I love the way this song begins. The drums and guitar are perfect. However, I believe that Ry Cooder says Keith Richards took the guitar part from him when Cooder was helping the Stones record “Let it Bleed.” He played mandolin on “Love in Vain” and slide guitar on “Sister Morphine.” The guitar on “Honky Tonk Women” does sound more like Cooder’s stuff than anything else Richards did.
Here’s an excerpt from a story in American Songwriter on Cooder:
“The Rolling Stones brought me to England under totally false pretenses,” said Ry to Rolling Stone in 1970. “They weren’t playing well and were just messing around in the studio. There were a lot of very weird people hanging around the place, but the music wasn’t going anywhere. When there’d be a lull in the so-called rehearsals, I’d start to play my guitar. Keith Richard would leave the room immediately and never return. I thought he didn’t like me! But, as I found out later, the tapes would keep rolling. I’d ask when we were going to do some tracks. Mick would say: ‘It’s all right, Ry, we’re not ready yet.’ “In the four or five weeks I was there, I must have played everything I know. They got it all down on these tapes. Everything… they’re bloodsuckers, man.”