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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Just to clarify one thing first. Below is the order of tracks on the original UK vinyl release. It was changed for US release with four tracks being dropped and "Paint it Black" being included. When the first CD release was made in the UK, Decca chose the US track selection rather than the UK selection. However with the release of several of the albums in digipak format in the UK in 2002, "Aftermath" (thankfully and at long last) reverted to the original fourteen tracks.

Mother's Little Helper
Stupid Girl
Lady Jane
Under my thumb
Doncha bother me
Goin' Home
Flight 505
High and Dry
Out of Time
It's not easy
I am waiting
Take it or leave it
Think
What to do

Not content with releasing a totally self-penned album, whereas previously only the odd few Jagger/Richard tracks had come out (and most of these on singles), the original and now restored, release of "Aftermath" contained fourteen tracks, one in excess of eleven minutes in length and with the total album lasting for longer than 53 minutes. All of this was revolutionary for a pop industry used to getting away with albums not much longer than thirty minutes.

So what were/are these tracks like? The first thing to say is that there's no trace of the Diddley and Berry sounds the lads had grown up with. Nor is there any real evidence of the Chicago blues they loved. There is some blues but it's not so easy to trace. "High and Dry" relates more to songs like "San Francisco Bay Blues" originally from Jesse Fuller but made popular by Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Ramblin' Jack was popular with the folk cum arty crowd in London with whom both Jagger and Richard had had some relationship (and not always amicable according to Keef's book). The old-timey sound of this track was utterly unlike anything the Stones had done before. Another blues track, "Goin' Home" is at once both more and less conventional in terms of blues. More, in that it uses recognised blues patterns. Less in that it strings all these together in one very long instrumental. The idea, and indeed, ambition, was good but the execution didn't quite match it - perhaps this idea might have been worth revisiting when Mick Taylor was on board.

The other songs are mixed and colourful: "Lady Jane" is a baroque cum historic number reminiscent of the Stones penned, Marianne Faithfull number, "As Tears go by"; "Think" and "Out of time" are melodramatic numbers written for Chris Farlowe, a London based white soul singer; "Take it or leave it" is light and poppy and formed a pretty good single for the Searchers; "Mother's little helper" is social comment - something the Stones hadn't concerned themselves with up to now; "Stupid Girl" has, perhaps, unfortunate words but is still a very neat little rocker; "Under my thumb" could well be bracketed with "Stupid Girl" but it has a light almost jazzy feel; and "I am Waiting" is one with an air of mystery.

Not only the songs but the instrumentation was new on this album. The story is of Brian Jones being let loose in a music shop. Certainly there's an argument that this was Jones' greatest hour - he features on more instruments than you can imagine - if there are some unusual sounds on a song then they most likely came from something played by Brian. But these sounds aren't gratuitous - they work.

There are a few throwaway songs here (mainly on the old vinyl side two) but every track has some attractions and a few are real standouts. When I first heard the album, back in those days, I was turned, overnight from a blues snob to someone who was interested in lots more forms of music (and whose next step was to go out and buy Dylan albums). It is still that good? Most definitely. To it's the first of the Rolling Stones classic albums.
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2006
I think it's fair to say that to a point 'Aftermath' is greater than the sum of its parts.
That's not to say the songs are necessarily inferior but it's the culminative effect of the broad soundscope created primarily by Brian Jones that is perhaps its greatest strength. Brian dabbles with all types of sounds including rarely played instruments such as the dulcimer, marimbas and sitar to create arguably the most colourfully varied sound to be found within the entire Stones catalogue. Brian (and the Stones) never choose the obvious as a number of these songs could just as easily have been arranged to accommodate more traditional 'rock' arrangements. 'Lady Jane' with its dulcimer and harpsicord instrumentation could just as easily be mistaken for a 16th century Elizabethan ballad.
'Aftermath' does contain more than its fair share of great songs, however, in particular 'Mother's Little Helper', 'Lady Jane', 'Under My Thumb', 'I Am Waiting' and 'Out Of Time' - each one of them highlighting a different aspect of the range of Brian's instrumentation. It's not quite the typical Stones sound that one unacquinted with their albums would be familiar with but it's nonetheless crucial in understanding what the Stones are all about.
It's probably true to say there are a few fillers ('It's Not Easy', 'What To Do' etc.) and the eleven minute 'Going Home' doesn't seem to go anywhere but these songs fit into such a seductive whole that it hardly matters.
Many present day Stones fans long for the return of virtuoso guitarist (and Brian Jones replacement) Mick Taylor to help them reconnect with their primary influence the blues, but upon listening to this album it would be perhaps a good idea also for the Stones to reconnect with some of the more unusual influences Brian Jones brought to the group.
'Aftermath' is certainly the Stones first great album and a reminder that there needn't be limitations in what popular music can aspire to. There certainly wasn't at the time of the album's release back in 1966.
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on 13 March 2004
At last, the 14 song UK version of The Rolling Stones Aftermath. This is one of my favorite Rolling Stones albums. It was a landmark album for the band as it was the first Rolling Stones album to consist of all original Jagger/Richards material. The days of doing cover versions of other artist's songs were slowing down as the band was beginning to develop their own style and sound. With original hits over the last 15 months such as "The Last Time," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and "Get Off Of My Cloud," Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were developing into a very strong songwriting team. Besides Mick and Keith coming into their own as songwriters, Brian Jones was coming into his own as an instrumentalist. He played several differernt instruments on this album: Indian Sitar on "Mothers Little Helper," marimbas (African xylophone) on "Under My Thumb," "Out Of Time," and mountain dulcimer on "Lady Jane," "I Am Waiting," as well as harmonica "High And Dry," "Goin' Home," and guitar and keyboards. The album also contains the 11-minute blues jam "Goin' Home". The album was immediately praised as one of their best albums and has remained a fan favorite from the Brian Jones era. The album has some great pop tunes on it. However, the album does have some weak tracks like "Flght 505," "It's Not Easy," "Take It Or Leave It," and "What To Do." Don't just judge the Rolling Stones by their radio hits, some of their studio albums have a lot of hidden gems, and this album is one of them. The sound has been greatly improved for SACD as part of ABKCO Records "Rolling Stones Remastered Series". I highly recommend this album.
HISTORICAL REFERENCE
The album peaked at #1 in the UK. The Aftermath sessions also produced the hit singles "19th Nervous Breakdown," and "Paint It Black" in the UK. Many songs on this album were also covered by other British artists at the time like The Zombies, Chris Farlowe, The Searchers, and others. The 11-minute "Goin' Home" is what inspired The Doors to make their song "The End" over 11-minutes long. The album was recorded entirely at RCA Studios in Hollywood, the same studio where Elvis Presley had once recorded, during two separate sessions, one in December 1965 and the other in March 1966. It was also the first Rolling Stones album recorded entirely in the United States, and it was also the first album released in Stereo.
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on 11 March 2001
Hear about the Beatles' famous butcher cover? That photo was a protest against how some British groups' albums were being mangled Stateside. As a US fan, I've enjoyed the superior (and longer) UK versions of early Beatles albums made available in my country when their catalog was being issued on CD. Too bad the same hasn't been done with the Stones; worse, UK fans are being forced to endure the US reshuffles (splitting _Out of Our Heads_ into two separate albums, for example) and redundancies (_Flowers_, where "Out of Time" wound up, plus recycled tracks from _Aftermath_ and US _Buttons_)...
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on 18 December 2000
can't help but agree with the previous reviewer - though there are actually THREE tracks missing on this reissue, Out Of Time, Mothers Little Helper and Take It Or Leave It. Maybe if enough fans express their disappointment the powers-that-be will reissue the original - and then I can happily buy the CD version. Until then I'll just have to stick with my original 1966 vinyl version.
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on 8 December 2012
This album originally came out in 1966 and I remember getting hold of it more or less at the time of release. It showed a significant progression from the previous Stones albums by moving away from the R and B covers and was extremely well received by both fans and critics. '66 was the also the year of The Beatles Revolver and the Beach Boys Pet Sounds and it's fair to say that Aftermath is on a par with both of those.
All the songs were composed by Mick & Keith with the recording being done at Elvis' haunt of RCA Studios in Hollywood.
Anyone considering buying this album should be aware that the US version is different and does not contain all the tracks that are to be found on the UK issue. The sound quality is excellent on the CD and involved a lot of restoration work by the team at ABCKO Records, and the running time of 53 minutes is about 20 minutes more than was the norm for pop albums at that time.
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on 27 November 2009
Want to own a Stones cd but unsure which one to buy? After-Math, in my view, is the best album to begin your collection. The Stones have created so many outstanding A Side singles that you expect everything they record to be brilliant. However, some B sides can be some what plain leading to a disappointing expectation. I can put your mind at rest about this one. Every track on the album is great. There is a creative brilliance oozing from the speakers as it plays. There seems to be a familiar feel to the songs even though yo may only have heard them for the first time.
You'll not be disappointed with this album...... enjoy.
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on 26 November 2009
Notable for being the first Stones album containing no cover versions, 'Aftermath' is a great record, if not quite the masterpiece some would have you believe. The Jagger/Richards songwriting team is functioning nicely here but the album really comes to life when Brian Jones adds his touches of magic to various tracks. Long lauded for being able to pick up any instrument and get something out of it, Jones applies this to the full on this album. Dulcimer, marimbas, guitar, bells, sitar and keyboards were flecked onto the canvas where needed, enhancing the songs perfectly. Standout tracks are the beautiful and very English 'Lady Jane', 'Out Of Time', 'Mother's Little Helper' and the brilliant 'Under My Thumb'. Soundwise, it has to be said the quality varies. There is a disappointing murkiness to several songs here, as well as notable tape-hiss. (Subsequent Stones compilations have highlighted both of these by increasing the treble in the mixes, just check out 'Under My Thumb' on Hot Rocks or 'Out Of Time' on Flowers.) The 2002 Re-master does a decent job of cleaning up the sound, altough it remains a bit muddy at times. Ultimately, though, its about the songs and there are many here to enjoy. The UK version is the superior one even without 'Paint It Black' but the shorter US edition has its merits too. (it finishes with the 11-minute live jam 'Going Home' whereas the original UK album placed it last on side one of the vinyl. Fine in the days of records when you could take five before flipping over to side two, not so good in the CD age.) I would definitely recommend this album to anyone even though it wouldn't make my Stones top five. Thats just a personal thing from childhood probably (its the only one of the Stones first five albums my father didn't have when I got into the group as a small boy so I probably don't look upon it with as much affection as the others).I would say though, that to really call yourself a Stones fan you should be looking to own ALL of the 60's albums. Yes, even 'Satanic Majesties' has its merits.
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on 8 April 2009
A must for lovers of 60s rock with lots of memories for old rockers.Not as good as some of their albums from that period but definitely one to go into your collection.After-Math (#820050-2)
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on 11 June 2011
great re-mastering, with the bass finally coming out. all very clean, so if that is the disc you dig, thats the best you can grab!
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