Universal Music;Audio CD: Rs. 495

Gracing its cover is a picture of a gorilla sporting their trademark tongue and lips logo. Adding to that bizarreness is the inane title of the album — GRRR!. This record, however, is a classic example of why one shouldn’t judge a book, and in this case a music album, by its cover.

A compilation album to commemorate The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary, GRRR! features 50 tracks (48 old and two new ) on two CDs.

Off to a fun start, the first song on disc one is ‘Come On’ written and first released by Chuck Berry in 1961 with The Rolling Stones releasing their peppy version as their debut single in 1963. Picking up right where this one leaves off is ‘Not Fade Away’, which reminds you of that classic Bo Diddley beat that the Stones’ are famous for. Next comes the band’s first ever number one hit ‘It’s All Over Now’ by Bobby and Shirley Womack.

With its sexual overtones, ‘(I Can’t Get no) Satisfaction’ reminds you of Richards’ off-the-cuff three-note guitar riff proposed to be replaced by horns. ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ with the mesmerising riff played by Brian Jones during the erses, as a tribute Bo Diddley's song ‘Diddley Daddy’, the song’s powerful bass line by Bill Wyman at the end, is outstanding.

Ballads such as like ‘As Tears Go By’ still stir the soul. With its characteristic rhythm that includes the track’s signature sitar riff by Brian Jones, ‘Paint it, Black’ is bulked up with acoustic and electric guitars.

This disc would be incomplete without songs like ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ which has been covered by quite a few popular artistes, ‘Ruby Tuesday’ that sees the use of varied instruments from the recorder and the piano to the double bass contributed by Wyman and Richards, and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, their bluesy number. The second CD opens with the Jagger-Richards combination ‘Brown Sugar’ with its stupendous blues-rock riffs, dual horn/guitar instrumental sever, and groovy rock rhythms that together define the middle ages of the Stones’. The one with the classic title ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll’ makes it to this album. There’s also ‘Don’t Stop’ from their previous compilation album Forty Licks. Featuring a trademark opening riff by Keith Richards, the song speaks of a rough love affair between the singer and his beloved.

The album ends with the two new numbers ‘Doom and Gloom’ which has a crude rhythm riff, a chilly beat, and forgettable lyrics and melody and ‘One More Shot,’ which again isn’t very impressive.

One of the highlights of this album is that it dishes out an array of sounds the Stones’ have experimented and proved their mettle with over the last 50 years. While on the one hand there’s some late 60s psychedelic music, on the other, you get to listen to some country-inspired rock. And of course you cannot miss their out-and-out disco numbers.

Although the album has been somewhat chronologically arranged, it is a pity that some of their best works have not been featured on it. Also, placing the only two new songs at the end wasn’t a wise idea. That aside, GRRR! is definitely the best Stones’ compilation to date.

Keywords: Music album