TIME TRULY DOES NOT WAIT
Christopher Gazzo | 04/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following the trippy decadence of "Goat's Head Soup" the Stones tried to come up with new material that had that classic Rolling Stones sound for 1974's "It's Only Rock and Roll." Although an uneven attempt, IORR is still a far cry from a bad album. In fact, most of it is as good as what any other rock band was releasing in 1974. Sensing that perhaps "Goat's Head" was a tad too murky and 'drugged out' to penetrate, the Stones kick off the album with 3 songs that were of upbeat tempo so as to rekindle the fire that was mostly absent from the year before. Let us not forget that this was the time when artists kept up a frantic pace of writing, recording, touring and releasing an album of all new material just about every year and if you take into account that "Exile" was a double album, this is the 5th record of new material from the Stones in 4 years. Today, it takes bands over a decade to accomplish that. In retrospect it's not hard to see that the Stones may have been a little run down by the mid seventies.
"If You Can't Rock Me" is a great opener, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" is a good cover of the temptations song (not as good as "Imagination" 4 years later), and the title track is a Stones classic. Some of the problems that began rearing their ugly heads on "Goat's Head" are present on here as well..and that's the fact that the songs are quite excellent, but sound like songs the Stones have already done better somewhere else. The record as a whole has a sound of the Stones trying to sound like the Stones.
The next song, "Till the Next Goodbye" is a slow acoustic ballad reminiscent of "Wild Horses" without any of the magic that made that track so good. In fact, I happen to prefer the B side to the single version of IORR titled "Through the Lonely Nights" over this song. After that we are treated with the achingly beautiful "Time Waits for No One", the Stones' best attempt at a reggae song in "Luxury" and a good Chuck Berry styled rocker in "Dance Little Sister".
"If You Really Want to be My Friend" continues in the vein of the soul ballads that were present on "Exile" ("Shine a Light", "Let it Loose") but never reaches the climax that those songs had and "Short and Curlies", as the title suggests, is a complete throwaway. The record does conclude on a strong note with "Fingerprint File" which is a funky wah wahed masterpiece played by Richards. It really closes out the record on a strong note.
This would be the swan song for Mick Taylor and a classic period in the Stones' history would come to a close. In many ways the Stones have become victims of their own success in that everything they release is compared to something from their classic period of 1968-1972 and that's just not reasonable. No one can run a marathon forever. Time waits for no one. "IORR" like it's predecessor "Goat's Head Soup" have been unfairly criticized for this reason. As they are, taken individually, they are GREAT rock and roll albums but they lack that extra something that makes a record classic. Somehow we've been trained to believe that, with the Stones at least, if it's not a classic it's not worth the time and nothing could be further from the truth. If you're a fan of their sound there is always something worth hearing on all of their records.
And "It's Only Rock and Roll" IS worth hearing if you're willing to forget the comparisons and just LISTEN to it based on it's own merit.
Good Rolling Stones' CD
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 09/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the better Stones' albums after there long winning streak, culminating with "Exile on Main Street" and "Sticky Fingers." The Stones, then, included Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Lots of their friends joined in this work, too, including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Blue Magic, and the 6th Stone, Ian Stewart (among others).
The first three songs are all wonderfully played and sung. The CD starts off with a hidden gem, "If You Can't Rock Me." This is followed by a nice cover version of the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Then, the eponymous "It's Only Rock n' Roll." One interesting sidebar: I just saw from the notes included with the CD that the inspiration for that song was none other than Ronnie Woods, later to play lead guitar with the Stones after Taylor's departure.
There are really no duds on this CD. Other songs that I had forgotten over the years sound pretty good to me! "Till the Next Goodbye," "Time Waits for No One," "Luxury," "Dance Little Sister," and "If You Really Want to Be My Friend." The raucous and rude "Short and Curlies." The final cut is a raggedy and provocative tune, "Fingerprint File."
Anyhow, listening to the whole work again after a long hiatus suggests to me that this was an awfully good work, better than I had remembered. So, for Rolling Stones' fans, a good addition to their catalog.