By the time the Stones’ Steel Wheels rolled into town I was pretty much done with them. Honestly, in the Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles match up I always sided with the Fab Four anyway, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like Keef and the boys.
They really lost a step after Mick Taylor left in the wake of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. That may just be a timing coincidence, though. It may have been inevitable that a band as big as the Stones slid into disco weirdness by the mid-seventies and DX7 and gated snare drums by the mid-eighties. Tattoo You was pretty cool, though, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.
But what we’re looking at here is grade-A, in their Brian Jones prime, Rolling Fucking Stones. The Rolling Stones, Now! is mostly a US reprint of the Stones’ second UK album, creatively titled The Rolling Stones No. 2. This is a really cool album, capturing the band when they were still in the thrall of blues and early rock and roll:
What’s fun for record geeks about this album, though, is that there are a lot of variants. There’s a mono version and a stereo version, bright red label, dark red label, and blue label, the FFRR logo surrounded by a box and not. But the big variation is in the liner notes on the back sleeve, where among other things manager Andrew Loog Oldham wrote:
“(This is THE STONES new disc within. Cast deep in your pockets for the loot to buy this disc of groovies and fancy words. If you don’t have the bread, see that blind man knock him on the head, steal his wallet and low and behold you have the loot, if you put in the boot, good, another one sold!)”
Somebody (probably a lot of somebodies) didn’t think that this was sound advice, so on later pressings this bit of business was expurgated.
So, with all of those landmarks which one do you buy? If you can find one you want:
- Dark red label
- Boxed FFRR logo
- Uncensored liner notes
And of course condition is everything. My copy has a lot of wear on the sleeve, so it isn’t worth much — 20 bucks maybe. I own another copy with a great sleeve but a later pressing of the record, but I can’t bring myself to swap them. It would feel like cheating. Maybe if I ever sell my Rolling Stones, Now! I’ll sell them as a pair.
So what can you expect to pay? A hundred bucks isn’t out of the question for a nice copy. Happy hunting.
Categories: From the Stacks