The fact that there is such a back catalogue of songs by The Rolling Stones makes it a difficult choice to know where to begin. Of course, in the period from the early 1960s until 1972’s Exile On Main Street, The Rolling Stones had some very impressive albums. However, this did not last forever as the 1970s wore on. Still, there are many good (and bad) starting points for the band and this good starting point is a nice entry into the world of Rock and Roll mayhem. Let’s take a listen to this compilation and hear what it sounds like.
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? begins this compilation with some weird wah-wah guitar sounds, before launching into a piece of music that is upbeat and joyful, but sounds really raw and direct lyrically. A really awesome tune, this is a great tune to begin this album off with. Mick Jagger sounds like a top performer and vocalist on this tune, which is driven and fast. A short piece of Pop excellence less than three minutes long, this ends with some interesting guitar work. Nice job.
Paint It, Black comes next. It begins with some delicious sitar before pounding drums enter and this piece gets going. It is obviously a bit of a hippie tune, but nonetheless, is a really cool and excellent listen from The Rolling Stones. A very listenable and straightforward sounding tune with an excellent sense of musicianship, this is prime Stones material. Sure, it is a bit of a Hippie anthem, but nonetheless, it sounds excellent. The outro is also excellent, with dual tracked drums and great bass guitar, whilst Mick Jagger sings his heart out on this tune. Great stuff. One of the most popular songs by The Rolling Stones ever.
It’s All Over Now – Mono Version begins with some interesting guitar parts that are very much an arpeggio before the song gets launched into a piece of Rock and Roll raunchiness. To be fair, this is not the greatest tune by the group and it is actually a bit of a letdown in retrospect. Still, it is a good listen, just not a great listen. There is a very raunchy guitar solo that sounds pseudo-Blues here, and the whole thing is a good Pop/Rock piece from the 1960s. Electrifying music, it sounds very retro. Nice to hear anyway. It ends with some melancholy guitar parts which are then faded out.
The Last Time – Mono Version begins with some bluesy guitar that sounds very 1960s, quickly followed by Mick Jagger and the rest of the group performing very well. It is an interesting listen regardless and just sounds cool and awesome. Singing about more relationship issues in a very upbeat way, this is great and fun listen for its simplicity. This was the 1960s as it was: a great era for music. The music here is fantastic, and there are chanted backing vocals and Mick Jagger screaming towards the end. Brilliant music.
Heart Of Stone – Stereo Version / Remastered 2002 begins with some excellent melodic melodies on guitar and bass guitar. The musicianship here is really excellent, and this is a typical piece by The Rolling Stones. There is a great guitar solo on this tune, followed by the rest of the group playing away well. To be fair, this is not as good as later tunes by The Rolling Stones, but even so, is really good on its own terms. This is a great tune for those who don’t need a girlfriend/boyfriend. It works well.
Not Fade Away – Mono Version begins with some nicely strummed acoustic guitars, handclaps and Mick Jagger’s quick vocal delivery. There is harmonica here as well, which adds a traditional bluesy element to this song. This is a more traditional Pop/Rock throwback to a better, and less stressful, musical era. Short, at less than two minutes long, this is superb. Good effort, once again.
Come On – Mono Version is another short tune and a number that is rather ordinary. It is a tune about a bunch of unfortunate events, but all the same, it’s only okay. There is also a key change in it which sounds pretty awful. Fortunately, this is less than two minutes long again, but it is pretty naff musically. Forgettable.
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Mono Version is perhaps the signature tune by The Rolling Stones. It begins with that electric guitar riff that sounds like a horn, quickly followed by nice acoustic guitars and pounding drums. This song is about sexual repression, and it sounds really cool and excellent. Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards put in a fantastic performance in particular on this song. Charlie Watts also puts in a good groove as a drummer as well. The whole thing is a really top listen, and is no wonder that these guys became popular from songs such as these. Excellent work, all the way to the fade-out at the end.
Get Off Of My Cloud – Mono Version begins with some basic drumbeats, melodic guitar playing and Mick Jagger’s definitive howl. This is a lesser-known song by The Rolling Stones, and to be fair, some of the selections on this compilation are not the greatest. Nonetheless, a relatively enjoyable piece of music, although not their best. An upbeat tune nonetheless that is fairly short and over under three minutes. The lyrics on this song are a sort of mind your own business feel, which can occur at times in this postmodern world. It’s okay, but rather forgettable, to be honest.
As Tears Go By – Mono Version begins with beautiful acoustic guitar before vocalist Mick Jagger enters with soft and calm singing. It is a sad sort of ballad that sounds really excellent, and there is a gorgeous string section on this song. A very open and honest ballad, there is a string section solo to make things more interesting. Not bad for a ballad of this type, it is The Rolling Stones’ answer to The Beatles Eleanor Rigby. A very pretty and melodramatic listen.
19th Nervous Breakdown – Mono Version begins with bluesy lead guitar playing before this piece launches into a groovy and Poppy piece that sounds excellent. Understandably, this music hasn’t aged very well but still is a good tune about the onset of said nervous breakdown over trivial events in one’s life. It sounds a lot like The Kinks Holiday In Waikiki but is quite clearly a song by The Rolling Stones. There is a neat bunch of intricate playing, and drummer Charlie Watts puts in a tremendous performance on this song and proves to be an underrated drummer. A good and interesting listen from start to finish, there are some super odd low frequency sounds to finish off with. Great tune.
Lady Jane – Mono Version has some lovely acoustic guitar playing which is fantastic and some marimba, too. This is a better song from this early era of The Rolling Stones, and is a naked and emotionally intense vocally delivered piece by Mick Jagger on vocals. There are no drums or percussion on this piece, it is a really wonderful and lovely ballad listen by these guys, time and time again. Harpsichord enters the left channel during the instrumental section and it really does sound like an awesome and beautiful piece. A really nice piece of music, this sounds really divine. Beautiful and excellent effort by these guys, top tune.
Time Is On My Side – Mono Version begins with organ styled sounds on keyboard and some unusual slide guitar. This piece quickly gets going and sounds very good, with some direct lyrics and some clever musicianship, with separated instruments in each channel. A good song about a lover returning to her man, this is a great piece of music with a twangy Fender Telecaster sounding guitar solo. Very nice listen, and also very reassurring, too. A slow, yet valuable track to listen to, this is a cool tune. It builds up to an awesome climax and fade out, brilliant effort.
Little Red Rooster – Mono Version begins with some nice Country/Blues slide guitar playing that sounds really cool and excellent. There is brushed percussion and acoustic guitar as well, along with a really old school Rhythm and Blues feel that drives this piece along very nicely. A very solid and wonderful effort, this does sound cool and incredibly good. This is a great song that needs to be heard to be experienced by fans of The Rolling Stones. Simple, yet awesome, this is a great listen. There is a beautiful harmonica solo towards the end of the song, which keeps interest and livelihood in the music. A fade out occurs after just three minutes. Good tune.
This is a good compilation that has some great songs, some good songs and some fairly ordinary songs. However, if you want to hear really early songs by The Rolling Stones that are on a compilation format, this is your go-to point. Still, their albums prior to the release of this compilation were better quality overall. Some of the selections could have been rethought, but otherwise, a fairly good listen.
Rhythm and Blues Rock.
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