reissue in constant rotation of late, and, like everyone else I may have unfairly dismissed it earlier as merely pleasant filler. It's actually pretty great in its own right--loose, swaggering, free of a lot of the studio sheen that sucks some of the enrgy of their regular releases. Plus there's a lot of that inimitable, jagged guitar. I think the songs are there, too--perhaps a little tossed-off in the lyrics, but they stick in your head. As a standalone record, I'd place it near the top of their canon. Wonder what other old stuff they have buried away.