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Crushed Pearl – 1985 – Dirty Work Studio Outtakes

Crushed Pearl – 1985 Dirty Work Outtakes

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1995 Vinyl Gang Productions
VGP – 041

  1. One Hit (To The Body)
  2. Fight (Early version)
  3. Harlem Shuffle (With Bobby Womack)
  4. Crushed Pearl
  5. Treat Me Like A Fool
  6. Too Rude (Slow Version)
  7. Winning Ugly (Early version)
  8. Strictly Memphis (Mick on vocals)
  9. Dirty Work (Early version)
  10. Had It With You (Early version)
  11. You’re Too Much (Early version)
  12. One Hit (To The Body (Early version)
  13. Broken Hearts For Me And You (Demo)

Recorded at Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris
April 8 – June 17 1985
Recorded at RPM Studios, New York
Early July and August 1985

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Author: Dandelion Powderman

An interesting peak into a difficult time for the Stones

Dirty Work! The album every Stones fan loves to hate. It’s useless explaining to those fans that there are a quite a few nuggets from the Dirty Work sessions, including the early takes on the infamous album-songs. However, here it is:
As we all know, Keith lead these sessions, and Mick only occasionally popped by. At least, that is what the rumours say. A closer listen, however, reveals an energic Mick who is trying out different things, spits out the lyrics as well as doing the odd rap, often with Bobby Womack. A Mick that simply sings better than that of the final product!
It’s interesting to hear that some of the songs are arranged and overdubbed with guest artists on backing vocals, even before the lyrics are written. There are lots of interesting things on this Vinyl Gang Productions release, but let’s talk about the songs:

One Hit (To The Body)

A different mix for sure, but most of the backing tracks here were kept for the album. Jimmy Page is more prominent in the mix, and we can hear more of his playing throughout. Keith is higher in the mix. That goes for Chuck as well, in places. Overall, this mix has more punch and is less polished than the album version. Mick tries out different phrasings, and found quite a few that would have improved his performance on the album, imo.


This was the take they should have used! An early version with more distinguashable guitars, and with Ronnie audible. But surprisingly what makes this one a winner is Mick! Instead of the «out of nowhere-drum start), this version starts with the chorus, which also is different than on the release – way more melodic. Catchy and heavy. No barking. No farting.
This is a bootleg, so the sound quality isn’t top notch, but it’s quite listenable, and surely listenable enough to hear where they stepped wrong in the final production.

Harlem Shuffle

Why didn’t you give Womack the space he deserved, Mick? This version is mainly the album track. It’s a bit longer, but the most interesting stuff happens toward the ending. Bobby Womack and starts a cool call and respond game, which sound natural and not contrived. This rap suits the song brilliantly, and should definitely have been included.

Crushed Pearl

Keith-crooning over a hornet-buzzing Mesa Boogie soundscape with Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold as a backdrop. Is it awkward? Nope, we like it. It’s just another day for the antenna at work. Had they released this one, they probably would have toned down the guitar riff a bit, put the piano higher in the mix and voila: another fine Keith-ballad could have graced Dirty Work.

Treat Me Like A Fool

The groove here is a la Tumbling Dice. A nice track, sung by Keith. Pure Biff Hitler-soul with open G in major with some clean-sounding licks from Ronnie (his guitar is missing in action now and again throughout this track). Other bands don’t sound like this. A little more work, and TMLAF could have been the best track on the album. A nice solo in open G by Keith.

Too Rude (Looooong version)

The ten minutes version. This is one of the few tracks that the Dirty Work-haters can live with. Rumours say that Wood plays drums on it, but apparently it is Steve Jordan on the drum stool, whilst Ronnie had his moment on Sleep Tonight. The clavinet is occupying the left channel, while Keith is picking away in the right. The tape echo machine has already been turned on for this early dub version, albeit not so exaggerated as on the album. Some vocal phrases and guitar licks have been used for the album, but there are lots of exciting things going on here that we never got to hear. The singing is better without all the hilarious backing vocals on Dirty Work. This is pure stuff, not unlike the Winos version, and they could easily have kept this one, polished it up a bit and ditched Back To Zero.

Winning Ugly

This is bloody awful, and I’m not one of those who thinks Winning Ugly is one of the two worst tracks on Dirty Work! An extremely distasteful sound, with the synthbass and the thin keyboards way up in the mix. Keith is buried in the mix. I’m not sure if it’s Woody or Womack who is clearly audible in the left channel, which he isn’t on the album. There is also an acoustic guitar colouring in places here, without succeeding noteworthy. Mick is counting, Mick is searching, Mick is making up lyrics on the spot. Doesn’t work. Forget this one…

Strictly Memphis

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the Stones and the choices they make. One can only assume that gems like Strictly won’t get released because they are too similar to other songs. There couldn’t possibly be any other reason why. A swampy, swinging soul tune with great playing and singing. It’s far from the finished version Mick did with Jeff Beck, but it’s great anyway. A Sam And Dave-ish tune.

Dirty Work

The personification of the bad album, according to many fans. But if you haven’t heard this bootleg, you’re in for a treat anyway. This is probably one of the hardest rocking Stones tracks. Here the lyrics are different, the melody slightly different and the guitars are amazing. They are mixing the dub-ish guitars into the parts of the song which are more generic-rocking on the album version. Very interesting indeed! I like both the playing and Mick’s singing a lot more on this version. I also like that the funky part is reappearing several times in the song, as well as the cool riffs Keith is playing. Again, a little polishing and they could have released this one (when the lyrics were finished). It might have been a better fit for Emotional Rescue, though. Lovely!

Had it With You

Had it With You here starts out as a really slow blues, which increases in tempo when the chorus kicks in. Different lyrics, less contrived singing by Mick and with a bass guitar! This is more rockabilly than the album version. The riff isn’t played at all on this version (a similar riff ends the song, though), and Ronnie plays a mean slide. Another version which is better than what they decided to use on the album.

You’re Too Much

Another Keith-ballad. This one has got a vicious guitar sound (Mesa Boogie again). The feel is reminiscent to Sleep Tonight. The guitar is very dominant, and I can’t stop thinking of how it is possible to get a fat and thick guitar sound like this, that fills most of the soundscape. A nice melody, with lots of backing vocals. Unfinished, but with very well orchestrated backing vocals. I like this one better than Sleep Tonight, but clearly understand that Keith couldn’t include both of them on the album. A nice riff, a catchy tune they could have turned into a single if they had worked more on it.

One Hit (Early version)

Starts out like almost like Sad Sad Sad) and then goes straight to the chorus. No acoustic guitar. Just Keith and Ronnie. Very contrived singing by Mick. An early demo, but they had indeed found the groove. Mick shouts out the chords and when the bridges come, so this one was clearly written by him. There’s a little keyboard break in there, followed by open G-riffing by Keith.

Broken Hearts For You And Me

Sounds like a cassette recording by Mick, unpleasantly sped up to the unreconisable. He sings for a minute, then apologises for not having written more. Then Mick and Keith start it again, and sing it together. It sounds like Mick is referring to the lack of lyrics, because Keith is explaining things about the songs to Mick, and then joins in on the singing. A nice little ditty. Sort of an Everly Brothers-tune from hell. It’s an interesting document anyhow, because it shows the glimmers working closely together, constructively, something few believed they did at the time. Then again, no one have heard the song ever since…
All in all an interesting peak into a difficult time for the Stones, and a manifestation of poor judgement or hastily decissions of what songs to include and a questionable quality control. However, the bootleg is also nice to have for musical reasons. The sound is ok, and some of the outtakes are really worth repeated listenings.


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