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Early Stones and Blues

Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 12:49AM
[Inspired by breno's "Sweet Home Chicago" comment in the "Moratorium" thread.]

I bought my first Rolling Stones albums last year (I'm 34.) I like pretty much everything from BEGGAR'S BANQUET to TATTOO YOU, quite a bit.

For many years I've heard about the Stones-blues connection. My dearest friend (a big fan) will often remark on how the band has a deep connection to Chicago blues.

But I find the closer the Stones stuck to "pure" blues, the sillier they sounded. On their first five albums (pre-BANQUET) their attempts at blues and R&B (cover and originals) are, at best, nothing special. Just as often, it's hard not to outright laugh at Jagger. He sounds ridiculous. Early Stones were way better when they leaned away from blues/R&B, and towards pop/rock.

And they seemed just as clumsy later on (for example, "Stop Breaking Down.")

THEM (among others, I'm sure) were way better than early Stones.

Post Edited (11-06-07 15:14)
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 11:28AM
or try the Pretty Things....or, strangely enough, the Zombies
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 01:59PM
I agree on the Pretty Things (in terms of blues influences)--rawer and tougher than the Stones. Though I'm not a fan of the rock opera attempt (S.F. Sorrow). Always liked the idea of it much better than the actual listening experience.
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 02:06PM
The Stones actually recorded at Chess studios on one of their first U.S. visits in '64 (the results were on 12x5).

Dittos to the Pretty Things, Them & Zombies. I would add the Animals ('64-'66) to that list. I was watching a clip of them playing the Richmond Jazz Festival & Eric Burdon was lookin' like Elvis Costello circa '78 & sounding 10x more intense.

Speaking of the early Stones, it would be nice to have a legit version of their BBC sessions out, which would include versions of blues songs they never committed to vinyl.
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 04:29PM
Ditto: Satanic Majesties Requests (although you need the vinyl version to appreciate the 3-D album cover!). Trippy stuff like "2000 Light Years From Home" & "She's Like A Rainbow" suited the Stones so much better then trying to be what they were not - black, American, early 20th Century. Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" is one of the most powerful recordings I've ever heard. The Stones version...makes me really want to listen to Robert Johnson.
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 03:39PM
I agree.

In general, I find Aftermath and Their Satanic Majesties Requests to be much more enjoyable than Beggars and Bleed. Songs like Lady Jane, I am Waiting, and Citadel are all excellent pop songs. Even songs like Doncha Bother Me and Going Home are poppier blues numbers.
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 11:10PM
The pop/rock stuff that grew out of their love for the blues was what they did best, the stunning array of 60s singles (most of what's on Hot Rocks, etc.).

But "Stop Breaking Down" is one of my fave Stones performances; the live Hot Rocks take on "Midnight Rambler" is great stuff and there are several others.

To me, they weren't convincing on "Satanic" at all. I don't think it's a bad record, but it isn't one I have a strong affinity for.

Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 07, 2007 02:45AM
When I mentioned the poppier stuff like Aftermath and Satanic I was just talkin albums. I am in full agreement with Mats about all the singles too. Plus I do like the bluesy stuff on Sticky Fingers and Exile. Just the early blues stuff off their first few albums.
Re: Early Stones and Blues
November 06, 2007 11:22PM
I must confess that I really like the early Stones quite a bit. I do think that the best way to experience the early albums, however, is in their UK versions. The Stones had the same issues with chopped up releases in the US that the Beatles had which did not come into sync until "Majesties". The UK versions of the albums: The Rolling Stones, No. 2, Out of Our Heads, Aftermath and Between the Buttons are each essential and flow as albums very well. Unfortunately, in the CD era, Decca chose to release only the US versions on CD so the UK versions tend to get forgotten. However, 12x5, Now, December's Children and Flowers were all butchered albums never released in the UK and Out our Heads, Aftermath and Between the Buttons are radically different in the US versions.

The last round of remix and re-release of the Decca albums on CD did see the release of the UK versions of Out of our Heads, Aftermath and Between the Buttons on CD but the first two UK Stones albums remain unreleased on CD (I did find a bootleg of No. 2 on Musicstack.com. The label is listed as MECCA). If you have an IPod you can recreate the sequence so you can at least simulate the original album experience. Check out the Stones Wikipedia entry for the details.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that my all time favorite Stones album is "Between the Buttons" and my favorite song by them is "Child of the Moon" (B-Side of Jumping Jack Flash).

Post Edited (11-06-07 19:24)
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