The Rolling Stones

Their Satanic Majesties Request [Mono Edition Bootleg]

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What is arguably the worst album the Rolling Stones did during the 1960s has suddenly been transformed into one of the best bootleg releases ever, its reputation salvaged and its songs transformed into superb, punky psychedelia, and it's all because of the use of the mono mix (virtually unheard by anyone outside of England) and a new transfer that runs circles around the late-'80s ABKCO stereo CD edition. Their Satanic Majesties Request has always been disliked by fans, who perceived it as the Rolling Stones trying to emulate the Beatles during the latter's psychedelic phase, and generally not sounding terribly good. The mono mix fixes all of that and then some -- indeed, all of a sudden, the album sounds great, and is great. The rhythm instruments are upfront and solid, and from the opening bars of "Sing This All Together" through the punchy break on "In Another Land" to the extended jam on "Sing This All Together (See What Happened)" (as it's printed here), this sounds like the Stones, pounding away hard and heavy, and scarcely like the Beatles at all. As expected, "2000 Man" is the highlight, with a crunchy guitar break that's right up close and personal, along with Jagger's vocals over it and Charlie Watts kicking the hell out of his kit while the organ twists little Arabesques around all of them; not far behind in terms of allure, amazingly enough, is "Sing This All Together (See What Happened)" -- the horns sound much more integrated into the texture of the track and a lot more dissonant, the Mellotron is more upfront in the mix, holding the piece together much better at the end, and the tom-toms and kettle drums are practically in your lap, while Keith Richards' guitar, doing strange psychedelic slides in the opening or playing a crunchy rhythm accompaniment to the horns, comes off as a true rock virtuoso performance. The rest of the album pretty much is elevated to a similar degree -- oddly enough, only "She's a Rainbow" isn't transformed radically -- and it's all more worth hearing than it's been in decades. The original LP has been augmented here by the presence of "Child of the Moon" in its original, thundering mono mix; "We Love You" and "Dandelion" in similar perfect monaural; and rough mixes of "In Another Land," "She's a Rainbow," "2000 Light Years From Home," and "The Lantern"; plus a rehearsal for the instrumental portion of the refrain on "2000 Man" (with lots of crunchy guitar), and two session outtakes featuring piano and acoustic guitar and organ and acoustic guitar, respectively.