No Jewel Case?!
P. B. Reynolds | North Carolina | 03/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well guys, I guess it's my fault for not reading these reviews first. You see, I didn't even know that a Collector's Set of Forty Licks was availible until last night, when I was comparing the regular jewel-cased set with this box set. I thought to myself "For five dollars more, I can get this Collector's Set, and it's probably worth it." It was DEFINITELY worth it for the music, but I was very dismayed to learn that this box doesn't include a jewel case to house these discs. Now what do I do if I want to travel with them? I can't carry a huge cardboard box to Myrtle Beach with me! Oh well, live and learn. I'm STILL glad I got this set, and I'll probably buy the jewel cased edition as well so that I can have my Stones and pass them too! Figuratively speaking, of course."
***1/2. Great music. Mostly, anyway. But a so-so compilation
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 12/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is no denying the quality of this material...unless you're a devout Stones hater, in which case you probably aren't a prospective buyer anyway.
The Stones recorded four new songs to be included on "Licks", which they needn't have done since none of them are particularly memorable, but I suppose they (or their record company) wanted to lure as many people as possible into buying this set.
And there is an awful lot of tremendous, gritty rock n' roll on this 150-minute collection, from the Stones' early 60s R&B to their raunchy 70s singles and latter-day arena rock.
Disc one is mostly devoted to the 60s (well, 64 to 70 or something like that), and it includes almost every one of the Rolling Stones' best-known songs from that period. "Honky Tonk Women" is here, one of my favorites, "Satisfaction", of course, "Paint It Black", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", and the driving "Not Fade Away" set to the Bo Diddley beat.
And disc two is, well, the rest. "Start Me Up", "Brown Sugar", "Angie", "You Got Me Rocking"...the works. Well, almost. Where the hell is "Waiting On A Friend" and "Dead Flowers"?
But I'm still not completely in love with "Forty Licks".
It's hard to really put a finger on it, but I think the song selection is part of the problem. The period from 1970-1990 is only represented by about a dozen songs, and that's just wrong! The mediocre new songs disturb the flow of disc two, and the song sequencing on disc one is not very good either. A few minor songs have been included, and some better ones have not, and together that makes the Stones seem less great than they actually are.
If someone was to ask me which should be their first Stones purchase, I wouldn't advise them to buy "Licks", I don't think. It's good, and most of the music is great, but it could have been presented better. And it has been, actually, on the excellent compilations "Hot Rocks" (which covers 1964-1971) and "Jump Back: Best Of The Rolling Stones 1971-1993".
Those two together provide the very best overview of the Stones' career currently available, even without the tracks from the two fine latter-day albums "Voodoo Lounge" and "Bridges To Babylon".
Or pick up a couple of their live albums, some of those would make a great introduction as well. But don't rush out and buy "Forty Licks" because of the four new songs."