Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cool, Calm, Collected...The Rolling Stones Between The Buttons & Show # 326

In 1967, The Rolling Stones released their fifth full length studio album Between The Buttons. In 1966, albums were being released such as Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Revolver by The Beatles and Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan all highly influential records, but also records that expanded and challenged the boundaries of Rock music. While the Stones released Aftermath the year before, Between the Buttons has often been over looked not only given the variety of high quality albums being released at the time, but also in comparison to many great albums that The Rolling Stones have in their catalogue. The album has been said to have been an album where the band began to experiment with elements Psychedelic music. The band would further their psychedelic experimentation on their album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album featured songs that differed from the Garage Rock and Blues based ethics that the band had been known for. The songs were catchy, but they still had a unique grittiness that the Stones have been associated with.

The only single released from the album was "Let's Spend the Night Together" backed with "Ruby Tuesday”. On the UK edition of Between the Buttons, those two songs did not appear. The album would reach #3 on the UK album charts despite its differentiation from the bands previous albums. The US version of the album would feature "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" cutting the tracks for "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home".  Those two songs would later appear on a compilation album Flowers. It should also be noted that in the US "Ruby Tuesday" reached number one on the singles charts, while the album Between the Button went to # 2 on the top album charts. The album was produced by Andrew Long Oldham and was recorded in two parts. The first recordings began in 1966 in Los Angeles and later that same year in London, England. Oldham's influence is prevalent on this album more than any of the bands previous albums, it would also be The Rolling Stones last album with him, they would have a falling out after this album. He employs a Phil Spector layered production style on certain tracks such as "Yesterday's Papers", "My Obsession", and "Complicated".

The first track on the album is "Yesterday's Papers". The song was written by Mick Jagger himself (usually he wrote the majority of Rolling Stones songs with his writing partner and Stones guitarist Keith Richards). The song is aimed at a sour relationship that Mick Jagger had at the time with Chrissie Shrimpton. Brian Jones plays a variety of exotic musical instruments on this song (and on the album for that matter). He played the Harpsichord and Marimba, Keith Richards supplies the distorted guitar. From the very beginning the song is different and it is obvious that the Stones were expanding their song writing abilities within the realm of Psychedelic Rock music. "My Obsession" is a rumbling track. Featuring heavy bass and guitar distortion along with a steady hard hitting drum pattern from Charlie Watts, this song is an interesting feature on the album. With its start and stop rhythm and rapid piano parts it's an example of a great track found on Between the Buttons. Another interesting track found on the album is "Connection". With heavy piano, stabbing Chuck Berry influenced guitar parts it is sung by both Richards and Jagger, but primarily Keith Richards sings this one. Keith himself has said that this is one of his favourite obscure Rolling Stones songs. Lyrically the song deals with the long hours spent waiting at airports and the pressures that the band were going through at the time. Both Richards and Jones were arrested on drug charges prior to the song being recorded, the song is also a popular live track.

"She Smiled Sweetly" is one of the slower songs found on Between the Buttons. Taking on a Bob Dylan inflection, It features heavy plodding bass and prominent Organ, it was also featured in the movie The Royal Tennanbaums in 2001. "Cool, Calm, Collected" is definitely a song with Psychedelic connotations, it has honky tonk styled piano, and Kazoo. It is also undeniably catchy. Other interesting tracks include the Raucous "All Sold Out", the electric Bo Diddley Rhythm of "Please Go Home", and the strange and seemingly Music Hall influenced "Something Happened To Me Yesterday", which lyrically addresses taking Psychedelic drugs. Overall, Between the Buttons fits its title. The band was in a creative, innovative period in their career, they were writing in between their earlier Garage R&B sound mixing it with Psychedelics. Following this album the band went full out Psychedelic on Their Satanic Majesties Request, thus ending their Psychedelic period. Between the Buttons itself is a great look into a small period of time in the Rolling Stones career that is often overlooked.

The Play List:

1. The Black Angels - Telephone
2. Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Go Away
3. The Mods - Wasting My Time
4. The Worst - I Don't Want You
5. The Chessmen - Time Machine
6. Huevos Rancheros - Raunchy
7. The Bayonets - Stuck In This Rut
8. The Corn Dogs - You Tell Me
9. The Modernettes - Celebrity Crack Up
10. Amber Squad - Tell You A Lie
11. Armed Forces - Pop Star
12. Lightning Raiders - Psychedelic Music
13. The Valves - Ain't No Surf in Portobello
14. Joe Strummer - Ambush At Mystery Rock
15. The Black Lips - Can't Bring Me Down
16. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Baby And Me (Fast Version)
17. Johnny West - Wine In A Water Glass
18. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mystery Girl
19. The Rolling Stones - Please Go Home
20. The Rolling Stones - She Smiled Sweetly
21. The Rebel Set - Poison Arrow
22. The Dirtbombs - Sherlock Holmes
23. White Stripes - I Can't Wait
24. Bob Dylan - Isis

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 16th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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