Released in 1964 under the simple title of 'The Rolling Stones', and later, the line: 'England's Newest Hit Makers' was added, this classic LP was the Stones' debut album, and went all the way to number one in the UK charts.
The majority of the tracks were excellent covers of Blues and R&B classics such as 'I Just Want to Make Love to You', 'I"m a King Bee', 'Can I Get A Witness', and 'Walking the Dog', with only one Mick Jagger-Keith Richards penned track: 'Tell Me', which was not released as a single here in Britain, but was their first record to enter the US charts, and was a chart-topper in Sweden. The only track here which was released as a single in the UK, 'Not Fade Away', a song usually credited to Buddy Holly, charted at no.3.
Be no means the best introduction to the Rolling Stones' music, this energetic self-titled debut nevertheless gives the newbie listener an insight into this legendary rock n' roll band's early influences. This was released before these five men had began writing their own material, and were delivering their own authentic stamp on other people's, with ample flair and attitude. If you care to hear the Stones' first phase of blues rock, then this consistent, mostly-covers album is one which you have got to have.
The 2002 CD edition from ABKCO Records, like the rest of their Rolling Stones re-issues, boasts excellent digitally remastered sound quality.
I want to state at the outset that I love this music and this band. The format of this album, however, was the Stones American record label London taking liberties with the bands initial LPs. All the albums up until Their Satanic Majesties Request had their tracks altered. There were additional LP releases in the US where EP and B-side tracks were used as well as the inclusion singles, that in the UK were not included on albums as was common practice at that time, to boost the number of albums released.
The Rolling Stones real debut LP was just called The Rolling Stones and the track listing was
Side one No. Title Length 1. "Route 66" (Bobby Troup) 2:20 2. "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (Willie Dixon) 2:17 3. "Honest I Do" (Jimmy Reed) 2:09 4. "Mona (I Need You Baby)" (Ellas McDaniel) 3:33 5. "Now I've Got a Witness" (Nanker Phelge) 2:29 6. "Little by Little" (Phelge/Phil Spector) 2:39 Side two No. Title Length 7. "I'm a King Bee" (Slim Harpo) 2:35 8. "Carol" (Chuck Berry) 2:33 9. "Tell Me" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) 4:05 10. "Can I Get a Witness" (Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland) 2:55 11. "You Can Make It If You Try" (Ted Jarrett) 2:01 12. "Walking the Dog" (Rufus Thomas) 3:10
The other reason to be irritated by what London did to this album is the horribly insensitive lettering on the front which in most original UK fans opinion defaces a beautiful photograph of the band. The only lettering on the original LP was the iconic Decca logo with all the writing on the back cover. If The bands name and new title were to have been put on the front at least they could have used a more sympathetic typeface, but they just went with cheap and nasty.
I am happy in some ways that the US albums 12 x 5,December's Children (and everybody's) are available and that I could get the correct UK versions of Out of Our Heads [UK Version], Aftermath and Between The Buttons (UK Version) but it rankled a bit that their first two albums were not and were spread over a few different US version albums. Now with the advent of digital music players I have been able to recreate the original albums and gather the singles, b-sides etc, onto either UK release greatest hit LPs as well as the initial 2 UK EPs, see Wikipedia for track listings where the Five By Five EP also has a brilliant cover photograph.
The debut album by the Stones has many things in common with the Beatles first effort 'Please, Please Me'. The most obvious of which is the sheer raw energy that both records contain. Indeed it could be argued that neither band ever captured the same adrenaline rush on any of their subsequent albums. The difference, of course, was in the image. The Stones debut contained absolutely no wording on the cover of the original UK release. It was also self-titled and showed an unsmiling group staring arrogantly at the camera as if daring the person looking at it to make a smart-arsed comment.
When released in the US however, it was given a (rubbish) title and the group name plastered on the front. The tracklisting was also tampered with-'Not Fade Away' added to the beginning and the swampy, throbbing rendition of 'Mona' dropped. Understandable given the similarities between the two tracks, but for UK fans it's just not right that the rousing 'Route 66' doesn't open the album and the fourth track HAS to be 'Mona'.
The album was recorded at Regent Sound in London. An incredibly primitive,tiny, studio that only had two-track machines, egg boxes on the walls for soundproofing and a speaker hung on a nail for playback. In a way,though, this crude recording set-up helped contribute to the 'live' feel of the record as overdubbing would have been kept to an absolute minimum. Taken as a whole, the album is a rush of nervous energy that the listener can't help but be swept up in. Songs speed up as the band get excited, particularly on 'Carol', taken at such breakneck speed that Jagger can hardly get the words out. It's the definitive version of the song (sorry, Chuck Berry fans!). Elsewhere, 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You' features an explosive middle section as the whole band ratchet up the volume under an astonishing harmonica solo from Brian Jones. 'Now I've Got A Witness' has the kind of mix that modern engineers wouldn't even consider- Keiths' solo comes in way too loud- but it just wouldn't sound right any other way. 'Little By Little' is another highpoint, particularly when Keiths' ramshackle guitar break is interrupted by Jagger informing the band it's "My turn", and helping himself to an excellent harmonica solo.
The big Jagger-Richard song on here is of course 'Tell Me (You're Coming Back)'. It's slightly clumsy but never less than charming, even Keiths' off-key backing vocals are strangely appealing. Anyone who has an original vinyl copy will know that the song ran slightly longer and ended rather crudely. It just stopped without fading out properly. The new Re-master rectifies this and overall keeps the rawness of the album relatively intact. However, as someone who grew up listening to an original 1964 pressing it's not as In-Your-Face as the vinyl, which bursts out of the speakers.(The nearest CD release I've heard to the original vinyl mix is an obscure semi-legal Russian issue that I picked up at a record fair. It has the original UK track listing and the same dodgy fade-outs and sounds remarkably authentic and powerful, just as it should be.)
Please note, there is no 'true' stereo mix of this album. It was recorded in Mono.
The Stones first album is a superb mix of rock n'roll, blues and even soul. The stand out tracks are "Not Fade Away", "Route 66", "Carol" and "I just want to make to you," All the tracks on this record are up to scratch even the group composed numbers "Now I've got a witness" and "Little by Little," show special quality. Overall this record is a classic which will make an excellent addition to any Stones fan's music collection.
On the face of it this is a re-packaged version of the Stones first UK album which was released in 1964 and titled simply The Rolling Stones - but beware because it's not. The original UK release did not contain Not Fade Away which,in fact,came out as a UK single. However the original UK vinyl album did contain a track which is not on this CD, that being the bluesy I Need You Baby (Mona). This is a pity because Mona, as the song became known is very good and was in fact covered by Craig McLachlan in the late 80's. This CD must presumably be based on the USA version of the album as it was common practice to release different UK/USA albums and singles etc.in those days. The Beatles suffered from similar problems until about 1967. The UK track-listing was made available on CD in original mono by London Records only in the States in the late 80's and is now available again through Amazon as an import and can also be downloaded from Amazon MP3 site. Whether the UK version of the album will ever see the light of day as an official UK release again remains to be seen but the CD import or MP3 download will satisfy the needs of fans for the time being. Having said that this is an excellent debut album by any standards and the re-mastered CD mix is much better than the tinny, flat sound of the original Decca Records vinyl way back in 1964. Apparently the album was recorded in one track mono and no true stereo mix has ever been in existence. The Rolling Stones
The CD arrived this morning and I played it on the way to work. I was immediately transported back to my teenage years with a Dansette record player and the BSR UA8 autochanger clanking the old vinyl LP onto the deck and the music pouring out at full volume, much to the annoyance of my parents. And the CD sounds identical to the LP, but without the scratches that came for free eventually. The CD is fabulous! Nobody who claims to like the Stones should be without it as it is the orignal 5 members of the Stones at their best as far as I am concerned. Every track is great blues or foot-tapping music that you will grow to love if you have not heard it before. Buy it today and transport yourself back forty years, you won't be disappointed!
When I got this soon after its release I was so disappointed. I played it a few times and then went back to my singles collection. Much more readily accessible. But I was young - I didn't realise what a gem I'd got. About six months later I played it again and began to understand what I'd got. It was dangerous and subversive, edgy and raw - quite different from the Stones singles. This was the roots of their music - stuff not written by Jagger Richard. It was dirty and ballsy so I played it again, and again..... and again!
When I started getting CD's this wasn't too high on my priorities list but when I did get round to buying it it was like a trip back in time - everything's here, frozen in the moment, before punk or Bowie or Flower Power, before Sgt Pepper, before even Twist and Shout or Satisfaction. Some of the Stones were still teenagers when they took this into the studio - a must for any serious fan (or music historian for that matter)_