Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Rolling Stones - On Air - Live At The BBC (1963-1965)


Recorded at the BBC in various sessions between 1963 and 1965

This is an excellent release of Live at the BBC recordings from the first two years of The Rolling Stones’ career.

What is a bit irritating is that the performances are not synchronised in any particular chronological order. Digitally, I have remedied this by numbering the tracks in the correct order. I find it makes for a better listening experience.

The sound quality on this double CD “deluxe edition” is variable, from the surprisingly impressive to the not quite so good. The three 1963 tracks from The Saturday Club are really very good indeed, clear and sharp. Roll Over Beethoven is certainly a rarity. The four 1964 tracks from Blues And Rhythm are similarly good. It really is a pleasure to listen to the band so tight, so early in their career. Mick Jagger was already perfectly his “transatlantic drawl”, however. Great to hear You Better Move On from these sessions. It really is surprising just how good some of these recordings sound, after all this time.

The 1964 Top Gear cuts are not quite so good. A few slight sound drops and they are mono as opposed to stereo, sounding as if they are being played on a 1960s transistor radio. Still listenable though. Nice to hear Crackin' Up, which of course would resurface on 1977’s Love You Live. I Can't Be Satisfied is a welcome addition too.

1964’s Saturday Club material is much worse, however. Very muffled. Surprising, considering 1963’s material from the same show was so good. Carol is a little better than I Wanna Be Your Man. Walking The Dog has nice bass reproduction but is still somewhat muffled.

I Just Want To Make Love To You has slightly better sound but is blighted by screaming girls like on the Got Live If You Want It recording. The Joe Loss Pop Show songs are even worse for general sound quality. Strange how, chronologically, the sound gets worse! After a while, though, you get used to it. The quality returns, though, with the material from Rhythm And Blues from 1965.  Also the next bunch of Saturday Club stuff, with a rousing Satisfaction and Oh Baby We Got A Good Thing Going. Cry To Me sounds great too.

The tracks from Yeah Yeah are even better. An excellent, bassy Spider And The Fly. The Top Gear tracks end things on a high.

Overall, an interesting listen.


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