The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones "Stereo"

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This CD, made by some anonymous producer who had access to proper stereo master tapes, is an entertaining CD variation on a legitimate and completely dispensable German Telefunken Rolling Stones LP of a few decades' vintage. The 20 tracks on this disc are the best collection of stereo masters of their early songs ever put together in one place. Beginning with "Satisfaction" and moving through numbers like "The Last Time," "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," and "Get Off of My Cloud," you hear these songs in sharp two-channel separation which, amazingly, doesn't really dampen their impact -- rather, it gives listeners a chance to appreciate such elements as the clean guitar solo on "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" or "Heart of Stone," the punchy rhythm guitar on the latter song or on "Satisfaction," and the rolling thunder of Bill Wyman's bass in all of its glory everywhere, not to mention the nuances of all of the singing as well. The Chess session bootleg tracks "Meet Me in the Bottom," "Stewed and Keefed," and "Tell Me Baby" are also present, along with several songs featuring alternate lead vocal tracks, including "19th Nervous Breakdown." The latter is a revelation in the details of the playing that are revealed, but one or two tracks present offer little more than the novelty of the stereo mix -- "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby" reveals little new in two channel separation. The real treat, however, is the presence of four live cuts broadcast by the BBC in an experimental stereo format in 1964 -- not only the established Stones classics "Route 66," "You Better Move On," and "Mona," but the unissued "Cops and Robbers"; the sole complaint is that no one's released the Georgie Fame cuts with the Blue Flames from the same broadcast. And the kicker is the fidelity, which is superior to anything heard on any of the ABKCO Records CD releases of the band's music, and the packaging is a cool digipack design recreating the original German LP's notes and artwork.