The Rolling Stones
For me, due to the inner-world I live in, this is the Stones album for me. And oddly enough, it's a bootleg. "Necrophilia" is sort of the bastard version of their collection "Metamorphosis" but of course, much better. I don't really know the history of this particular bootleg, except I think at one time this was going to be released as a rarity album of goodies - why it didn't happen, I don't know. Still, it's my favorite Stones album.
Some of the material on this album sounds more like the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra with Jagger on vocals - or perhaps session musicians (Big John Sullivan & Jimmy Page?) but clearly some of the recordings here were meant to sell the songwriting of Jagger and Richards to other artists. "Neocrophilia" captures the band between being a R&B band and popster songwriting duo. Even the 'hits' that we know are different on this album. "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby" is either an early mix, or more stripped-down version. It has always been one of my favorite Stones cut. It is like hearing a blending machine mixing your favorite ingredients for a drink. Pure cocktail of sound. Trumpet? Blaring in the background, echoy vocals fighting out with the background vocals, and it is simply wonderful.
This album is sort of the negative version of "Aftermath," in that I'm sure it was recorded around the same time, or in a sense the "Aftermath" notebook. Notes for an unfinished album. The nature of recordings that are bootlegs is to see the wizard behind the thick velvet curtain at work. It is like we are in the studio but invisible. "Hear It," is the mystery cut. The beauty of this particular song is that it sounds like a soundtrack to a film, but discarded. Lot of guitar pickings, and then this beautiful string section takes over, but it goes back and forth with the guitars. Somehow I don't feel this is a Keith Richards guitar. Brian Jones related production? Or maybe Jimmy Page? A beautifully arranged piece.
"Some Things Just Stick In Your Head" is a throw-away song, but that is also its charm. It is a country arrangement with the full pop Jack Nietzsche arrangement. The song is not that hot, but the production and arrangement are amazing. "Aftermath" is a jam session, and I'm sure I can hear Phil Spector's voice in the background. So this maybe the Spector/Gene Pitney gets together with the Stones
"I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys" is the classic Mick and Keith song. This is where they show their true worth and sensibility. I often felt that the best love songs by Mick and Keith were really about them. The sexual energy in that band is not going outward, but very much inward. It is more of a yearning to be within one's gang then out with another 'girl. "Andrew's Blues" song is about sucking. And I believe this is also Phil/Gene and I want to point out the Motown influence in the early Stones - especially during this period.
An early period of "Street Fighting Man" but here with different lyrics and called "Pay Your Dues." The height of the Brian Jones sitar, strong bass playing by Wyman, and the great Nicky Hopkins. It's magic really. Now comes my favorite of the favorites, "Each & Every Day of the Year." The slow built-up is almost Roy Orbison intensity, with his sort of lyrical world and melody. It's a beautiful song. Majestic. It is so good, I suspect that it isn't the Stones, but Mick with session players. "The Sleepy City" is another fave of mine. It appeals to the Situationist instinct in me. To walk in an urban area in the early morning - perhaps after a long night out, or just waking up to this beauty of a landscape. I often walk around the town here, with this melody in my head.
The version I have is a vinyl picture disc. I wish that there was more concrete information about these recordings, like who plays what and so forth. On the other hand, the mystery is extremely appealing. Sometimes the information that is in my head is totally wrong, but yet, enjoyable. Nevertheless a superb collection of songs that are lost in the Stones world.