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More Hot Rocks (Big Hits And Fazed Cookies)
The Rolling Stones

London 626/7
Released: December 1972
Chart Peak: #9
Weeks Charted: 29
Certified Gold: 1/17/73

Brian JonesMore Hot Rocks is an exploitation reissue par excellence. The record sleeves feature out-takes from the Between the Buttons photo session, the notes are more of Andrew Oldham's Clockwork Orange icing, and all the "Big Hits" have all been heard before. The "Fazed Cookies" are more interesting. There are eight cuts never before released in the US, plus the seldom-heard "We Love You" and "Child of the Moon." All of the tunes included were cut before Brian Jones left the group and this world.

Jones was the unpredictable factor in the Stones equation, seeming to be everywhere at once. On these sides he played harp, acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimer, mellotron and whatever else was needed. His function within the band was a broad and comprehensive one, and he used all his instruments to create ringing harmonics around the tighter-in, rhythmicaly-oriented drive of the other players.

The Rolling Stones - More Hot Rocks Big Hits And Fazed Cookies
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Jones seems to have been almost excessively concerned with bringing out harmonics to give his playing a full, ringing quality. His guitar on "The Last Time" is a good example; it fulfills the function of both rhythm guitar (chugging) and subliminal keyboard (filling). Similarly, his harmonica on "Money" is a reedy, diffuse sound that seems to haunt the spaces between the others' notes; it doesn't once step out for a personal blues statement the way Little Walter or Sonny Boy Williamson would have.

But unfortunately, Brian Jones blew it. His replacement, who came from a second generation of English rock and who arrived during the heyday of the rock/blues/virtuoso soloist, has taken the music in another direction. Keith Richard may well be the best rock lead player alive, but he is a band lead. Neither Richard nor Jones were soloists, and the beauty of the old Stones was that neither of them had to be.

Of the eight previously unreleased tracks, six are covers from the very beginning of the Stones' career. "Money" is cresting and distorted. Jagger strains and mumbles and the band track is blurred by an inordinate amount of echo. "Fortune Teller" is the Naomi Neville composition originally recorded by the Showmen on Minit, and later by the Stones on Got Live if You Want It. Jagger's vocal is much less self-assured on this earlier studio version but the band is solid and tough. "Poison Ivy" is laughable. Jagger sings so nasally that when he stretches out the word "around" he sounds like an amplified jew's harp. A scratchy percussion device adds to the carnival bumps-and-grinds ambience. The two Chuck Berry covers are much better. "Come On," the boys' first single, has a loping beat that curiously prefigures reggae. Jagger sounds timid in the studio and the key-change bridge is as corny as they come, but the tune moves along. "Bye Bye Johnny" is terrific. Richard and Jones mesh magnificently and the rhythm section unleashes its full force for the first time. Jagger was already a master of the Berry-inspired vocal idiom; his vocal caps a perfect performance that stands as a definition-in-action of rock & roll.

Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied" is the funkiest blues in the Stones discography. Jones was playing excellent bottleneck guitar as far back as 1964, and his use of the slide's harmonic potentials behind Jagger's unusually authoritative vocal is worth hearing again and again. He underlines the words with whooping washes of metallic sound while Richard plays a characteristically lean backup figure. "Long Long While" is an early Jagger-Richard soul ballad. It is uncharacteristically maudlin: "I was wrong girl and you were right." Here organ and piano fill out the track and Richard's punctuations recall his probing treble-string work on "Time Is on My Side." "What To Do" is from the English version of Aftermath. It's an excellent, well-paced performance, and probably the prototype of all the bored touring songs that have been inundating us lately. The extended tag gives Jagger a chance to rave at some length, and he makes the most of it.

"Child of the Moon" was the "Jumpin' Jack Flash" B side. It's one of the Stones' prettiest straight-ahead love songs. The blend of soaring guitars is as bracing as the words are lyrical. "We Love You" is a flower power curiosity that holds up remarkably well. It begins with a warden's footsteps and the clanking of a cell door. The voices are Lennonesque but the track is exciting and unusual. There's a taste of the backward-sounding guitar whines the Beatles were using then, but the barrelhouse piano and especially Jones' winding mellotron riff give the music an involving edge. The tag is particularly energetic: Watts thrashing at his cymbals, guitars and bass punching along while the mellotron describes endless arabesques. Better ten minutes of this sort of thing than the kind of grafted-on extension that sunk "Can't You Hear Me Knockin."

For the record, the rest of the tunes are "Tell Me," "Not Fade Away," "The Last Time," "It's All Over Now" (Richard's best-ever guitar break for my money), "Good Times Bad Times," "I'm Free," "Out of Time," "Lady Jane," "Sittin' on a Fence," "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby," "Dandelion," "She's a Rainbow," "2000 Light Years from Home," "No Expectations," and "Let It Bleed." And where are "I Want To Be Your Man" and "Who's Driving Your Plane"? They must be saving those for Still More Hot Rocks. I wonder who's sitting on the unreleased blues sides they cut in Chicago...

- Bob Palmer, Rolling Stone, 2-1-73.

Bonus Reviews!

More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) could have been nothing more than London Records' inevitable Christmas present to its sales department: let's face it, the Rolling Stones are indisputably the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world, and the average Rolling Stones fan would probably buy four sides of Bill Wyman playing "Lady of Spain" if they came with some pictures. So would I, for that matter. But, fortunately, this time London, or more likely Allen Klein, has done it up right, and More Hot Rocks is consequently not just their umpteenth convenient historical overview cum party album, but is instead a long-overdue, (reasonably) intelligently programmed assemblage of the more esoteric Stones tracks we've all been clamoring for since the day some nameless teenager first discovered that the British releases had fourteen cuts and their American counterparts only had twelve.

Thus "We Love You," for example (available in the US previously only as the B-side of a single), segues out of "Dandelion" as it was originally intended to, unmistakable evidence that somebody actually gave some thought to putting this package together. And, praise be, they've even included "Child of the Moon" in stereo. Little touches like this just make my day -- and I'm not about to complain about the inclusion of such other major mind-bogglers as "It's All Over Now," or authentic rock-and-roll cataclysms like "The Last Time." But the real goodies are saved for side four. With the exception of "Fortune Teller," none of these songs have ever been released in America, and I think that at this point some brief comment on the individual tracks would be apropos. Running them down in order, here's what we get: "What to Do" (from the British version of Aftermath, one of the prettiest songs from that prettiest of albums); "Money" (from the Stones' first EP, which also featured "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Poison Ivy"); "Come On" (their first single, and probably the most blatantly commercial thing they ever did); "Fortune Teller" (yes, kids, this is the same track that was released in the US as part of Got Live If You Want It, but this time they've dispensed with the spurious crowd noises Oldham dubbed on to simulate a concert performance); "Poison Ivy" (the real find of the set, an alternate try from the previously mentioned EP); "Bye Bye Johnny" (they're still doing it in person, but if the last tour is any indication, nowhere near as well); "I Can't Be Satisfied" (from the British Rolling Stones 2 which later became Rolling Stones Now in America; and, finally, "Long Long While" (the flip side of "Paint It Black" in England, and one of their most intense soul epics).

For all this let me not appear ungrateful. But I must, in good conscience, register a few complaints at this juncture. For one thing, since the first three sides are arranged chronologically, from "Tell Me" to "Let It Bleed," why did London see fit to lump the unfamiliar stuff arbitrarily on one side? Wouldn't it have made more sense to arrange the album as a document of the Stones' musical development? For another, where, pray tell, are those cuts that are still unreleased? Where is "I Want to Be Loved"? Where is "I Wanna Be Your Man" or "Stoned"? Where's "Who's Driving My Plane"? or (gasp!) the Italian versions of "As Tears Go By" and "Heart of Stone"? And where, for that matter, is the live "Let It Rock" from their last English tour?

Well, I'll tell you where: reposing in London's vaults until next Christmas and the release of Hot Rocks Goes Hawaiian. In the meantime, we'll just have to make do with More Hot Rocks, which won't be so difficult considering that it's chock full of incredible music, comes decorated with alternate takes of the Between the Buttons cover photo, and even features Andrew Oldham's first liner notes since 1966. Only a complete philistine (or a Rolling Stones fan, which may be the same thing) could ask for more. I've already worn out my copy.

- Steve Simels, Stereo Review, 3/73.

Without a doubt the Stones are the definitive rock 'n' roll band. The years cannot fade, nor time alter the incredible impact that they have had (and will have) on many lives. Every cut on this two-record set is, of course, a gem containing that magic elixer that spells immortality. Flex your muscles to "Tell Me," "Out of Time," "No Expectations" and "Come On" (their first ever single) plus 21 more.

- Billboard, 1972.

There are a whole lot more fazed cookies than big hits in the latest Stones grab bag from the folks at London. But if this is a less spectacular assortment than its Hot Rocks predecessor, it is nonetheless of considerably more interest to the dedicated follower. There's a lot of vintage material here -- some of it from as far back as the early sixties -- and it holds up remarkably well... in addition, of course, to serving as a reminder of just where Jagger and Co. have come from.

Like most British rock groups of that period, the Stones were unabashedly enamored of American rhythm and blues sounds. But unlike most of their countrymen, they rarely let their reverence get in the way of their performance. Which brings us to side four of More Hot Rocks. Make no mistake: that is where the excitement lies. The old Motor Town stomper "Money," Chuck Berry's fine "Come On," the great Muddy Waters favorite "I Can't Be Satisfied," the Lieber-Stoller classic "Poison Ivy" -- these are just four of the outstanding items. Both vocally and instrumentally, the group exhibits an understanding of the humor as well as the urgency inherent in sogs of this genre. Jagger, in particular, emerges less as an imitator than as a full-fledged creative energizer.

More familiar fare includes "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?" (Remember the cover? It predated Bowie by a good five years); "Child Of The Moon" (the flip of "Jumping Jack Flash," it was described by one critic as "the Stones doing the Byrds" -- well, all right!); the lilting and lyrical (and sometimes thundering) "She's A Rainbow," still a beauty; and "We Love You" (laugh again as the heavy prison doors swing shut at the beginning). All in all, there are twenty-five tunes on the album, and close to half of them have been generally unavailable in the States. So lie back and enjoy it. Especially those cookies.

- Ed Kelleher, Circus, 3-73.

Before they assumed their current roles as kings of fop rock, the Rolling Stones were the greatest bunch of punk rockers ever to assault either side of the Atlantic. They were young, brazen, and only average musicians... but they attacked everything they attempted with a kind of blind ferocity that forced you to admire their style. More Hot Rocks captures the zest of the early Stones and the subtle changes they went through while moving towards their present status. The early Stones are ably represented by "Tell Me," "Not Fade Away" and the semi-grotesque "I'm Free." The LP then catches the group moving upward from punky rhythms to melodic tunes like "Lady Jane" and "Dandelion" before entering their Sgt. Pepper-influenced days ("She's A Rainbow") and finally their bloozy era ("No Expectations"). More Hot Rocks also presents some fazed cookies not normally found Stateside, like "Poison Ivy," "Fortune Teller" and "Money." A double LP set that will please just about everyone, even non-Stones boosters, More Hot Rocks is a fitting testimonial to the gutsy group that was known as the Rolling Stones.

- Ed Naha, Circus, 3-73.

Highlighted by a unique stereo edition of "It's All Over Now." Often thought of as secondary, this anthology is really a lot more interesting than Hot Rocks. * * * *

- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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