The Rolling Stones

The Allen Klein Collection

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Actually, for a bootleg, this is very well-packaged: the graphics are almost up to release-level quality, and the music, all recorded in the studio, is similarly just below official release standards in audio fidelity. It gets a fairly low rating, however, because most of these are alternates of 1960s songs on Metamorphosis, which itself was a collection of subpar outtakes. It's one for the rather embarrassingly obsessed Stones fan -- come now, let's all raise our hands together -- who can look past the usually mediocre quality of the songwriting and appreciate the historical value of the performances. The first 16 of these 22 tracks exactly duplicate the song lineup of the original Metamorphosis LP (including the two cuts that were used on the U.K. version, but left off the U.S. release). The difference is that 13 of these are alternate versions, though "Out of Time," "I Don't Know," and "If You Let Me" are just the same ones you hear on the real Metamorphosis album. To be frank, there's not much difference between the alternates and the officially issued takes; obviously in some instances, it's just a case of a different mix being used, stripping or adding some parts. Filling out the disc are six more mid-'60s outtakes. The basic jam "And Mr. Spector and Mr. Pitney Came Too" and the lewd "Andrew's Blues," neither of which have substantial tunes going for them, have shown up on numerous other boots, as has the more basic mix of "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" That leaves the orchestral pop-folk instrumental "Hear It," which sounds more like something Andrew Oldham did for his instrumental albums, albeit with Keith Richards on guitar, than a genuine Stones outtake. There's also a different version of "Blue Turns to Grey," though the backing track was recycled for Dick & Dee Dee's cover of the tune. The CD closes with "I Know," a forgettable British Invasion pop song bearing an Oldham songwriting credit; whoever's singing on the cut, it certainly isn't the Rolling Stones.