Thursday, 4 October 2018
The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones (1964)
Released May 1964
Recorded at Regent Sound Studios, London
This is a hugely significant album. It is the debut album from The Rolling Stones. Before this there was no Rolling Stones. Just imagine that. Granted, it is almost all blues/r 'n' b cover versions, save the two "Nanker/Phelge" compositions, "Now I've Got A Witness" and "Little By Little" and the first Jagger/Richards composition, "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)", but it is played with a huge effervescence and energy that made people really sit up take notice.
The UK version of the album included "Mona (I Need You Baby)" instead of the hit single "Not Fade Away" and was simply titled "The Rolling Stones", as opposed to "England's Newest Hitmakers", as it was for the US version. The album was recorded in mono and, for me, by far the sonically-best version to listen to is that taken from "The Rolling Stones In Mono" box set. It is the UK version of the album on this set, and it quite simply will blow you away with its pure mono power. The sound comes blasting right from the centre of my speakers with a huge big, bassy thump right from the frantic opener, Chuck Berry's "Route 66". The throbbing bass is a thing of aural beauty. "I Just Want To Make Love To You", "Honest I Do" and "Mona" all continue the quality with a full-on attack that is pretty much irresistible. I have been listening to stuff from The Yardbirds, The Animals and Them (all bluesy contemporaries of The Stones) a lot recently, and, in doing so, I have sort of neglected The Stones' recordings that kicked the whole thing off. Listening to this now, I realise just why it spawned so many similar groups hammering out the same stuff. It is wonderful, youthfully vibrant fare but with a real respect to music from what was, until then an almost-forgotten bygone genre.
"Now I've Got A Witness" is a monaural jewel. The sound on it is simply superb. "I'm A King Bee" has Mick Jagger adopting that affected supposedly-American accent most obviously for the first time. Once again, the sound on this just takes your breath away with its clarity. Keith Richards nails the riff on Chuck Berry's "Carol", which is another copper-bottomed corker.
"Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" is, as mentioned earlier, Jagger and Richards' first song and you can tell. It has that typical mid-sixties Stones sound that the other songs don't have. That mid-paced, electric and acoustic guitar backed sound. It has an excellent guitar solo near the end too. It is a bit of an underrated early Stones number.
Obviously this album's wide-reaching effect was far greater than the sum of its parts, but it is still a most uplifting, invigorating listen, all these years later.
- October 04, 2018