Rolling Stones – Stray Cat Blues

Mick sounds sinister and ominous in this track and the guitar is absolutely filthy. I feel the need for a shower after I listen to it.  It’s raunchy and sleazy…but a great album cut.

I once had a girlfriend and being around me she started to appreciate the Beatles. I thought that was cool because I never pushed them on her…then I played her some Stones. After around a week of listening to Beggars Banquet, she told me…Max, The Beatles seemed to progress so much as they went on…The Stones…they are low rent.

She was paying attention. She didn’t mean that in a bad way but yea…that is the essence of the Stones…showing the seedier side in their songs…and believe me…this song does. As humans…The Beatles could be as nasty but they didn’t usually reflect that in a lot of music…The Stones went out of their way to do so.

Stray Cat Blues is off of my favorite album by the Rolling Stones…Beggars Banquet. Would this song fly today? NO…oh pardon me… let me reword that…HELL NO… It’s hard to believe it flew back in 1968. I could be wrong but I doubt you would hear this on very many classic radio stations today.

Keith Richards is on top of his game in this one. Mick seemed to be testing or provoking audiences with this one.

This was the first album to start the stretch of 5 albums (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and Goats Head Soup) that helped make the Stones what they are today. In 1967 after failing to live up to Sgt Pepper with Their Satanic Majesties Request (although I do like that album) they came back retooled with a new producer Jimmy Miller

The Stones got back doing what they do best…playing country rock blues…although with a different sound than Little Red Rooster. A weary Brian Jones was still in the band at this time and contributed to all but two songs…but it’s mostly Keith on guitar. Brian, because of the state he was in, was used more as a touch-up artist…filling in some holes with sitar, tambura, guitar,  blues harp, and mellotron. It would also be the last studio album Brian would work on.

I’ve always related Beggars Banquet to the White Album. They were both released in 1968 and both were raw and honest. No studio trickery with either…a big departure from the psychedelic era of 1967.

The album peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1969.

The lyrics were bad enough with I can see that you’re fifteen years old/
No I don’t want your I.D…. when playing it live on the 69 tour it became I can see that you’re thirteen years old/ No I don’t want your I.D. Mick seemed to be jabbing and provoking seeing how much he could get by with.

When you listen to it I would suggest the studio version. Many of the nuances are lost in this live version. I always try to pick a live version around the time they made the song but this one is not the best I heard.

Cat Scratch Blues

I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs
I know you’re no scare-eyed honey
There’ll be a feast if you just come upstairs
But it’s no hanging matter
It’s no capital crime

I can see that you’re fifteen years old
No I don’t want your I.D.
And I’ve seen that you’re so far from home
But it’s no hanging matter
It’s no capital crime

Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
Oh yeah, don’tcha scratch like that
Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
Bet your mama don’t know you scream like that
I bet your mother don’t know you can spit like that.

You look so weird and you’re so far from home
But you don’t really miss your mother
Don’t look so scared I’m no mad-brained bear
But it’s no hanging matter
It’s no capital crime
Oh, yeah

I bet your mama don’t know that you scratch like that
I bet she don’t know you can bite like that

You say you got a friend, that she’s wilder than you
Why don’t you bring her upstairs
If she’s so wild then she can join in too
It’s no hanging matter
It’s no capital crime

Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
Oh yeah, don’tcha scratch like that
Oh yeah, you’re a strange stray cat
I bet you mama don’t know you can bite like that
I’ll bet she never saw you scratch my back


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

46 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Stray Cat Blues”

  1. Young girls whose home life is horrific often take to the streets and become easily exploited prey. It’s an ugly truth. Music is a way to open up the dialogue about it. I don’t fault them for telling the truth. I just hope none of them ever exploited any young street girls.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve read some about the famous groupies back then. Most of the ones…the famous ones had their parents backing…why? Money of course… which is just beyond sad to me.
      And the part that was really hard about it…a lot of them came from middle class backgrounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. From the album ‘Songs least likely to be covered by the Osmonds’…
    I don’t really dig the song, but rock has raw roots (look at some of those old blues song lyrics from the early 20th C) and if we can accept songs about murder, seemingly without a lot of thought, why not this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL…
      Oh I love the song…the song is so driving…forget the content but I never heard a live version of this to match the studio. Usually with them I could…

      Yep that is strue…like Hey Joe


  3. Max as you know I was never a big fan of the Stones. Hey, the reason I’m writing this is because I read an article and the first person I thought of who would it was you.
    The article is titled ‘Winter and Baseball’ by kristian of her experience seeing her first baseball game. It brought tears to my eyes. It’s so good! The link is below

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was awesome. I can’t imagine her surprise when she got the jersey and the tickets… I’m so glad she got to see a game with her granddad…that was awesome…thanks Matt

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Different times, that’s for sure. Salacious, yes, exploitative, yes, raw, yes, a real reflection of the sexist times, yes. A great greasy sweaty mess of a song that is so tone-deaf these days it hurts? Yes indeedy, Reverend.
    Still sounds great though.
    Also love ‘Salt Of The Earth.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen!
      Oh I love this song…. I started to listen to his album when I was 13 so hey….it was all good. . I know Sticky Fingers and Exile are THE albums but my heart goes to this dirty sweaty album.
      Prodigal Son, Salt of the Earth, No Expectations…I could go on.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the song… it’s a great blues rock song but man… low rent lol.

      Hey check out my post from yesterday… it sounds like something you would blog about almost… Fantasy Park… did you see it yesterday?


      1. The “low rent” comment was funny.

        Speaking of Hollyweird movies, Ken & I just watched a Barrett & Jackson episode of car auctions. Guess what THE Risky Business Porsche 928 went for? Try to guess…

        Let me go check…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t see her much anymore…oh she was good looking…I willl give her that and probably still is…


  5. A song so dirty you feel the need to shower after… I loved that. They did write some questionable lyrics, from ‘Under My Thumb’ through this, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Some Girls’… I wonder how much of it was them just playing up their ‘bad boy’ image, and how much was true to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Best band ever – just. I’m not big on lyrics of any band / artist and had never really picked up on the wording despite playing this album SO many times! But remember, some years later, Bill Wyman got married, albeit briefly,, to the 16 year old Mandy Smith. (OK – it was legal, but the age difference …. ?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought I would beat people to the punch by bringing it up first lol. Oh I remember Bill! I love the song and that album. That started their best stretch.
      I always thought modern rock was built off of the Holy trinity of rock… Beatles, Who, and Stones. You will find parts of those bands in everything afterward. That’s just me though… of course I lean more toward the Beatles.


    1. I do love the song…I thought I would mention the lyrics to beat someone to the punch. That album is great. I know Sticky Fingers and Exile are the ones but for me personally….this one does the trick more than any other…. but artistically I would say Sticky Fingers would probably be judged the best or Exile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For me it would be “Sticky Fingers.” But I also have to add I’m much more familiar with that album than with “Beggars Banquet”. Frankly, there are some tracks on there I don’t recognize, based on their titles, such as “No Expectations” and “Parachute Woman”.

        On the other hand, you have classics like “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man”. Only these two tracks already are worth the price of admission!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My favorite on the album is Prodigal son…I love that song. It’s the oldest sounding real blues track they did on it.
        I agree…Sticky Fingers is great….I grew up on Beggars Banquet and that has a lot to do with it.


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