Various Artists

Satisfaction: Covers & Cookies of the Stones

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This double-CD set of '60s and '70s vintage renditions of classic Rolling Stones songs is a lot of fun, starting with Ananda Shankar's sitar-driven version of "Jumping Jack Flash," in excellent fidelity -- we jump to the 1971 soul version of "Satisfaction" by the Detroit-based hippie ensemble the Assemblege, who evidently looked like the MC5 but sounded like War. There are a lot of worthy obscurities rescued on this set amid the well-known names such as Muddy Waters ("Let's Spend the Night Together"), Merry Clayton ("Gimme Shelter"), P.P. Arnold ("As Tears Go By"), Herbie Mann ("Bitch"), Rotary Connection ("Ruby Tuesday"), and Odetta ("No Expectations") -- probably the two oddest cuts are the Staple Singers "This May Be the Last Time," not a cover but, rather, the gospel number that inspired and lay behind the Stones' "The Last Time," and Rochester, New York-based Wilmer & the Dukes' version of "I'm Free," though Wayne Gibson's 1966 cover of "Under My Thumb" was similarly obscure until it became a Northern soul hit eight years later. None of what's here is not worth hearing, and it's mighty handy as well as a good idea to assemble all of these cuts in one place. Disc One presents the original tracks intact and complete, while Disc Two offers 14 of the 15 numbers from the previous disc in what is referred to as a "4hero mix," pulling them all together in cross-faded glory, with only the Staples' track left out. The annotation is surprisingly thorough despite its sketchy structure, even about the most obscure artists here, and the music speaks for itself; the whole set represents a good idea that was executed very well.

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