Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rolling Stones 4: Out Of Our Heads

The terrific title of Out Of Our Heads appeared on an album in America ahead of the UK, which always seemed to be slow in catching up. (The cover photo was already a year old, and one of the last times Mick would allow himself to be shoved out of the spotlight.) The Stones were still relying on covers to fill up their shows, but they were also finally writing songs that would be the envy of their competitors.
Considering that this album includes both “The Last Time” and a little ditty called “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is usually enough to put it in the pantheon of masterpieces, but those who do have overlooked the filler. “I’m Alright” is a hash of “Shout” recorded live for a British EP and stuck here for no reason. “The Under Assistant West Coat Promotion Man” is an in-joke that should have stayed a B-side. Another flip, “The Spider And The Fly”, is a little better, both as a blues pastiche and a song. And “One More Try” also wouldn’t come out in the UK for another six years.
One tune much too good to stay buried is “Play With Fire”, a stripped-down performance with spooky harpsichord by Jack Nitzsche, that lay the groundwork for every chauvinistic Stones track to follow. As good as they are, “Mercy Mercy”, “Hitch Hike”, “That’s How Strong My Love Is”, “Good Times” and “Cry To Me” were all recent hits by the likes of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. It’s clear, however, that Mick’s voice was improving as he tried to emulate those soul legends.
While still a hodgepodge, Out Of Our Heads shows improvement, but since “Satisfaction” is available on about twelve other Stones compilations, it’s not as essential as it once was. (To confuse the CD buyer even further, it’s available today in both its US and UK incarnations—the latter sporting the cover used later on the US-only December’s Children, bending the space-time continuum even further.)

The Rolling Stones Out Of Our Heads (1965)—

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