Monday, October 8, 2007
No. 181: The Rolling Stones, Now!
Band: The Rolling Stones
Album: The Rolling Stones, Now!
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Certainly the strongest of the band's early American releases, "The Rolling Stones, Now!" mixes some great early Jagger/Richards material with old blues-rock standards. Where Aerosmith wanted to go in the 70s... That's where the Stones were in the 60s.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: There's a certain amount of overkill in throwing all these Stones records on here, right? This is a solid album, certainly, but is there a certain level of tokenism -- the magazine is named after the band, after all, so they need to get the band on the list a lot -- in this sort of selection.
Best song: "Heart Of Stone" is kind of misanthropic, but certainly a great song.
Worst song: The cover of Bo Diddley's "Mona" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: It's overkill, but it's also a quality album.
It's easy to forget that the Rolling Stones were once young art-schooly British lads, covering old R&B songs and generally rocking out. Pre-heroin, pre androgyny, pre-car commercials, pre-arenas, the Stones were just a bunch of rich kids who liked Bo Diddley.
"The Rolling Stones, Now!" shows the Stones at their green best. The Jagger/Richards originals are in short supply (four of the 12 tracks), but none are subpar while "Heart of Stone" is up on the shortlist of great original Stones songs. An angry womanizer, the protagonist uses his youthful angst to pronounce the ubiquitous chorus.
The covers, while mostly standard, are also right in the band's wheelhouse. Ranging from the oft-covered Willie Dixon classic "Little Red Rooster" to Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me," the Stones show their dexterity in playing old blues, some country and early rock and roll hits.
Overall, it's a look into the Stones as young men. For those of us who know "Heart Of Stone" from jewelry commercials, it's a fulfilling record that expands the band's import.