As a die-hard Stones fan, I was thrilled to hear that the band had put out a previously unreleased version of their earbud-shaking “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’,” off of the band’s 1971 ‘Sticky Fingers” album.
Stones re-releases and alternate versions can be a lot of fun – think of the newly-released acoustic “Wild Horses,” or the lesser-known “Tumblin’ Dice” counterpart, “Good Time Women,” which featured on the 2010 re-release of ‘Exile on Main Street.’
The alternate version of “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'”, is, unfortunately, a tantalizing disappointment.
This version has a refreshingly different samba backbeat, and retains the tight and practiced interplay between Keith Richards and Mick Taylor. The only thing missing is intelligible vocals. Where Taylor and Richards instill a sort of casual elegance into this seventies-style blues number, Mick’s vocals are frustratingly inscrutable. The original “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” wasn’t particularly clear, but this iteration has only five clear words – the eponymous title. It’s no wonder this version didn’t make the cut, but it’s still worth a listen, if only as an intro to its more polished counterpart.