Friday, August 17, 2012

181. The Rolling Stones Now!

Album: The Rolling Stones Now!
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Genre: Rock
Year: 1965


1. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love
2. Down Home Girl
3. You Can't Catch Me
4. Heart of Stone
5. What a Shame
6. Mona (I Need You Baby)
7. Down the Road Apiece
8. Off the Hook
9. Pain in My Heart
10. Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')
11. Little Red Rooster
12. Surprise, Surprise

There are times when I'm listening to albums for this blog and I'm hearing a completely new set of songs; an entirely unfamiliar album that throws up a series of previously unheard tracks. There are other times when I have to pull a well worn CD from my shelf and play something I've heard a million times before.

And then there are albums like this one.

I have never heard The Rolling Stones Now! before in my life. It's totally new to me but every track is one I know well. I'm familiar with all the songs on this album- just not in this order.

It's a long abandoned practice but in the sixties it was common for American's to hear entirely different albums to the rest of the world. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and others would release albums in their home country and their American record labels would take bits from one and sploodge them onto tracks from another and create an entirely different album.

The Rolling Stones Now contains a few songs from Rolling Stones Number 2 (their latest British release) along with a few singles and songs the English hadn't even heard yet. The overall effect is a strange mix of roads the Stones had travelled and not a snapshot of where they were at the time. The UK releases were a coherent picture of what the Stones were up to but their US albums were a grab bag of past Stones moments mixed together and plonked onto the market with a hastilly reproduced cover.

Which is not to say this isn't a fantastic album. Even a hodge-podge of sixties Stones is better than most other bands going around at the time. Jagger leads the band through a collection of blues, soul and R&B covers which are familiar to everyone now but were new to white audiences back in the 1965. Everybody needs Somebody to Love, Little Red Rooster, Mona and Pain in My Heart are all given convincing renditions and haven't dated at all.

Hidden among the covers are a few originals. Most provide the flat points on the album but Heart of Stone proved to American audiences that The Stones weren't just a cover band. The writing team that would one day provide a string of hits first made its presence felt with this perfect little pop song that takes less than three minutes to provide a showcase for all the band members and announce Jagger and Richards as writers capable of rivalling McCartney Lennon.

Do I recommend this? No. You can get your hands on the UK releases which make more sense than this cobbled together oddity but there's no doubt I'd still choose this over about a hundred other albums on the countdown. It's 60's Stones, and 60's Stones are incredibly hard to beat.

Influenced by: The Blues
Influenced: Guys who write riffs

Highlight: Heart of Stone
Lowlight: What a Shame

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Unfortunately, this vile creation is quite a stain on the band's earlier history. Some of the worst possible songs are selected for covers, and while the original material still outshines this material, it's of a lesser quality than on the previous 2 outings."

-What? Since when is Everybody Needs Somebody to Love one of the worst possible songs?

So is this album very now or very very then? Let me know below.

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