Too Late to Stop Now

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones in Mono (ABKCO)

Too Late to Stop Now

God intended man to hear early rock & roll in mono. Box sets from the Beatles and Bob Dylan prove that all of their recordings until 1968 saw far more care and attention paid to the mono mix, with stereo basically considered a gimmicky afterthought. In the Rolling Stones' case, prior to Beggars Banquet, the latter designation means the former plays in both the left and right channels, slightly unsynchronized and swimming in reverb. The result was cavernous, hollow. As David Fricke notes in expert liners, "There are no more distressing words on the front of a London-label Stones LP from the mid-Sixties than 'Stereo – Electronically re-processed.'" The restoration of the band's initial catalog, in both U.S. and UK editions where necessary, to its original glory thus proves heroic and crucial. Take your pick, 16 records or 15 CDs, ranging from the initial blues hounds' eponymous 1964 debut to their drug-addled answer to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper three years later, cult favorite Their Satanic Majesties Request. Newly commissioned mono editions of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, plus a companion collection of non-LP singles box up with a thick booklet. Trace the quintet's development from Britain's finest interpreters of American roots music to rock & roll's definitive band, incorporating English folk elements and Keith Richards' open-G riffing that most teenagers first heard in a car or on a transistor radio. Never has "19th Nervous Breakdown" sounded so focused and natural – propulsive – now sans the speed discrepancy reissues have featured since the late Eighties. In fact, everything plays punchier now: Charlie Watts' drums hit harder; Bill Wyman's bass thrums fatter; Richards' fuzz bursts on "Satisfaction," "Please Go Home," and "Citadel" now spit and curse; and Mick Jagger's petulant snarl gets all up in your mug. Definitive.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Rolling Stones
Heart-Shaped Box Sets
The Beatles / The Rolling Stones
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Deluxe Edition), Their Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Special Edition) (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 8, 2017

Rock & Roll Books
Altamont
Altamont

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 9, 2016

More Music Reviews
Saturday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Trampled by Turtles
Life Is Good on the Open Road (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 12, 2018

Texas Platters
Nakia
Blues Grifter (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Sept. 28, 2018

More by Tim Stegall
Steve Cropper Recalls Rhythm & Blues History Through Six Strings
Steve Cropper Recalls Rhythm & Blues History Through Six Strings
Chatting with the most egoless guitar hero in history

Feb. 21, 2019

Texas Platters
The Damn Times
Gotta Get There! (Record Review)

Feb. 8, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Rolling Stones

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle