The Rolling Stones

Metamorphosis [Bootleg]

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The origins of the legitimate version of Metamorphosis made it a loser from the start; the product of a settlement of a lawsuit between the Rolling Stones and former manager Allen Klein, it passed through the hands of Bill Wyman, who, supposedly in consultation with the other bandmembers, put together a proposed album that contained most of the better tracks that ended up here. Then it went to Allen Klein, who controlled the actual release, and that was where the trouble began. In an apparent attempt to exploit the maximum benefit from the Jagger-Richards song copyrights, a lot of pop filler was added and the album became a messy hodgepodge of styles and sounds, made worse in America, where the release suffered from poor pressings, muddy sound, and the elimination of two cuts that were on the U.K. version. This bootleg rectifies the problems that can be fixed: every track has deep, rich, close presence, with a sound that is right in the listener's face, and the funny thing is that while the Mick Jagger solo version of "Out of Time" (using the same orchestrated backing track that ended up on Chris Farlowe's version) is still no substitute for the band's rendition, it does sound damned impressive here. The same goes for numbers like "Each and Every Day of the Year" and "I'd Much Rather Be With the Boys," poor as they are as representatives of the Stones' music. And the really good songs, of which there were seven or eight, now get the treatment they deserve, and that goes double for the best cut on the album, "If You Let Me" (a Between the Buttons outtake). The disc has been augmented with various early takes ("Blue Turn to Grey"), basic undubbed tracks ("Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind," "Each and Every Day of the Year," "I'd Much Rather Be With the Boys," "Walkin' Thru' the Sleepy City"), and other ersatz along the same lines as the original release, which enhances the entertainment value of the collection, if not necessarily raising its musical profile much higher.