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Customer Review

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get me on Flight number 505, 15 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Aftermath (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Mar 2012 19:38:24 GMT
Tommy C. says:
I was the first one to own this album in the United States, your stats on the the top 20 are based on sales, this should be in the top 5 of all there albums, the first with all original material, a beautiful flight attendant brought it back from London to me the day after it came out in April 1966, after I read that it was being released, she asked me if I wanted anything from England that weekend' I told the Rolling Stones / Aftermath, how cool was that!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012 22:40:44 GMT
....and she was on Flight Number 505! Seriously you did very well to pick up the UK version of the album. I always used to get annoyed that this one never used to get listed in critic's "best Stones' albums" list but I think (hope) that situation is improving.

And yeah, that was cool.
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