In his memoir, Prince Among Stones: That Business With The Rolling Stones And Other Adventures, which I’ve just reviewed for the next Uncut, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, who was the band’s financial adviser for nearly 40 years, reflects at one point about how time as he gets older has started, as they say, to fly. Thinking about this, he is reminded of a famous quote by the grand old thespian, John Gielgud, who wryly remarked that in his old age time had started to speed by at such a pace that it seemed like breakfast was being served every 10 minutes.


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There’s been a lot of excitement around the office over the last couple of weeks, with the imminent arrival of the first David Bowie album since what seems like the end of rationing causing a certain giddiness in the Uncut ranks, followed by the actual release of the long-promised new My Bloody Valentine album, a mere 22 years after Loveless.


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Tom Waits is staring back at me from the cover of the new Uncut, which goes on sale this Thursday, January 31. It’s a picture of the young Tom that I’m looking at, long before he ended up with a face that now makes you think a tractor tyre must recently have run over it, a corrugated look he shares with his friend, Keith Richards. He is in fact startlingly young in the picture, even though it would seem he hasn’t shaved for a week and for just as long has been sleeping in the clothes he’s wearing.


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The next Uncut Ultimate Music Guide goes on sale on Thursday (January 17), hot on the heels of our special on The Kinks, and is dedicated this time to The Beatles. There’s the usual mix of brand new reviews of all The Beatles albums by our current team of writers alongside some truly remarkable interviews from the archives of Melody Maker and NME, for which the description ‘mind-blowing’ seems barely adequate.


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“The one thing that saved Mick at this point was Dylan,” Mick Ronson’s wife, Suzi, recalls in a terrific feature on her late husband by Garry Mulholland in the new issue of Uncut. She was talking about the shambles Mick’s career had become after he was dumped by David Bowie and his first two solo albums, Slaughter On 10th Avenue and Play Don’t Worry, had both flopped. Things hadn’t really worked out with the Hunter-Ronson Band, either, and you wondered where Mick might go from here when he unexpectedly hove into view as a member of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue.


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There’s a lot to be said for the charisma of premature death. And the manner of his particular dying – turning blue on a motel floor at the age of 26, his heart fatally faltering, ice cubes being stuffed up his ass in a pathetic attempt to bring him back from the brink after one binge too many – booked Gram parsons an automatic place of honour in a rock’n’roll Valhalla already overcrowded with dead young heroes, Jimi, Janis, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and more already among its spectral population when Gram died in September, 1973.


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Here we are at the end of another year, finishing off our first issue of 2013 and looking forward to the Christmas break, which starts for us on Friday. We’re off then until January 2, when we will no doubt return refreshed to face the New Year. This is therefore the last newsletter for a couple of weeks, so I’ll take the opportunity now to thank you for all your support and enthusiasm over the last 12 months, which has been much appreciated by everyone at Uncut. We hope all our readers enjoy their own Christmas holidays and wish you all the best for the coming year.


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The Allah-Las make their UK debut in the back room of a north London pub on a freezing December night, the inhospitable weather not something familiar to in their native Los Angeles, where it probably only gets this cold in disaster movies, palm trees turning brittle with frost, the ocean becoming ice, CGI snow drifts on Sunset Strip and Denis Quaid in a parka and Bermuda shorts standing square-jawed and wrinkled-kneed against the elements.


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On my way home last week from The Rolling Stones at the O2, still a-buzz with excitement, I ended up chatting to a group of similarly exhilarated fans, who between them didn’t have enough fingers to count the number of Stones shows they’d been to, Brian Jones still a Stone the first time a couple of them had seen them.


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After all the hoo-ha, huff, hysteria and hot air, here, finally, are The Rolling Stones doing what they do even better than raising the collective temperature with impertinent ticket prices, something they seem to have been doing at least since their 1969 American tour, nothing new in the Stones being accused of commercial banditry and the cynical exploitation of their fans, on whose behalf so many complaints have been indignantly voiced since the 50 And Counting dates in London and New York were announced. Why don’t they celebrate their half-centenary with, say, a free concert, the cry went up in some quarters, and let more people have a chance to see them, and for nothing too? Well, when they tried that in 1969, look where it got them: Altamont.


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Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon


As Robert Gordon reminds us in Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion, his terrific account of the rise and fall of the great Memphis soul imprint, the Stax story is more than a record-label history. “It is an American story,” Gordon writes,”...