I just got the Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. [Super Deluxe Edition] It was like $150 for the two vinyl records, two CD's, DVD, coffee table book and even an envelope of postcards. It's super-geek collector stuff and if you can afford it, I say it's worth it.
The release commemorates the summer of 40 years ago when the band inhabited a French villa - literally exiles from their native England, due to the tax situation they were in. They practically lived in the château-turned-studio where they recorded much of Exile. And the various aspects of the release give a good glimpse into the time along with the subsequent touring of the record.
The vinyl sounds great - good lathe work! It's such a novelty to put on a "new" copy of Exile on the turntable. The new copy looks and feels like my trusty old copy - except it's a tri-fold and holds the digital disks too. (What I'm trying to say is that putting on this disc is a familiar experience.)The first CD is the digital version and it sounds fine. But it's the second CD of the outtakes that has been getting the most play at my house. There are ten tunes, which kind of make it like an unheard Stones record - with Nicky Hopkins on keys, horn plyers and all. The songs are like those B-sides that grow on you. The guitar riff on "So Divine (Aladdin Story)" sounds like "Paint It Black" - but the song is way different. (Hard to explain - just listen!) There are alternate takes of Soul Survivor and Loving Cup. I love these kinds of things - demos and the like.
The DVD is a kick too. There's a short documentary on the making of the record that's exclusively home movie footage and photographs. There are contemporary voices recollecting the time but no new "talking head" footage. I love the live performance footage as the Stones just rock - and by watching it you can tell they know this! I was expecting the full Cocksucker Blues, the notorious underground Stones tour documentary. It's a shorter version of the bootleg video I recall watching about 20 years ago. Way, way less sex and drugs in this cut. The total duration of the DVD disc is 30 minutes.
Then there's the book - what you'd expect for the kind of dough you lay down. It's hardback with previously unseen photos printed on nice paper.
Again, if you can afford it, buy this Super Deluxe Edition. If you can't, or you're even unfamiliar with this work, find a used vinyl copy of Exile On Main Street and still have a blast!