First and foremost, these records sound amazing. There is an astounding clarity and presence to the music here; these are easily the best-sounding '60s remasters ever, bar none. The revelations that this improved audio provides should greatly enhance the Stones' musical reputation. Early albums like their self-titled 1964 debut and 12X5 crackle and grind with frenetic energy, providing concrete evidence that the Stones basically invented garage rock. The U.K. versions of 1965's Out of Our Heads, 1966's Aftermath, and 1967's Between the Buttons flow much better than their disjointed U.S. counterparts. Later-period classics like Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed sound leaner, more menacing and intense than you can imagine. This is a legacy worthy of every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it and then some.
That said, there are still some problems: The set claims to include both the U.S. and U.K. versions of the albums, yet the U.K. version of the debut album remains unavailable, as does its follow-up, Rolling Stones No. 2 and the U.K. versions of the compilation albums Big Hits and Through the Past Darkly. And there are no liner notes or bonus tracks. But these reservations hardly ruin the experience; anyone with even a passing interest in rock music should run, not walk, to buy these CDs.
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