The final Stones album of the 60s, Let It Bleed was also their last on Decca, meaning Allen Klein’s estate have one last chance to go to town on the catalogue. With the exception of the In Mono albums collection, Let It Bleed is by far the most lavish package ABKCO have assembled: an 80-page book, three lithographs and the Honky Tonk Women 7″ join the album’s original poster. Crucially, the album itself is presented on both vinyl and CD in the box, in mono and stereo editions.
It’s not cheap at £130, but LLV has seen much worse value recently. To these ears, the mono version no longer does the Stones’ experimentation justice, but at least you get the option. Continuing the golden run started by the previous year’s Beggars Banquet, Gimme Shelter is matched for darkness by Midnight Rambler, while Monkey Man is a sequel to Sympathy For The Devil in pitch-black grooves.
It’s not all paranoia and sulphur, as Mick Taylor is introduced gently into the Stones on the relaxed Live With Me and the album’s only annoyance, the unnecessary Country Honk version of Honky Tonk Women. Keith Richards’ first album vocal, on You Got The Silver, remains one of his most affecting and by the wondrous finale You Can’t Always Get What You Want, the Stones were the perfect blend of danger and experience. With the band understandably refusing to play ball on any recording laying in the vaults, it’s hard to see how ABKCO could have had a better farewell.