The Rolling Stones

For too long, the Rolling Stones’ 1960s catalogue has languished on shoddily transferred analog-source CDs. For too long, while almost every other British band from that period has had its work meticulously reproduced digitally, beginning with the Beatles and continuing today down through such barely known groups as, say, The Smoke, the Stones’ old material has remained confined to murky, muted, over-priced, cheaply shrouded discs that consumers have been practically blackmailed into purchasing rather than remain Stoneless. No more.

Finally, Allen Klein and his ABKCO bunch have seen fit to remaster the entire Decca and London Records catalogue of Rolling Stones albums on the most sophisticated equipment. And the results are pretty darned impressive. Finally, we get a truly stereo version of “Satisfaction,” rather than that horrible “electronically re-processed” crap London Records once pushed on an unsuspecting public. From the Stones’ first album to Between the Buttons (many of these available in both their U.K. and U.S. versions, the latter generally superior, frankly), on through Let It Bleed and finishing with Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (after that, London released mainly compilations of hits and studio out-takes—these also available), these discs sound bright and immediate, Charlie Watts’ drums and Bill Wyman’s bass gaining more sonic depth in the process.

I’ve purchased about eight of these re-releases, and each has been thoroughly enjoyable. The original art, liner notes and packaging of the record albums have been restored, and the CDs each feature a "second layer" in so-called "Super Audio" format for play on more technologically sophisticated systems. They’re still a bit pricey, but at least in these incarnations the CDs finally seem worth it. And it’s about time.