The first album released by the Rolling Stones' former U.K. record company, Decca, following the band's departure to Atlantic in 1971, Gimme Shelter set the stage for the somewhat disreputable aura that still hangs over each of the compilations that the label unveiled during the early '70s. It was titled, of course, for the Stones' own recently released movie/concert documentary, with a jacket emblazoned with a suitably late-'60s live shot and the promise of half a dozen previously unreleased (in the U.K.) live performances. It was only when you got it home that you discovered the live cuts came from the scream-infested 1966 Got Live if You Want It! monstrosity, with the remainder of the set drawn from the band's regular studio albums. In other words, if you thought you were getting the Gimme Shelter movie soundtrack -- think again. The Stones themselves were outraged, issuing a terse and extremely uncomplimentary press statement against the album -- that, too, set the stage for future relations between band and label, as a host of further collections (Stone Age, Milestones, Rock'n'Rollin' Stones, and No Stone Unturned) dug deep into the archive as the decade progressed. And, while time (and nostalgia) have vindicated those other compilations, Gimme Shelter remains unloved and unlovable, an example of record-company deviousness as it hits rock & rolling bottom. Cool sleeve, though.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson