The Rolling Stones

Time Trip 1969-1973, Vol. 1

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The weird thing about bootlegs such as this one (the first in the Time Trip series) is that they're exciting on some levels, yet disappointing on others. The exciting part is that these are studio outtakes from a prime period of the Rolling Stones', mostly in excellent fidelity that's sometimes not just way above bootleg standards, but all but identical to the standards you expect of official releases. The disappointing aspect is that much of this is comprised of alternate versions that really aren't much different than the familiar ones on the official Stones albums -- so much so that upon casual listens, some are nearly indistinguishable from those official versions. If you are one to thrill to small differences (which sometimes seem more a matter of different mixing than different performances), however, there are alternates of a lot of fine late-'60s and early-'70s Stones tracks to evaluate here, including "Brown Sugar," "Gimme Shelter," and "Bitch." At times, at least, there are more substantial variations, the main instances being some live-in-the-studio versions (cut in Montreux on May 21, 1972) of "Tumbling Dice" and "Shake Your Hips," and a funky blues instrumental (simply titled "Blues Jam") with rolling Ian Stewart piano and stinging guitar that takes them way back to their earliest roots. Those outtakes have been around since the '70s, but at least by the time of this CD, they were presented in much better fidelity than they had boasted when they first circulated. You can't argue with the disc's generous 70-minute length, either. But the material's really for Stones fanatics who want as many cherries on top of their core collection as possible, and not for the average Stones fan, or even the average big Stones fan.