The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra and Chorus – Rarities
CD Compilation, 1984
See For Miles
On some days I prefer the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra than say the original Rolling Stones recordings. As a youngster I would poop over these recordings, but now, as an adult, I admire their arrangements as well as the vision. And Oldham is a man of great vision. He not only saw the Stones for what they were (not are!) but the big picture that they can eventually do movies and why not do an orchestrated record of their hits as well?
The film thing never worked out – especially their “A Clockwork Orange” film project, but Oldham did in a sense had Jagger and Richard as the court songwriters in the world of Andrew and his Immediate record label among other things. A vision I think that the boys themselves didn't have, but Andrew understood the importance of an organization and everything being in one house or home. That of course,didn't last forever. But those years for both the Stones and Oldham were golden. I love Andrew's orchestration of the Stones an other songs from that era. Of course he was influenced by Brian Wilson's work with the Beach Boys as well as with Jack Neitzsche and Phil Spector's recordings, but I feel Oldham added his own touch to the art of the orchestration. Maybe a tad more British sounding or sensibility. The Rolling Stones Songbook is the classic album, but Rarities which is a combination of the hits from the orchestra as well as the b-sides and some of the odder work - especially the Lionel Bart album, is a classic in itself. A throw-away classic but nevertheless a great one.
Strange enough when he does “Da Doo Ron Ron” it falls flat compared to the Spector recording, but his take on the Stones songbook is quite amazing. He really tears apart the songs and adds a bittersweet quality to the overall work. With Spector I can see the night, and the Beach Boys the afternoon, but Oldham converys the British stormy cold bitter weather. And for me that is what makes the Oldham Orchestra so special to me. The sadness that creeps into the music adds another element to the world of the Stones. And again, I don't think Mick or Keith would see it that way, but the man with the vision truly understands the depressing aspect that lurks inside pop music.