11 November, 2013

Rolling Stones Anthology

You might want to sit down, fanboys. Lad Litter has been busy with a little exercise in wish fulfillment. The result? Well, I like to call it The Rolling Stones Anthology. Not Lad Litter Presents! The Rolling Stones Anthology, mind you. It isn't about me. I'd only get in the way.

Alright, maybe it is about me a little bit. I'd reserved the TV and imposed a complete ban on ambient sound for the 1995 worldwide debut of the television documentary series The Beatles Anthology. We had just the two boys back then: a toddler and a newborn who, bless their little hearts, agreed to go off to bed early over the three nights of the Beatles Anthology's screening so as not to cause any distractions. Panadol may have been administered, but only under the strictest supervision.
It was a great documentary on the Fab Four, exhaustively put together, including song clips in their entirety. And the DVD-box set which I now own contains even more material, so it's as comprehensive a history as you can get.

However, the 3 x 2CD simultaneous release sets that make up the Beatles Anthology's audio component take a slightly different path: they're pitched more as an alternative history of the Beatles' recordings. Maybe it does make me a trainspotting kind of enthusiast, but I think there are some terrific inclusions across those three sets, Anthology 1; Anthology 2; and Anthology 3. 
All together, the Anthologies contain delightful demo recordings of early live standards like That'll Be The Day, Three Cool Cats and Besame Mucho. And interspersed throughout are prototypical versions of songs that sound intriguingly different from their final releases, such as I'll Be Back in 3/4 time, an up-tempo O Bla Di O Bla Da and an acoustic While My Guitar Gently Weeps, to name just a few. There are also several sparkling live performances, including The Beatles' appearance at the Royal Command Variety Performance of 1964.

You do have to be something of a devotee to be into the Beatles Anthology but it is very illuminating and good listening. Which set me wondering.

Would it be possible to compile an equivalent collection for The Rolling Stones during the same period as that covered by The Beatles Anthology? Maybe it would. Certainly, there are numerous compilations and US versions of Stones albums that offer B-sides or unreleased recordings from the Decca years between 1963 and 1969. And if I could find some live recordings and then throw in a few unheralded album tracks as well, it might just fit together nicely.
But where to source them all from? I have quite a few CD releases for the Stones and could make up the differences from LP conversions. Live recordings might get a bit tricky. The only contemporaneous live material released during that 1963-69 period was the execrable US LP Got Live If You Want It! (1966) and three live tracks filling out the studio albums Out of Our Heads (1965) and December's Children (1965). And the 1996 release of Rock and Roll Circus, a TV special they produced in 1968. Luckily for me, our good friends at YouTube were able to do more than just help out.

As it happens, pretty much everything the Stones ever released in one form or another is up on YouTube. And there are more than a few live TV and concert performances uploaded as well. That's all very well, you say, but how could I convert those clips into sound files to make The Rolling Stones Anthology? Fortunately, the newborn who was bundled off to bed so hurriedly before the screening of The Beatles Anthology in 1995 is now 18 and told me of a website where you can paste the URL from a YouTube clip and convert it into a downloadable MP3 file.
Okay, technical problems solved. But do the Stones have enough sidelined material sufficiently available to make a Rolling Stones Anthology any good? I've got to be honest with you - I had my doubts. But that qualitative question wasn't going to be answered until the whole thing was put together and could be listened to as a complete collection.

And I experienced quite a few revelations as I worked my way through what became a huge number of songs. So I had to set some ground rules. With many more songs than I'd anticipated, there was no need for album tracks at all. So no songs previously on Australian-released studio albums would feature. I had to assume that the target audience for this collection would already be on top of all of that material.

It's easy to forget these days that The Stones' intention in the beginning was to play blues and RandB to please themselves and a select few devotees. They were almost evangelical about it. So the early recordings are dominated by blues and RandB songs. Or songs that they've injected a bluesy feel into.
And then the early live performances turned out to be of a surprisingly good standard. Most of you would be aware that the Stones' live reputation is patchy at best, particularly pre-Mick Taylor, so this was a bonus.

You'll probably also appreciate the chance to hear Bill Wyman's bass playing achieve a rare prominence on quite a few of the early tracks, and many of the songs from that 1963-64 period feature Brian Jones on backing vocals instead of Keith Richard.

The split-up between the sources for the collection is as follows:
1) B-sides and compilations of unreleased songs;
2) Live performances;
3) Studio outtakes;
4) Early demo versions.

Genuinely unreleased material is limited as, let's face it, the Stones previous managements did their best to exploit any stuff that had been left lying around. And I should stress, this is by no means exhaustive. Plenty of tunes didn't make the cut.

Anyway, here is the track listing, with a link to the YouTube clip in a few instances and some brief notes on each song. Let me know what you think.

The Rolling Stones Anthology

1.            I Want To Be Loved (Dixon) 1963
A playful Willy Dixon original and the B-side of the Stones first single Come On.
2.            Baby, What's Wrong? (Reed) 1963
All of the Stones and Keith in particular were Jimmy Reed admirers.
3.            I Can't Be Satisfied (Morganfield) 1963
This Muddy Waters cover features excellent slide guitar and harmonica.Unreleased prior to its appearance on More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies).
4.           High Heel Sneakers (Tucker) 1963
Not surprised that the Stones covered this one at some stage. Everyone else did!
5.            Stoned (Nanker-Phelge) Nov 1963
The moody instrumental B-Side of I Wanna Be Your Man.
6.            Fortune Teller (Neville) 1963
Originally released on Got Live If You Want It! with screams overdubbed. This is the scream-free version from More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies)
7.            I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney) Live UK TV Feb 1964 
Their second single release, suggested by Lennon and McCartney. Brian Jones plays slide guitar, its first ever appearance on an English record. This was the Stones' first TV appearance.
8.            You Better Move On (Alexander) Live UK TV Feb 1964
Another song from their first TV appearance, on the Arthur Askey Show.
9.            Look What You’ve Done (Morganfield) Feb 1964
From the 1965 US-only LP release December's Children (and Everybody's)
10.          Confessin’ The Blues (Jacobs) Feb 1964
A Little Walter cover from the EP Five By Five.
11.          Rice Krispies Radio Jingle (Jones) 1964
An extraordinarily bluesy radio jingle for a breakfast cereal and Brian Jones' only individual songwriting credit.
12.          Poison Ivy (Version 1) (Leiber-Stoller) 1964
Intended as their second single release but withdrawn in favour of I Wanna Be Your Man. Unreleased until More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies).
13.          Poison Ivy (Version 2) (Leiber-Stoller) 1964
An alternate take included on their self-titled EP.
14.          Money (Gordy-Bradford) 1964
Probably the standout track of the whole collection. Showcases the early Stones style at its best.
15.          2120 South Michigan Ave (Nanker-Phelge) Aug 1964
An instrumental from the EP Five By Five.
16.          Bye Bye Johnny (Berry) Sep 1964
Included on their self-titled EP. 
17.          Carol (Berry) Live US TV 1964 Live US TV Oct 1964
From an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show.
18.          Not Fade Away (Petty-Holly) Live US TV Oct 1964
The Hollywood Palace appearance that contained energetic performances and so much disparaging commentary from host Dean Martin. 
19.          I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Dixon) US TV Oct 1964
From the same Hollywood Palace appearance. 
20.          Around and Around (Berry) Live US TAMI Show Oct 64
A vibrant performance of early live staples at this seminal Santa Monica gig where they would appear on the same bill as numerous RnB giants such as James Brown and the Supremes.
21.          Off The Hook Live US TAMI Show Oct 64
From the same TAMI show gig.
22.          Time Is On My Side (Meade) Live US TAMI Show Oct 64
From the same TAMI show gig.
23.          It’s All Over Now (Womack) Live US TAMI Show Oct 64
From the same TAMI show gig.
24.          It’s Alright (Nanker-Phelge) Live US TAMI Show Oct 64
From the same TAMI show gig.
25.          Little Red Rooster (Dixon) Live US TV Oct 64
Not the Ed Sullivan Show appearance from 1965, this unknown TV appearance places the song amid a Halloween theme.
26.          Empty Heart (Nanker-Phelge) Nov 1964
Although short, this album track from 12 x 5 (oh, alright smartarse, there's ONE track from a studio LP) plays like a good-time jam.
27.          I'm Moving On (Snow) Live Camden Concert Mar 1965
From the 1965 US-only LP release December's Children (and Everybody's), a solid live performance with standout slide guitar.
28.          Route 66 (Troup) Live Camden Concert Mar 1965
From the 1965 US-only LP release December's Children (and Everybody's).
29.          The Last Time Live US TV 1965
From an Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
30.          Interview Canadian TV 1965
Brian Jones does most of the talking here.
31.          Satisfaction Live US TV 1965
Without doubt their best ever live performance of this song - and a great film-clip too. Brian Jones plays harmonica over the last verse and fade-out. The lines "I can't get no, girl re-ACtion", and "tryin' ta make some girl" have unfortunately been edited out by the Shindig producers.
32.          The Singer Not The Song Sep 1965
A ballad-y album track from the 1965 US-only LP release December's Children (and Everybody's)
33.          Talkin’ Bout You (Berry) Sep 1965
From the 1965 US-only LP release December's Children (and Everybody's)
34.          Looking Tired Outtake Sep 1965
Studio outtake.
35.          Announcer Intro Live Melbourne Concert Feb 66
A great find this. The Stones really rocked Melbourne's Palais Theatre on their second Australian tour in two years. 
36.          Mercy Mercy (Covay-Miller) Live Melbourne Concert Feb 66
37.          Play With Fire (Nanker-Phelge) Live Melbourne Concert Feb 66
38.          Get Off Of My Cloud Live Melbourne Concert Feb 66
39.          Sad Day Feb 66
The B-Side of the 19th Nervous Breakdown single.
40.          Long, Long While May 1966
The UK B-side of Paint It Black.
41.          The Last Time – The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra Jul 66
Later sampled by the Verve for their Bittersweet Symphony - and promptly sued by the Stones for sampling too much!
42.          Mother’s Little Helper Live Honolulu Concert Jul 1966
Performance quality varies a bit but the between songs patter is very typical of their shows on tour during 1965-66.
43.          Lady Jane Live Honolulu Concert Jul 1966
44.          Paint It Black Live Honolulu Concert Jul 1966
45.          Who's Driving Your Plane? Sep 1966
The bluesy B-side of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby? 
46.          Dandelion Demo 1966
Keith sings on this delightful demo, aka Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Blue
47.          Under My Thumb Live Paris Concert Feb 1967
No marimbas but a reasonable performance.
48.          Ruby Tuesday Live Paris Concert 1967
This European Tour would be their last stint on the road until their US tour in 1969.
49.           Let's Spend Some Time Together Live US TV Feb 67
The infamous Ed Sullivan Show appearance where they changed the lyrics so as not to offend. Only the vocals are live.
50.           Interview Brian Jones Monterey Jun 1967
Brian discusses future directions for the Stones while holding court at the Monterey Pop Festival.
51.          The Last Time – The Who Jul 1967
Not a Stone in sight here. The Who would rush-release this and Under My Thumb as a gesture of solidarity for the Stones during their 1967 drug bust cause celebre. 
52.          We Love You Instrumental Demo Aug 1967
An early version of the single designed to be a thank you to loyal fans during the drug bust cause celebre.
53.          Citadel Instrumental Demo Aug 1967
Early demo of the underrated album track from Their Satanic Majesties' Request.
54.          Interview Brian Jones London Jan 1968
Brian opens up about Their Satanic Majesties Request.
55.          Jumping Jack Flash Live In Studio 1968
Great performance of their new hit. The only time the original studio intro was played on a live rendition.
56.          Child of the Moon 1968
Atmospheric B-side of Jumping Jack Flash. 
57.          Family Outtake1968
A Dylanesque outtake from the Beggars' Banquet sessions.
58.          Blood Red Wine Outtake 1968 
Meandering ballad outtake from the Beggars' Banquet sessions.
59.          Stuck Out All Alone Outtake 1968
Outtake from the Beggars' Banquet sessions.
60.          Sympathy for the Devil Live in Studio 1968
Tracking the evolution of the song's development - from Jean Luc Godard's documentary film One Plus One. 
61.          Jumping Jack Flash Live UK TV Dec 1968
From The Rolling Stones' Rock n Roll Circus TV Special. Their last gig with Brian Jones. This creditable performance of Jumpin' Jack Flash has a more laid back vibe than any other live version I've heard.
62.          Parachute Woman Live UK TV Dec 1968
Also from The Rolling Stones' Rock n Roll Circus TV Special. More guitar-oriented than the studio version. 
63.          No Expectations Live UK TV Dec 1968
Another from The Rolling Stones' Rock n Roll Circus TV Special. Jones plays slide guitar and Jagger sings a varied melody from the studio version.
64.          Memo From Turner - Mick Jagger solo single 1970
Ry Cooder plays the coolest slide guitar on this 1968 recording for the film Performance, later released as a 1970 Jagger solo single.
65.          Sister Morphine (Jagger-Richard-Faithfull) Demo 1968
Early demo of this haunting collaboration with Marianne Faithfull that would not appear until Sticky Fingers (1971).
66.          It Hurts Me Too (James-London) Jamming With Edward 1969
Jagger, Wyman and Watts jam with Ry Cooder while Keith is otherwise occupied during the Let It Bleed sessions. 
67.          Blow With Ry Jamming With Edward 1969
Jagger, Wyman and Watts jam with Ry Cooder while Keith is otherwise occupied during the Let It Bleed sessions. 
68.          The Boudoir Stomp Jamming With Edward 1969
Jagger, Wyman and Watts jam with Ry Cooder while Keith is otherwise occupied during the Let It Bleed sessions.
69.          I Don't Know Why Outtake Jul 1969
This is what was being recorded when the Stones were notified of Brian Jones' death.
70.          Brian Jones Tribute Speech Live Hyde Park Concert Jul 1969
Mick reads Shelley's Adonais to the hushed Hyde Park crowd of 200000. 
71.          I’m Yours and She’s Mine (Winter) Live Hyde Park Concert Jul 1969
None of the songs from the Hyde Park setlist had ever been played live before and this one wouldn't be again.
72.          I’m Free Live Hyde Park Concert Jul 1969
This album track from the 1965 US-only release December's Children was a counter-intuitive choice for their first live set in nearly three years.
73.          Midnight Rambler Live Hyde Park Concert Jul 1969
Just a fragment really, from the quiet middle bit onwards, but Mick Taylor was obviously very keen to make a good impression at his first gig as a Rolling Stone - loads of slide guitar.
74.          Love In Vain (Payne) Live Hyde Park Concert Jul 1969
Mick Taylor really cuts loose on this one. Provides an interesting counterpoint to the Get Yer Ya-Yas Out live version.
75.           Jiving Sister Fanny Outtake Aug 1969
An outtake from the Let It Bleed sessions.
76.           I'm Going Down Outtake Sep 1969 
Another Let It Bleed Outtake - this one sounds a bit like a demo for Soul Survivor, the closing track on Exile on Main Street.
77.            Loving Cup - Outtake 1969
Much slower than the version that would appear on Exile On Main Street three years later, this outtake showcases Mick Taylor.
78.            Brown Sugar - Outtake 1970
With Keith on bass, Eric Clapton on guitar and Mick Taylor on slide guitar, this outtake has a great groove to it.

That's enough material to make The Rolling Stones Anthology a 4-CD set. Now, what to do about the packaging?


Ann ODyne said...

Thanks LL - just reading that list was a gas, and all of that is precisely why they are the greatest band.
Now that they are the age that their heroes were in 1963 I wonder if they wish they could stop arena tours and just sit on stools in clubs and play with less action and more feeling - like Old Blues Guys are supposed to do.

Lad Litter said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I knew you'd understand. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well it all hung together. This will sit very nicely next to The Beatles Anthology, and possibly even have less dross scattered throughout, something I wouldn't have thought possible.

And as you've pointed out, stadium-fatigue is probably why I regard Stripped, with its small-venue feel, as their best live album.