The Rolling Stones

East and West

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In the 1970s, the biggest complaint about bootlegs was that so many of them were plagued by inferior sound quality. Another complaint had to do with sloppy packaging -- too many 1970s bootlegs failed to list venues and exact recording dates. And when that happened, listeners were left wondering when and where a particular show was recorded. Such is the case with East and West, a bootleg LP that the Excitable Recordworks label provided in 1979. According to Excitable, East and West was recorded during the Rolling Stones' U.S. tour of 1976 -- unfortunately, the bootlegger doesn't give a city or any exact recording dates. Now for the good news: the sound quality is excellent, and the Stones sound passionate and inspired on some of their best songs (including "Brown Sugar," "Midnight Rambler," "Street Fighting Man," and "Gimme Shelter"). Meanwhile, "Angie" and "Heartbreaker (Doo Doo Doo Doo)" are likable even though they aren't among the Stones' best songs. East and West falls short of essential, and Excitable Recordworks' failure to note specific venues and exact recording dates brings the LP's rating down. But despite its flaws, this bootleg has more pluses than minuses, and is enjoyable if you're a die-hard Stones collector.

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