(All Album Reviews by AdmKirk)
As a hardcore, long time fan of the Rolling Stones, I've bought many of their compilations over the years: Green Grass & High Tides, Through the Past Darkly, Hot Rocks, More Hot Rocks, Milestones, Made in the Shade, Rewind, The London Years, Jump Back, Forty Licks but, somehow, Rolled Gold escaped. Originally released in Britian in November 1975 as a double LP, Abkco/Decca has re-released the album and expanded it to 2 CDs or, in my case, 4 LPs. It's also available in the jakebox format (whatever that is), as a download and as a USB memory stick.
Simply put Rolled Gold + is, hands down, the best compilation of Stones material from the 1963-1971 era that's ever been assembled.
Hot Rocks and 40 Licks are fine in their own right but Hot Rocks only hits the biggest tunes of those years and leaves a number of holes. 40 Licks does the same. It's got the hits and goes through 2001 but leaves a lot of holes and is now out of print. Rolled Gold + handles the 1963-1971 years much better.
The album is sequenced in chronological order. It kicks off with the Stones' first singles, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On" and the Stones cover of The Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man"(credited as written by Paul McCartney & John Lennon, wonder what Yoko would think about the reversal in credits here?) and wraps up with "Wild Horses" from Sticky Fingers. So all of the big hits are here but you get some of the lesser known singles as well.
None of this is really surprising or should be. What sets this compilation of early Stones material apart from the others is the sonics. I have never heard any other Stones compilation of this era sound as good as Rolled Gold +. The separation of the instruments is incredible. Bill Wyman's bass pounds out of the speakers, Charlie Watt's drums have more detail than I've ever heard. Brian Jones and Keith Richards' guitars on "Carol" leap out at the listener.
I was totally unprepared for how good this record sounded. I've heard all of the songs on this album a million times and had grown used to the somewhat murky production of the early Stones period. Rolled Gold + surpasses all previous remastering efforts.
I bought this simply because it was a nice looking 4 LP set but now find myself in possession of an extremely well done compilation project.
Unfortunately, the liner notes don't say who did the remastering, but whoever did deserves a huge bonus. I don't know how much the Stones were involved with the remastering, if at all, but knowing how Jagger has his hands into all things related to the band he may have had some input as well as Richards. Whoever was used should be credited with making these tracks, particularly the ones from 1963 to 1967 come alive.
If you are interested in exploring the rich, early history of the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band then Rolled Gold + is a great place to start.