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Any Major Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 1


Tomorrow, on July 26, Mick Jagger will turn 80, which is a good time to run the first of two Rolling Stones Songbooks.

The first of these Songbooks covers the years up to 1968, which roughly coincides with the Brian Jones years. Jones was hugely responsible for the sound of the Stones, but he didn’t write much material — the great hits were all written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The latter’s 80th birthday later this year will be an occasion for Volume 2 of the Rolling Stones Songbook. A third volume might follow that.

The Stones started out as a covers band until manager Andrew Loog Oldham encouraged Jagger and Richards to write their own songs — to maximise profits — with further encouragement from Paul McCartney. Clearly, the pair had a great talent for the songwriting gig.

Some of the early material was derivative; The Last Time, the Stones’ first self-written A-side, is effectively a cover version of a Staples Singers gospel song from 1954, This May Be The Last Time. Richards acknowledged the pair’s songlifting but also justified it by saying that the tune was a traditional gospel tune, and thus preceded the Staples Singers’ version. Maybe so, but Pops Staples ought to have received a credit — without it, The Last Time stands as an example of white musicians ripping off black music without letting their original creators share in the credits. I don’t include The Last Time in this Songbook.



I would also have excluded the nasty Under My Thumb, which in the voice of a man is misogynistic and cruel. Happily, Tina Turner turned the tables and has her man under her thumb. It is still a nasty song, but in Tina’s voice it becomes one of defiant liberation, knowing how Ike treated her as modelled by Jagger’s lyrics. And, my word, Stray Cat Blues is one hell of a dodgy jailbait number — Mick, Keef, it might not be a hanging matter, but it is a crime.

But the problems with some of the lyrics (which will re-occur in Volume 2) should not detract from the genius of Jagger/Richards (or Richard, as Keith styled himself until 1978). The fact that the London Symphonic Orchestra managed to create an album of Stones songs and made it sound better than the novelty idea it was, testifies to that genius.

The weirdest cover here is that of Paint It Black, sung by Czech singer Karel Gott in German. Karel (pictured right) was a crooner who’d obsequiously grin at the aunts in the TV audience, velvet bow-tie and side-parted hair in perfect place. So on Paint It Black, our man rocks out in ways that suggest the accidental consumption of substances which Mick and Keef were themselves familiar with. It’s glorious.

In compiling this set, I have found that it isn’t easy to cover a Stones song well, but if it comes off, it’s great. I suppose that to my (our?) ears, these songs are so tied to the Stones sound, and especially to Mick’s vocals, that it requires something quite special or different to suspend the association with the original. Most of the songs here accomplish that, but why is that circumstance so evident with the Stones and not with The Beatles? Answers on a postcard.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-satisfied covers, and the above text in an illustrated PDF.

1. London Symphonic Orchestra – She’s A Rainbow (1994)
2. Otis Redding – Satisfaction (1965)
3. Tina Turner – Under My Thumb (1975)
4. The Flamin’ Groovies– 19th Nervous Breakdown (1979)
5. Arthur Brown – Out Of Time (1974)
6. Alexis Korner – Get Off My Cloud (1975)
7. Johnny Winter – Stray Cat Blues (1974)
8. Jon English – Play With Fire (1976)
9. Melanie – Ruby Tuesday (1970)
10. The Love Affair – She Smiled Sweetly (1967)
11. Nancy Sinatra – As Tears Go By (1966)
12. Bobby Darin – Back Street Girl (1967)
13. The Rotary Connection – Lady Jane (1967)
14. Mary Coughlan – Mother’s Little Helper (1990)
15. Lindsey Buckingham – I Am Waiting (2006)
16. Miranda Lee Richards – Dandelion (2001)
17. The March Violets – Miss Amanda Jones (1987)
18. Smith – Let’s Spend The Night Together (1969)
19. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – Connection (1968)
20. Chris Farlowe – I’m Free (1966)
21. Karel Gott – Rot und schwarz (Paint It, Black, 1969)
22. Joe Pass – What A Shame (1967)

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  1. amdwhah
    July 25th, 2023 at 09:13 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Casper
    July 25th, 2023 at 12:25 | #2

    Once downloaded I get an error message (error while loading the archive)

  3. amdwhah
    July 25th, 2023 at 12:46 | #3

    Strange; I’ve DLed the file to check and found no problems. Maybe your download got corrupted along the way, or you mistyped the PW (amdwhah)?

    I’ve repacked it and upped it to RG: https://rapidgator.net/file/484d59cef707accebcc8a837414d6130/RSSB-1.rar.html

  4. Glenn Longpre
    July 25th, 2023 at 13:40 | #4

    It won’t unpack

  5. amdwhah
    July 25th, 2023 at 14:51 | #5

    Very strange. I DLed it from Mega, and it works fine. I’ve repacked it and upped to to RG:

  6. joe
    July 26th, 2023 at 11:17 | #6

    no issues for me … via mega

  7. Fredrick Beondo
    July 27th, 2023 at 20:47 | #7

    No issues here either…

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