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Reviews: Rolling Stones: It's Only Rock 'n Roll

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Reviews: 4
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Review by michi September 18, 2011 (3 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
You know maybe I don't get it - and I usually am pretty open to finding the qualities of recordings... But, looking at this album's contemporaries, like Dark Side of the Moon, I see absolutely no reason why it sounds so horrible. Now it's probably the original recording and not the SACDs fault.. But come on... I was hoping for more, and that past versions of this album I had were a fluke - but I'm guessing the masters are beyond redemption. I was hoping for more of an actual remaster. This ain't it.

Succintly: it sounds like it was recorded on an Electret mic hooked up to a Dictaphone recording onto a drug store low end Memorex cassette, and then left on the dashboard in a Honda CVCC parked in front of a Stuckeys for 8 hours. Every vocal and drum hit is overdriven, and the high end rolloff makes it sound like it was recorded via a bootleg done by sneaking a Radio Shack 8-track recorder into Mick Jagger's pants during the session.

Tracks 5 and 6 (Time Waits for No One / Luxury) are kind of tolerable. Track 8 (If You Really Want To Be My Friend) at least isn't offensive, and doesn't push it into the red -too- much. But Mick still sounds like he's singing under a towel. On Track 9, the vocals just seem very recessed and thin, which I suppose is OK for a song about genitals. Track 10 almost gets it right. But by then the album's almost done and it's too late.

I understand that this album was a new experience for the Stones in recording, with the first half being live, and those that were studio recorded, this was the Stones' first try at recording and producing their own, with a lot of transitional stuff and Mick's vocals being recorded separately. And you'd think that the B side would maybe be a bit redeeming but no. Note I'm not talking about the songs or the performance. The Stones is The Stones.

If you're a Stones completionist on SACD, definitely do get it, of course. It's probably the best polishing of a turd you can get, recording-wise, but, if you're hoping for redemption of this album on SHM-SACD... just stick with your pink 8-track. The SACD is not really a 'remastering' as much as it's just a DSD transfer.

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Review by Sergey November 21, 2011 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The album is recorded in this version is very gently and neatly. It is present heat and light inherent in analog recordings. I'd like to say michi he first put in order your playback system, and then wrote about the film as a record. In fact, the quality of writing is not Dire Straits 78 that will sound good on any equipment. This album should still be attractive to make at home. But if we compare with existing records before we can say only thanks Universal! In a well-configured system sounds great, I recommend wholeheartedly!

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Review by vonwegen December 31, 2011 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the first album the Stones did without ace producer Jimmy Miller, and it shows. A boxy, close-mic'ed drum sound made worse with Ray Cooper's percussion cluttering things up, strange vocal EQ choices, Mick Taylor's lead guitar mixed too low on some songs -- these are some of the things that make this album such a mixed blessing.

But what you do get on this SHM-SACD is the best hi-rez transfer possible -- and a few bonuses: "Time waits For No One" is restored to its full length (ending with Charlie Watts' softly thumping kick drum and stick click) -- and most importantly, "Fingerprint File" is at the original pitch and tempo, not speeded-up like it is for every other released version (presumably to make the album short enough to master loud to vinyl)... in other words, this SACD has something no other version of this album does.

Speaking of loud, it's likely this album was mixed at high volume -- how else to explain the often wonky mixes? That said, this is probably the best IORR will sound, barring any hi-rez surround remixes and some serious sonic doctoring.

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Review by analogue May 23, 2014 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
What a great band and what a great run of excellent albums. This one from 1974. 10 tracks and 49 minutes of music. I happen to like the entire album and consider it one of their strongest efforts of their 70's period.

My favorite shm sacd of the stones discography would be Sticky Fingers. Then it would be followed by this disc. I was actually surprised that this sacd sounded much better than I would have expected. This might have to do with Andy Johns being in the recording booth.

Lets face it......with the Stones we usually get mud and murkiness. Especially from this time frame. They were not a polished band and any attempt to do so would have resulted in a loss of energy. They are raw and unbridled.

Sticky Fingers is the sacd that all other discs should be judged by with regards to ascertaining sound quality judgment.. Some of the positive characteristics of that recording are present on this shm sacd. For starters there is little in the way of intense murkiness or mud. Vocals and Richards lead riffs are actually separate from the music and seem to float above the speakers. There is actually some instrumental separation in the mix which surprised me. Some tracks can sound a tad flat while others are very rounded and clear. Bass and drums...at times are also captured very nicely. All told this sacd has good sound quality track after track......with some outstanding surprises to be had.

The final track is almost an audiophile recording which startled and impressed me to no ends. Jaggers voice is so closely recorded he is almost standing next to you. The energy, soundstage and low end....the total realism is shocking to say the least. That this is a Stones song is all the more impressive.

If you are a fan of the Stones and of this album I wouldn't want you to pass it up. Its getting very hard to find this particular shm sacd so be forewarned.

Highly recommended and a good mastering job on this shm sacd. My actual score is 4 and a quarter stars for sound quality.

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