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The Rolling Stones – Genuine Black Box 1961 1974 (Scorpio)

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Genuine Black Box 1961 1974 (Scorpio)

Rolling Stones compilations have been produced and in circulation almost from the beginning of the band.  The first was Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) released in 1966, and the intervening years saw many more including Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) in 1969.  Three were released in 1971 alone.  The first two, Stone Age, and Gimme Shelter were issued without the consent of the band.  The third was Hot Rocks 1964-1971 issued in December.  It was compiled with the band’s consent and served as a summary of the Decca years.

Hot Rocks 1964-1971became their biggest ever seller and insured a follow up.  The initial idea was to release outtakes and previously unreleased songs on an album titled Necrophilia.  ABKCO played it safe, however, and issued another greatest hits double album More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) in 1972. 

The idea for an outtake compilation was revisited in 1974, a time when the Stones were going through a transition with the defection of Mick Taylor.  Bill Wyman this time took control of the project which was called The Black Box.  The project changed direction (and title) again and Metamorphosis was released.

It was soon after that unofficial versions of the Black Box came out in various permutations and incarnations.  The Black Box on Rolling Stones Vinyl Product (RSVP) was the first, being a collection of three previously released bootlegs Beautiful Delilah, Rape Of The Vaults and Gravestones.

During the compact disc era several collections were released under the title Black Box.  The more popular is The Black Box (Yellow Dog VTCD YD 046-048), and Black Box (Original Master Series OMS 025/26/27/28).

Genuine Black Box on Scorpio is the latest and perhaps best attempt at this much lost compilation.  It is six discs dating from the earliest Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys session to Mick Taylor’s final studio recordings with the band encompassing 144 performances collected together in a comprehensive anthology.  “Presenting the best available quality, studio outtake, demo, rehearsal, alternative, rare, withdrawn or otherwise unavailable recordings from the band’s golden era, this collection provides the most authoritative overview to date of The Rolling Stones’ recording career.”

It goes without saying that there are no new tracks in this collection.  Scorpio, who have unearthed countless Rolling Stones outtake material such as Time Trip, rather want to anthologize the best of the rarities that have come to light over the past forty years (thanks in large part to Scorpio).  The sound quality of each track is as good as it will ever sound short of professional mastering and mixing done by the band themselves.

The three 2CD titles are packaged in a double slimline jewel case, each with thick booklets with copious amounts of liner notes and annotations for each track and printed on glossy high quality paper.  The three are housed in a thick slip case and several post cards are also included in the packaging.  This has to be one of the nicest looking and sounding Rolling Stones titles produced.  This review won’t cover every track, but will discuss the highlights of each volume. 

The Rebels Arrive (Scorpio)

Volume 1 (79:39):  ON YOUR WAY TO SCHOOL [aka “WEE BABY BLUES”] (1961.12 Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys first demo session), JOHNNY B. GOODE (1962.1 Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys second demo session), LITTLE QUEENIE (1962.1 Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys second demo session), BEAUTIFUL DELILAH (1962.1 Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys second demo session), YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER (1962.10.27 first Rolling stones studio recording session), BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY (1963.3.11 IBC Studios), DIDDLEY DADDY (1963.3.11 IBC Studios), HONEY WHAT’S WRONG? (1963.3.11 IBC Studios), ROADRUNNER (1963.3.11 IBC Studios), I WANT TO BE LOVED (1963.3.11 IBC Studios), FORTUNE TELLER (take 1) (1963.7.9 Decca Studios from Saturday Club), POISON IVY (1963.7.16 Decca Studios with guitar), FORTUNE TELLER (take 2) (1963.7.9 Decca Studios without harmonica), GO HOME, GIRL (1963.11.14 De Lane Lea Studios), COME ON (1963.9.23 BBC Saturday Club), MEMPHIS TENNESSEE (1963.9.23 BBC Saturday Club), ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (1963.9.23 BBC Saturday Club), IT SHOULD BE YOU (1963.11.20-21 Regent Sound Studios), LEAVE ME ALONE (1963.11.20-21 Regent Sound Studios), MY ONLY GIRL [aka “THAT GIRL BELONGS TO YESTERDAY] (1963.11.20-21 Regent Sound Studios), NOT FADE AWAY (1964.1.10 Regent Sound Studios), ANDREW’S BLUES (1964.2.3-4 Regent Sound Studios), MR. SPECTOR & MR. PITNEY CAME TOO (1964.2.3-4 Regent Sound Studios), WAKE UP IN THE MORNING [aka “RICE KRISPIES JINGLE”] (1964.2.6 PYE Studios), TELL ME (YOU’RE COMING BACK) (1964.2.24-25 Regent Sound Studios 2.52 version), AS TIME GOES BY (1964.3.11 De Lane Lea Studios), AIN’T THAT LOVING YOU BABY (1964.10.8 BBC Rhythm & Blues), COPS & ROBBERS (1964.3.19 Blues In Rhythm), I’M MOVING ON (1964.4.10 The Joe Loss Pop Show), BEAUTIFUL DELILAH (1964.4.13 BBC Saturday Club), DON’T LIE TO ME (1964.5.12 Regent Sound Studios), REELIN’ & ROCKIN’ (1964.6.11 Chess Studios), 2120 SOUTH MICHIGAN AVENUE (1964.6.11 Chess Studios Long version from Around And Around)

Volume 2 (79:21):  HIGH HEELED SNEAKERS (1964.6.11 Chess Studios), STEWED & KEEFED (1964.6.10 Chess Studios), LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE (1964.6.11 Chess Studios from December’s Children), TELL ME BABY, HOW MANY TIMES? (1964.6.11 Chess Studios), MEET ME IN THE BOTTOM (1964.6.11 Chess Studios), CRACKIN’ UP (1964.7.17 BBC Top Gear)), CONGRATULATIONS (1964.5.12 Regent Sound Studios from 12X5), TIME IS ON MY SIDE (1964.6.24-26 Regent Sound Studios with organ intro from 12X5), TRY A LITTLE HARDER (1964.6.29-7.7? Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios), SOME THINGS JUST STICK IN YOUR MIND (1964.6.29-7.7 Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios), HEART OF STONE (1964.7.21-23 Regent Sound Studios), BLUE TURNS TO GREY (1964.8.31-9.4 Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios with female backing vocals), WE’RE WASTING TIME (1964.8.31-9.4 Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios with guitar solo), (WALKING THRU’ THE) SLEEPY CITY (1964.8.31-9.4 Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios), EACH AND EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR (1964.8.31-9.4 Regent Sound Studios and Decca Studios with female backing vocals), I’D MUCH RATHER BE WITH THE BOYS (1965.2 Decca Studios with guitar solo), WE WERE FALLING IN LOVE (1964.9.28-29 Regent Sound Studios), SURPRISE, SURPRISE (1964.9.28-29 Regent Sound Studios from Fourteen), SUZIE Q (1964.9.28-29 Regent Sound Studios from The Rolling Stones No.2), EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY TO LOVE I (1964.11.2 RCA Studios from The Rolling Stones, Now!), GOODBYE GIRL (1964.11.8 Chess Studios), MERCY, MERCY (1964.11.8 Chess Studios), KEY TO THE HIGHWAY (1964.11.8 Chess Studios), I’VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG (1965.5.11-12 RCA Studios from More Hot Rocks), OH BABY (WE GOT A GOOD THING GOIN’) (1965.8.20 BBC Saturday Club), THE SPIDER AND THE FLY (1965.8.20 BBC Saturday Club), FANNY MAE (1965.8.20 BBC Saturday Club), LOOKING TIRED (1965.9.6 RCA Studios), CON LE MIE LACRIME (1966.3.15 Regent Sound Studios without harpsichord), OUT OF TIME (1966.4.27-30 PYE Studios)

The first volume actually begins before The Rolling Stones actually formed.  The first couple of tracks are by Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys.  “On Your Way To School”  is the very first demo, recorded in December 1961 when the band at the time was Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Dick Taylor (guitar and whose house they recorded), Bob Beckwith (guitar) and Allen Ethrington (percussion).  The second is a three song demo recorded in January 1962.  It is interesting to note that “Johnny B. Goode,” “Little Queenie” and “Beautiful Delilah” are all Chuck Berry covers.  He above all other of the early rockers was The Stones’ muse and inspiration and they would return to Berry many times throughout their career.  These recordings were made on amateur equipment so they sound primitive but are quite clear and even then Jagger has his blues persona down.    

“You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover” was the Stones’ first recording session, on October 27th, 1962.  The band by this time was composed of Mick, Keith, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Dick Taylor on bass and Tony Chapman on drums.  The recording is scratchy and is only thirty-six seconds long, but an important piece of history.

The next five tracks, “Bright Lights Big City,” “Diddley Daddy,” “Honey, What’s Wrong?,” “Roadrunner” and “I Want To Be Loved” date from the March 11th, 1963 recording session.  This is the first to feature Jagger/Richards/Jones/Wyman/Watts and Stewart.  Following are three tracks associated with the Saturday Club compilation LP released in January 1964.  The two songs included on the LP were “Fortune Teller” and “Poison Ivy.”  Scorpio also include an alternate take of “Fortune Teller” from the cancelled 7″.  Their first appearance on the BBC program “Saturday Club,” recorded on September 23rd 1963 and broadcast on October 26th, 1963 follow.  The band performed three Chuck Berry covers, “Come On,” “Memphis Tennessee” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

The next three tracks come from the November 20-21st, 1963 which produced the first three Jagger / Richards compositions.  It’s a milestone in the set, the first example of their crafting instead of interpreting music.  These three songs were intended for other artists.  “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday” was recorded by Gene Pitney and was released in January 1964.  It reached #7 in the UK and #49 in the US.  “It Should Be You” was recorded by George Bean and also was released in January 1964.

Following are several tracks from sessions in early 1964 including “Not Fade Away” with an alternate vocal, guitar and harp performances and a session with Gene Pitney and Phil Spector.  Both of these tracks, which were recorded in February in Regent Sound Studio in London,  are in-studio blues improvisations.

“Wake Up In The Morning” is a twenty-seven second jingle for Rice Krispies cereal used for advertising in the sixties.  “As Time Goes By” is the first Jagger/Richards composition which would later be re-recorded as “As Tears Go By.”  This recording features session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and is in excellent sound quality.  Several tracks from the Stones’ appearances on “Saturday Club” follow. 

The first disc ends, and the second begins, during the band’s first trip to American in the summer of 1964.  On June 10th and 11th they visited Chess Studios in Chicago and recorded several songs, mostly blues covers.  They did record two originals.  “Stewed And Keefed” is an instrumental featuring Ian Stewart on piano and Richards on guitar (hence the name).  “2120 South Michigan Avenue” is another instrumental track which takes its name from the studio’s address.

Much of the second disc is occupied with their studio work in the summer of 1964 through the spring of 1966.  Most of these tracks are alternate recordings of well know songs such as “Time Is On My Side” is with an organ introduction, “Blue Turns To Grey” lacking the female backing vocals and “Try A Little Harder” lacking the steel guitar. 

Interesting recordings date from sessions during July 1964.  “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind” was recorded in early July and is different than the version found on Metamorphosis and “Heart Of Stone” from later in the month.  Both are thought to have contributions from various session musicians including Big Jim Sullivan, Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, and Clem Cattini.  The latter does have a Page-like guitar solo in the middle although it’s hard to say with certainty.

Scorpio follow with a big section of the August 31st to September 4th, 1964 recording sessions at Regent Sound.  Jagger and Richards are thought to be the only Stones present for these tracks which were recorded as demos for other artists.  Like the summer sessions, these included Sullivan, Page, McLaughlin who were joined by John Paul Jones on bass and Andy White on drums. 

This is followed by tracks from more visits to America, recording again at Chess Studio in Chicago (“Goodbye Girl,” “Mercy Mercy” and “Key To The Highway”) and at RCA Studios in Los Angeles (“Susie Q” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.”)  Volume two ends with a rare altnerate version of “Out Of Time” from March 1966 and issued on Aftermath.

Jigsaw Puzzle (Scorpio)

Volume 3 (78:45):  19th NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (1965.12.3-8 RCA Studios), HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER, BABY, STANDING IN THE SHADOW? I (1966.8.31-9.2 IBC Studios backing track), GET YOURSELF TOGETHER I (1966.8.3-8.11 RCA Studios),  HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER, BABY, STANDING IN THE SHADOW? II (1966.8.31-9.2 IBC Studios piano intro), IF YOU LET ME (1966.3.6-9 RCA Studios), YESTERDAY’S PAPERS (1966.8.3-11 RCA Studios), SOMETIMES HAPPY, SOMETIMES BLUE (aka “DANDELION”) (1966.11.8-26 Olympic Sound Studios and PYE Studios), GET YOURSELF TOGETHER II (1966.11.8-26 Olympic Sound Studios and PYE Studios), WE LOVE YOU (1967.6.12-13 Olympic Sound Studios), COSMIC CHRISTMAS (1967.10.16,21,23 Olympic Sound Studios), 2000 LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME (1967.8.10-9.7 Olympic Sound Studios), GOLD PAINTED NAILS (1967.10.16,21,23 Olympic Sound Studios), DID EVERYBODY PAY THEIR DUES? (1968.3.17-4.3 Olympic Sound Studios), CHILD OF THE MOON I (1968.3.17-4.3 Olympic Sound Studios from More Hot Rocks?), JIGSAW PUZZLE (1968.7.7-25 Olympic Sound Studios), PARACHUTE WOMAN (1968.3.17-4.3 Olympic Sound Studios), JUMPING JACK FLASH (1968.4.20 Olympic Sound Studios), HIGHWAY CHILD (1968.2 Redlands?), STRAY CAT BLUES (1968.3.17-4.3 Olympic Sound Studios), FAMILY I (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), BLOOD RED WINE (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), NO EXPECTATIONS (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), DEAR DOCTOR (take 1) (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), MEMO FROM TURNER I (1968.11.17 Olympic Sound Studio)  

Volume 4 (79:20):  CHILD OF THE MOON II (1968.3.17-4.3 Olympic Sound Studios backing track), PRODIGAL SON (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), FAMILY II (1968.6.28 Olympic Sound Studios), STILL A FOOL (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), GIVE ME A HAMBURGER TO GO (aka “STUCK OUT ALL ALONE”) (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), MEMO FROM TURNER II (1968.11.17 Olympic Sound Studios), AND I WAS A COUNTRY BOY (1969.2.10-3.31 Olympic Sound Studios), SISTER MORPHINE I (1968.5.13-23 Olympic Sound Studios), YOU GOT THE SILVER (1969.2.10-3.31 Olympic Sound Studios Mick Jagger on lead vocals), GIMME SHELTER (1969.2.10-3.31 Olympic Sound Studios Keith Richards on lead vocals), HONKY TONK WOMEN (1969.2.10-3.31 Olympic Sound Studios), SISTER MORPHINE II (1969.2.10-3.31 Olympic Sound Studios), LOVING CUP I (1969.4.17-7.2 Olympic Sound Studios), JIVING SISTER FANNY (1969.4.17-7.2 Olympic Sound Studios), DOWNTOWN SUZIE (1969.4.17-7.2 Olympic Sound Studios), I’M GOING DOWN (1969.10.17-26 Sunset Studios & 10.28-11.2 Elektra Studios), I DON’T KNOW WHY (1969.4.17-7.2 Olympic Sound Studios), COUNTRY HONK (1969.4.17-7.2 Olympic Sound Studios), ALL DOWN THE LINE I (1969.10.17-26 Sunset Studios & 10.28-11.2 Elektra Studios acoustic version)

Jigsaw Puzzle is the second volume in the set and covers outtakes and alternate versions of songs recorded between 1966 to 1969.  These three short years show the band going from pop stars to experimenting with psychedelia before settling upon a role of social commentary that would lead them into the new decade.  Much of this progress is attributed to Brian Jones, who expanded their sound past the basic vocals-guitar-bass-drums arrangements and is evident on the LPs Aftermath (1966), Between the Buttons (1967) and Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).

The disc opens with “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?”, both with a different vocal performance than the official releases.  “Yesterday’s Papers” is included from an acoustic demo, and “Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad” is a great vocal performance by Keith of a song that would mutate into “Dandelion.”  

“Dandelion” was released in the summer of 1967 as a B-side to “We Love You,” which is also included but as an instrumental with a radically different mix.  “Cosmic Christmas” is a twenty-seven second long instrumental track with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” played on a spacey sounding synthesizer.  This is followed by an instrumental backing track for “2000 Light Years From Home.”  At this point it was called “Toffee Apple” and Jones’ mellotron is the dominant instrument.

“Gold Painted Nails” is one of the more adventurous Stones compositions from the Satanic Majesties sessions which has never been officially released.  It features Jones on harmonica and Nicky Hopkins on piano.  Extensive outtakes exist, but Scorpio include only the most complete recording of the song.

“Did Everybody Pay Their Dues?” of course is the  early version of “Street Fighting Man.”  Written in March 1968, the lyrics and title were changed after the Paris riots.  The instrumetal arrangement remains the same, however, and is one of the most diverse tracks in this collection.   Brian Jones performs sitar and tamboura.  Dave Mason plays shehnai, Rick Grech plays electric viola, and Hopkins plays the song’s piano. 

The rest of the disc contains Beggar’s Banquet era alternate takes.  “Child Of The Moon,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” “Parachute Woman,” and “Stray Cat Blues” all have different vocal takes.  The final track on this disc is a radically different arrangement of “Memo From Turner.” 

Disc two continues with Beggar’s Banquet tunes with an instrumental run through of “Child Of The Moon” and an early mix of “Prodigal Son.”  Following these are two songs from a session in May, 1968 at Olympic Studio.  “Still A Fool” is a cover of the Muddy Waters tune with a very long (nine minute) improvisation, followed by the excellent “Give Me A Hamburger To Go (Stuck Out All Alone).”  

“Memo From Turner” was recorded in the early part of 1969.  This is an extended version with alternate lyrics and includes contributions from  many session musicians including Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche and Randy Newman.  Early versions of “Sister Morphine,” “You Got The Silver” (with Jagger on vocals), and “Gimme Shelter” (with Richards on vocals) follow. 

A verison of “I’m Going Down” different than which appears on Metamorphosis is included.  This was recorded late 1969 and was written by Mick Taylor, although he wasn’t credited.  Steven Stills also appears on this track.  The disc ends with an early acoustic version of “All Down The Line,” sounding much different than the recording that would surface three years later on Exile On Main Street.

Mean Street Blues (Scorpio)

Volume 5 (79:46):  GET A LINE ON YOU (1970.8.7 Olympic Sound Studios), HILLSIDE BLUES [aka “I DON’T KNOW THE REASON WHY”] (1969.10.17-26 Sunset Studios & 10.28-11.2 Elektra Studios), WILD HORSES (1969.12.4? Olympic Sound Studios), COCKSUCKER BLUES (1970.3-5 Olympic Sound Studios & Newbury, Stargroves), DEAD FLOWERS (1969.12.9 Olympic Sound Studios), DANCING IN THE LIGHT (1970.3-5 Olympic Sound Studios & Newbury, Stargroves), SHAKE YOUR HIPS (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), LEATHER JACKET (1970.6.16-7.27 Olympic Sound Studios), STOP BREAKING DOWN (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), SHINE A LIGHT (1970.6.16-7.27 Olympic Sound Studios), SWEET VIRGINIA (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), WHO AM I? (1970.6.16-7.27 Olympic Sound Studios), GOOD TIME WOMAN (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), SWAY (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), BITCH (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), TRAVELIN’ MAN (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), BROWN SUGAR (1970.12.18 Olympic Sound Studios with Eric Clapton), SILVER TRAIN (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios)

Volume 6 (79:35):  LET IT ROCK (1971.3.13 Live at Leeds University, Stereo), I’M NOT SIGNIFYING (1971.7 & 10.14-11.2 Villefranche, France, Villa Nellcote), POTTED SHRIMP (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), SO DIVINE [aka “ALADDIN STORY”] (1970.10.17-31 Newbury, Stargroves & Olympic Sound Studios), LOVING CUP II (1971.12.4-19 Sunset Studios), ALL DOWN THE LINE II (1971.12.4-19 Sunset Studios), I DON’T CARE (1972.3.28 Sunset Studios), EXILE ON MAIN STREET BLUES (1972.3.28 Sunset Studios), WINTER (1972.11.25-30 & 12.6-21 Dynamic Sound Studios, CRISS-CROSS MAN (1972.11.25-30 & 12.6-21 Dynamic Sound Studios), SEPERATELY (1972.11.25-30 & 12.6-21 Dynamic Sound Studios), THROUGH THE LONELY NIGHTS (1972.11.25-30 &12.6-21 Dynamic Sound Studios), DANCING WITH MR. D. (1973.4.28-5 Island Recording Studios), 100 YEARS AGO (1973.4.28-5 Island Recording Studios), HIDE YOUR LOVE (1973.4.28-5 Island Recording Studios), TOO MANY COOKS (1973.12 The Record Plant), DRIFT AWAY (1974.1.14-28 Musicland Studios), LIVING IN THE HEART OF LOVE (1974.1.14-28 Musicland Studios), IF YOU CAN’T ROCK ME (1974.4.10-15 Newbury, Stargroves, Mobile Studio & 5.20-25 Island Recording Studios), ‘TILL THE NEXT GOODBYE (1974.4.10-15 Newbury, Stargroves, Mobile Studio & 5.20 Island Recording Studios)

Mean Street Bluescovers the Mick Taylor years between 1970 to his last recording with the Stones in 1974.  Many consider this to be the most fertile period for their creativity.  These sessions don’t have the varied instrumental experiments that Brian Jones brought to the band.  They would continue with the vocals/guitars/bass/drum with piano arrangements for the rest of their career.  However, there are still flirtations with different styles to expand the Rolling Stones’ music vocabulary.

The volume opens with an excellent quality outtake “Get A Line On You.”  This is an early version of what will be “Shine A Light” on Exile several years later.  This was recorded for Leon Russell’s album Leon Russell, but wasn’t used until a re-release in 1994.  There are conflicting sources for the recording of the track.  Some say it as recorded in October 1969 with the rest of the Stones joining Russell on piano.  Another source places this in August, 1970 with Ringo Starr on drums and Chris Stainton on guitar joining Russell.

“Hillside Blues” is a ten minute long blues jam recorded in Los Angeles right before their 1969 tour.  It is interesting but ultimately meanders and remains unreleased.  “Cocksucker Blues” is their infamous piece of smut given to London Records as a parting gift and (understandably) remains unreleased.  The latter half of the disc covers “Good Time Woman,” the first stab at “Tumbling Dice,” and the Eric Clapton recording of “Brown Sugar.”

The second disc opens with a live recoding of “Let It Rock,” the B-side to “Brown Sugar” in the UK.  It is presented in stereo.  “I Ain’t Lying” is one of the very few Exile On Main Street outtakes.  It’s also under the name “Ain’t Gonna Lie,” “I Ain’t Signifying” and “I’ve Been Here Before.”  Taylor augments the simple 12-bar blues with variations of the melody as Jagger delivers a powerful vocal performance.

Both “Potted Shrimps” and “Aladdin Story” were recorded in October 1970 at Stargroves.  “Potted Shrimps” is an up-tempo hard rock number dominated by Hopkins on the piano and Taylor on wah-wah.  “Aladdin Story” is another instrumental with Nicky Hopkins on piano and a wonderful organ melody complimenting the saxophone.  The song is very catchy with the melody sounding very close to “Paint It Black.”  It may be a bit too “poppy” for the Stones but it is great to listen to. 

The Exile On Main Street era ends with the outtake “I Don’t Care” and the promo “Exile On Main Street Blues.”  Both feature Jagger alone at the piano and were recorded on March 28th, 1972 at Sunset Studios in Los Angeles.  

Goats Head Soup outtakes follow with an alternate recording of “Winter” and the outtake “Criss-Cross Man.”  This tune was ultimately used for the Japanese film Metamorphoses.  Scorpio include the earliest version, recorded in 1972, which lacks the saxophone.

“Separately” an a haunting Mick Taylor instrumental recorded in  Dynamic Sound Studio, Kingston, Jamaica in November 1972.  “Through The Lonely Nights” was also recorded in Kingston and was released as a B side to “It’s Only Rock And Roll” in 1974 and remains unavailable on any compact disc. 

“Too Many Cooks” is an interesting inclusion in this set.  Technically, it’s a Mick Jagger recording, not Rolling Stones.  It was recorded in December 1973 at the Record Plant in Los Angeles and was produced by John Lennon and features guitarists Danny Kortchmar and Jesse Ed Davis, keyboardist Al Kooper, bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Jim Keltner and, on backing vocals, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. Neither Lennon nor Bill Wyman, who was present at the session, appear on the track.  It’s a fascinating excursion into funk the likes of which the Stones would never attempt.  It can be found on The Very Best of Mick Jagger released in 2007.

The collection ends with various tracks associated with It’s Only Rock And Roll.  “Living In The Heart Of Love” is a predecessor to “Luxury.”  Both the acetate version of “If You Can’t Rock Me” and an alternate mix of “‘Till The Next Goodbye” have different guitar parts.  The latter song has the distinction of being the final recording of Mick Taylor with the Stones and is an appropriate ending to this massive collection.

By presenting these tracks together with all of the text and annotation in the booklets, Scorpio succeeded in what they set out to do.  Some can argue for the inclusion of tracks they chose to omit, but this makes an excellent compliment to the official releases to document the progression of the band from its’ beginning through to one of the their commercial peaks. 

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The Rolling Stones - Genuine Black Box 1961 1974 (Scorpio), 2.5 out of 5 based on 11 ratings

3 Comments

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  1. LedMan says
    November 11, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Beautiful collection and for the most part I like how this collection flows. I consider myself a casual Stones collector and after spending several days listening to these tracks I enjoyed them enough that I’m considering exploring other Stones outtake material like the Scorpio’s “Time Trip” collection.

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  2. vigotone says
    August 9, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Great review, GS. This one’s a MONSTER!

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  3. Stuart says
    August 9, 2010, 11:41 am

    Excellent review & the one I was waiting for. I’m really looking forward to this set. Thanks for taking us through it all.

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