Album no. 46/1001
Everybody knows The Rolling Stones – but how many people have actually listened to their first album? Probably not many. But they should!
This first record sounds like a group of rakish young men trying to channel their inner Muddy Waters and their hand at some good old fashioned rhythm and blues. While it’s definitely not their best album by any stretch, it’s an indication of just how good they were, even back in 1964.
Look at them! They’re so young!
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I already had it in my iTunes as played, so I must have heard it at least once, but I have no strong memories of it.
CL: Surprisingly no. Most of my Rolling Stones knowledge is all over the shop. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a complete album.
NK: There are a few tracks I like: ‘Carol’, ‘Mona (I Need You Baby)’ and ‘Can I Get A Witness’ jump out to start. There might not be any really amazing songs on this album, but it’s pretty consistent. There’s already a strong sound going on, even if it’s mostly R&B covers.
CL: The beginning of ‘Mona (I Need You Baby)’ sounds like an early inspiration for The Smith’s ‘How Soon Is Now, which is fun. It’s my favourite I think, very closely followed by ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ and ‘I’m A King Bee’. Or really, ‘I’m a king bae’. Mick Jagger: inventor of bae back in 1965 by accident.
NK: I never made the Smiths connection! It reminded me more of a slowed down version of the stones’ ‘Not Fade Away’, but I definitely caught ‘How Soon Is Now’ once you’d pointed it out.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: Maybe if you want some proof that if you get good enough at something you can really get going? A lot of songs here are not very different from some of the Stones’ biggest hits, but they’re not quite there yet. ‘I’m a King Bee’ bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘Midnight Rambler’, but it isn’t quite as polished or confident. Quite a few of the songs are like that, pretty much straight blues numbers that the band would keep doing for their whole career, just not quite executed to the standards they would hit later.
CL: I get what you mean BUT I’m totally digging that! I love the lo-fi, ramshackle vibes and that raw sound – they’re clearly still not great, but they’re giving it a red hot go. This sounds to me like a great soundtrack for driving.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: It’s the first Stones album, which is kind of significant considering how big they went on to be. Also the first Jagger/Richards song (‘Tell Me’) is on their very first album, which took Lennon and McCartney a couple more albums.
CL: It’s definitely moving towards the typical rock and roll sound we know and love. And it’s finally bringing some of that attitude into the music. Mick Jagger’s ultimo primo rock star vibes aren’t quite there yet, but this is certainly filled with way more swagger than The Beatles. It’s pretty risque.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Probably not, there are so many stones albums that are better than this. It’s fun to hear them starting out, but they haven’t really hit their straps at this point.
CL: Really?! Get out of town! I really enjoyed listening to this – there were some great tracks. I’ll definitely chuck it on again.