The Rolling Stones were different. They drew on a history of guitar based music, and were seen as competitive bad boys against good guys The Beatles. In fact, they were signed to the record label Decca Records upon suggestion that they would be good competition for The Beatles after Decca did not sign The Beatles prior to their success. Turns out that suggestion was absolutely spot on, The Rolling Stones would be a big success of their own.
This is their debut album. It’s not the worst of music out there at all, but like the first album by The Beatles, it is seen as merely a template for what they would be better at doing later on. Still, it is pure history, so let’s jump in and take a look here at what we have.
We kick off with the bluesy Route 66 which sounds like a 12 bar blues sort of thing. It introduces us to The Rolling Stones, and it sounds resoundingly simple. Raw, melodic and full of attitude, this is a great start to their career. It is a classic song, designed to be played in the car, driving along in the USA or somewhere similar. Great music.
Next is I Just Want To Make Love To You – Mono Version which is like proto-Punk in a way, as it is lyrically explicit and very fast. Still, it was recorded in 1964, so it’s not quite Punk there. The sexism here is obvious, but even so, it is a great listen. The Rolling Stones do very well here, a catchy and interesting listening experience.
Honest I Do is a slower piece but doesn’t sound very good, and just goes to show how much The Rolling Stones would improve over the coming years. The guitar here actually sounds very out of tune, not a nice thing to hear. Mick Jagger pleas to a lover here. Short and brutal, it also features harmonica here. Could be better.
Mona (I Need You Baby) is much better, beginning with Surf Rock style guitar, and a catchy and shuffle like feel to this song. This is actually pretty good. Raw, confrontational, yet refreshing. The Rolling Stones were on a mission to conquer the world. These songs are at a good length too, being around 2-3 minutes long. This is a memorable piece to hear, great stuff. Great sounding song.
After that is Now I’ve Got A Witness which begins with retro organ and harmonica. Sounds very 1960s. It’s an instrumental, but a good one at that. Showing that The Rolling Stones could groove as well, this is a great listen. About halfway through, an awesome guitar solo enters the scene. Great stuff, good to hear. Nice little musical interlude.
Following is Little By Little (Mono Version) is another straightforward rhythm and blues styled song. It does sound really good here, showcasing the talent of The Rolling Stones. Nice, although this sort of music has aged rather quickly over the years. The instruments mesh together nicely here. Great effort, sounds very good.
I’m A King Bee is next, and is a very good catchy piece, once again very Rhythm and Blues. The bass part in particular is interesting, and this itself is a good song to hear. In addition, some great guitar work is here too. This is one of the highlights of this album, and it is easy to see why. The whole thing is nicely well done. Many fans of The Rolling Stones would likely agree, top tune.
Carol is a driving and fast piece that sounds really 1960s and very quick. It is an excellent listen, and just goes to show how good The Rolling Stones were, even from the beginning. It sounds a lot like The Beatles, but does very well here. Very catchy, once again drawing on a tradition of Rhythm and Blues. An excellent song to hear, all the way through to the fade out.
Next is Tell Me which seems to feature 12 string acoustic guitar. It’s a plea to a lover to return in one’s life. Mick Jagger seemingly puts his heart on his sleeve here, and this is quite a good effort. Very unlike the bad boys that The Rolling Stones were seen as, this is very good music regardless. Refreshing and interesting listening, this is a good musical plea to a lover. Good emotional effort by The Rolling Stones here.
Following is Can I Get A Witness which discusses relationship and love based issues at hand. This is very good to hear, and sounds really fresh and consistent. No doubt the music here was hugely influential over the years, although being resounding simple and very 1960s. Good piece of music here, and showcasing The Rolling Stones and their unique talent.
You Can Make It If You Try is a very good musical statement, with clean guitar parts and 1960s style organ. Lyrically, it is about making effort in life and reaping the rewards. A very good listen, and short at around two minutes long. Most of the songs here are around that length. A short, sharp shock of musical glory, this is good stuff.
Walking The Dog is the last song here and actually has Mick Jagger singing about meeting a lady in public. Whether you own a dog or not, this is a good way to finish this album. There is a really great guitar solo in this song, showcasing the bright future for The Rolling Stones. Excellent music, a joy to listen to. Very catchy as well.
This is not the best album by The Rolling Stones. But it is a really great start as a band, and a step in the right direction for music, not just by the band or the 1960s, but in the musical world in general. The Rolling Stones were well on track to become superstars. That they did. Give this piece of history a listen today, it has stood the test of time.