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THE ROLLING STONES

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On Air: At The BBC

POLYDOR

‘Roll Over Beethoven”

8/10

CLASSIC FARE FROM THE STONES ARCHIVES

There’s a nice circularit­y to this release, following on the heels of

the Stones’ excellent 2016 blues cover jolly-up, Blue & Lonesome. The songs on that album could all have fitted on the Stones’ debut from 1964 – as could these recordings, made for various BBC shows between ’63 and ‘65’.

A holy grail for Stones fans, this long delayed release, previously available only on a thousand bootlegs, proves what a kick-arse band they were right from the off. Take ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, recorded for Saturday Club in October ’63, one of eight songs on this collection that they never recorded for release anywhere else. Charlie Watts appears to be connected to the mains, and Keith Richards’ guitar break is the same great one he’s been playing variations on ever since. Bo Diddley’s ‘Cops And Robbers’, meanwhile, features Jagger giving it some delightful­ly un-PC shuck ‘n’ jive. Elsewhere, cuts like ‘You Better Move On’ run their more familiar studio versions a very close second.

Only ever meant to be broadcast once, the tracks have gone through some figs into the fig rolls jiggerypok­ery, referred to in the notes as “Audio Source Separation”. The effect on most of the music here is pretty amazing, although the quality dips a bit on the deluxe edition, despite a great version of ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue’. None of this would matter a jot, of course, if the material wasn’t up to scratch, but this is some of the finest R&B known to man, performed by the nascent greatest rock and roll band of all time. How exciting must this noise have been coming out of a transistor radio fifty something years ago? Fantastic stuff.

OUT NOW // PAT CARTY

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