cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath

 

 

These reviews are provided to help maintain a connection with various genres of popular music extending from the 1940’s through to present time.

 

 

"Much of the music’s backbone is still rooted in Chicago electric blues" - [Classic Rock Reviews] .. .. .. "an LP crafted to come together as a total listening experience - [Ultimate Classic Rock] .. .. .. "It's blues-rock flower power, but all the flowers are painted black, with Brian's marimba and dulcimer adding color to these tough, lean, desperately lonely songs." - [Rolling Stone]

This is album review number 211 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl LP’s and Cd’s, in my collection.

The series is called “Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album from my collection that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 200+ reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

This album has been in my collection since the 1960’s, but I have just added a fresh pressing when a remastered 180gm version became available.

The Rolling Stones, along with the Beatles, in many ways “owned” the 1960’s UK music, at least for the majority of that decade and this is one of their many excellent albums, possibly the best from this period.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
LP Label – [CLICK to enlarge]
Aftermath was re-released on the ABKO label in 2003 and apart from the much sturdier 108gm pressing it has been remastered using the DSD process, which i discuss later.

The album was originally released in 1966 with all songs written by Jagger and Richards.

The album has thirteen tracks, six on side 1 and seven on side 2 and among those are some absolute classic Stones pieces. 

There is little if anything that can be said about the history of The Stones, that hasn’t been said.

Needless to say, to”purists” – The Stones will always be Jagger, Jones, Richards, Watts & Wyman.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

Aftermath was The Rolling Stones’ fourth album in the UK, where it reached No.1 after being released by Decca Records on 15 April 1966. In the US, however, it was released two months later, on 20 July, by London Records.

After entering the Billboard chart on 9 July, at No.117 (the highest new entry of the week – four places ahead of The Beatles’ Yesterday And Today) the album would spend six weeks climbing the charts on the way to its US peak of No.2, on 13 August, nestling just one place behind The Beatles.

The album is noteworthy for a number of reasons, but first and foremost was the fact that it was the first album where every track was written by Jagger and Richards.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
Left to Right: Wyman; Jagger; Jones; Watts & Richards – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Another is the magnificent contribution by Brian Jones. He played a variety of instruments not usually associated with their music up to this album, including sitar, Appalachian dulcimer, marimbas, and Japanese koto, as well as guitar, harmonica and keyboards, though as indicated earlier much of the music is still rooted in Chicago electric blues.

The US version of Aftermath differs from the UK version in one major way: it only has 11 tracks, whereas the UK version has 14. It also has Paint It Black as the opening track.

This re-released album is the same as the UK Decca original.

SIDE 1

  1. Mothers Little Helper
  2. Stupid Girl
  3. Lady Jane
  4. Under My Thumb
  5. Doncha Bother Me
  6. Goin’ Home

SIDE 2

  1. Flight 505
  2. High And Dry
  3. Out Of Time
  4. t’s Not Easy
  5. I Am Waiting
  6. Take It Or Leave It
  7. Think
  8. What To Do

A word about DSD Remastering. DSD stands for Direct Stream Digital. It’s a high-resolution format that produces a high-resolution signal in a different way to that employed by other systems.

DSD takes a different approach to the creation of a high resolution audio signal. Instead of using many bits of information in the signal, DSD uses a single bit. However, instead of sampling the information several thousand times a second, this single bit samples 2.8 million times a second to generate the audio signal. The result is still a high-res signal it’s just generated in a completely different way.

Fans, of which I am one, say that there is a naturalness and tonal sweetness to DSD that’s not found in more conventional formats and that it’s easier and more forgiving to listen to.

DSD isn’t currently a mainstream format and there’s a chance it won’t ever truly be something there’s a huge choice of music in. Despite this it does have some truly stunning recordings in exceptionally high quality.

One thing is for certain, when combined with the thicker vinyl – such as 180gm weight such as this album, it creates a noiseless quality vinyl recording, which despite the protestations of lovers of the original Decca version, is a superior pressing.

SIDE ONE

Six fantastic tracks and for me, not a dud among them.

Track 1Mothers Little Helper.

In a rather inane or, is it insane, set of complaints from a section of women’s libbers, who claimed that this track demeaned women.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermathThe issue was that The Stones were promoting a woman’s place as being in the kitchen. The Stones have her buying an instant cake and frozen steak for her hard-working hungry husband!

Talk about misreading the whole song!

What The Stones are proposing is that women were highly dissatisfied with the role and place they had been slotted into in society.

  In order to deal with it the song suggests women (or “mother”) is that rather than dealing with the source of that dissatisfaction, she turns to prescription drugs to help her find her way – “to get her through her busy day.” 

What a drag it is getting old
“Kids are different today”
I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
 

As for the guitar sound – Keith Richards’ strange guitar sound is a 12-string with a slide on it.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

It’s played slightly Oriental-ish.

Mothers Little Helper

Track 2

Stupid Girl!  Well, if track 1 upset some women, what about this track? 

Well, it speaks the truth! Yes some women are airheads.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

Most men and women know of women who spend a good deal of their waking lives engaging in what is commonly referred to as “bitching.”

She bitches ’bout things that she’s never seen

Men bullshit, women bitch. There is no argument that there as many dumb men as women – maybe even more, but The Stones are singing about the issue a man is having trying to develop a relationship with a particular woman and, failing!

I’ve tried and tried/But it never really works out

It was actually the B-side to the US release of “Paint It Black”, which remember, was the opening track on the US version of this album.

Stupid Girl

Track 3 is Lady Jane, one of my favourite tracks.

Penned by Jagger and Richards, a lot of the feeling of the track is due though to Brian Jones.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

The song showcases his instrumental incorporation of baroque rock as it was beginning to be introduced. In many ways it was a forerunner to the musical style later known as world music.

Despite losing control of the band’s output, Jones was integrating different instruments into the group’s repertoire.

Lady Jane reached number 24 on Billboards Hot 100 singles chart.

Lady Jane

Just a word about Track 6Going Home.

No wonder there is only six tracks on side 1, this track runs for 11minutes 35 seconds. I believe it may be their longest recorded track. It was the first song based track to ever break the ten minute mark.

Was it planned? or was it that they were simply enjoying themselves?

SIDE 2Track 1: Flight 505.

Flight 505 was coincidentally the flight number of the BOAC (British Airways) plane the Stones took on their first trip to the US in 1964.

The track features the unofficial 6th Stone, Ian Stewart.

It starts with what could almost be a “barrel house boogie” before it kicks into a higher gear.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
Ian Stewart – [CLICK to enlarge]
 
It’s Stewart on piano who mimics the bass line of E-A-D-G on a low note of the piano.
cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
But, isn’t it a great bass line – it kinda makes the track.

 

Flight 505

Track 3Out Of Time

Strangely the cover of this track by Chris Farlowe is probably the version that is most recognised. Yet even with Farlowe’s version there was a direct connection with Mick Jagger producing the Farlowe single.

I believe there are no less than fifteen other versions of this track. With The Stones version, once again Ian Stewart is on piano and he is joined by Jack Nitzsche on percussion.

Out Of Time

So which version do Ii prefer? Why The Stones – of course!

 

Track 8What To Do

Well, if there is ever a track that seems perfect for COVID-19, it’s this one.

What a great track – even to the “Beach Boys style – “Bowm Bowm Bowms”

Some say it was just a filler – not me!  A beautiful lay-back, with a somewhat existentialist overtone as the narrator” questions his existence and . . . yup – “what’s it all about”?

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

Well, I really don’t know – but I do know I like the track.

 

What to do yeah
I really don’t know
I really don’t know what to do
What to do yeah
I really don’t know
I really don’t know
 
Maybe when the TV stops
Faded out on the epilogue
Watch the screen just fade away
 
Now, I really don’t know
I really don’t know
What to do yeah
Well, I really don’t know
I really don’t know what to do
What to do yeah
I really don’t know
I really don’t know
 
There’s a place where you get bored
That’s what you make your money for
Drink and dance ’til four o’clock
 
Now, you really don’t know
You really don’t know what to do yeah
 
Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go
You’re talkin’ to people that you don’t know
There’s na-na-nothin’, to do-do-do
There’s na-na-nothin’, (no) no
You (I) really don’t what to do yeah
 
Well, I really don’t know
I really don’t know what…
 

What To Do

So where are we?

Aftermath is a signature expression of The Stones at their peak. It was a turning point for them, and in so many ways the contemporary music scene of the period.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

Yes it was their fourth album, but now we see it as their first own album. A couple of tracks aren’t as “fresh” as when we first listened all those years ago, but it really holds up well, with Side 1 being so very strong.

The re-released album is readily available and if you are lucky enough to have the Decca original, well, buy the re-release and hear those grea tracks without the “snap, crackle & pop”!

Never had the album? Well, now’s the chance to own one of the great Stones albums from those halcyon years with Brian Jones.

cream of the crate review #211: the rolling stones – aftermath


VIDEOS:

Some Youtube clips of live tracks from the After Math LP .

 

Lady Jane

 

Under My Thumb

 

I Am Waiting


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 151 – 200 just click the image below –

cream of the crate: album reviews #151 – 200

 

Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 201 onward.

#201.  The Atlantics – The Great Surfing Sounds of The Atlantics

#202.  Otis Redding – Dictionary Of Soul

#203.  The Beatles – Live At The Star Club in Hamburg (1962)

#204.  Company Caine – Doctor Chop

#205.  John Mayall – A Hardcore Package

#206.  Tamam Shud – 2 on 1_Evolution & Goolutionites and The Real People

#207.  Various Artists – Starday: Dixie Rockabilly Volume 2

#208.  Bo Diddley – The Singles Collection

#209.  The La De Da’s – The La De Da’s

#210.  The Animals – The Complete Animals