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November 3, 2018

Rock LP Review: The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Deluxe LP Set (Ltd. Edition)

Release Date: November 16, 2018
Label: ABKCO

The limited-edition vinyl release of The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Deluxe LP set features a gatefold jacket, 180-gram stereo vinyl, a bonus vinyl 12" "Sympathy For the Devil" single in mono (backed with an etching of the original release's "toilet" cover), and a replica of the Japanese bonus flexi disc featuring a 1968 phone interview with Mick Jagger is also included. This edition is wrapped in the "RSVP" cover art.  How is that for music fans, especially Stones enthusiast? It is quite a beautiful package to enjoy.

The thing bands like the Stones and Zeppelin did with the blues is what made them so popular. Taking rudimentary blues songs and turning them into delicious morsels of rock, literally owning the song within their own framework and interpretation. This is something that is still going on to this day but not at that level. For the Stones, how could they possibly top the apex of their career Their Satanic Majesties Request? I do not think it was a matter of toping the first release, it was more important for the band to come up with something different than their last release to keep it fresh. And more importantly, feature their creativity and hold on to their prospective audience. Well, they always managed to do that and Beggars Banquet was no exception. On the copy of the Japanese flexi disc Jagger responds to the question from the interviewer if the album is going sound similar to the last release. He retorts “It is different than the last album, it’s supposed to sound different.”  It is a bit difficult to make out what Jagger is saying at times because the telephone lines were not as advanced and clear as they are today. With that said, it is a nice addition to the set just the same.

Beggars Banquet was a superb album, one of the many classics the Stones would record during their career. This (for me anyway) has to be in the top five of their greatest achievements. The additional things that make this set so special will surely make all music fans appreciative. The record labels have become very innovative with the packaging of vinyl releases such as this. If there is not enough room to fill one side of vinyl, what is the option? Some cool etchings that’s what! It really is a bonus to see that kind of space utilized smartly particularly in this case where the original releases toilet cover is featured. I personally appreciate any kind of art related to the music and if it comes in one package that is just the icing on the cake.

The sound on vinyl is amazing, of course, what else would I say right? Everything sounds great on vinyl and for all those years I thought CDs were the bomb and they could never come up with a cleaner sound, wrong! We have come full circle, even with all the streaming services available and device options to listen to music, you simply cannot challenge the “complete” musical experience that vinyl can offer. This is one great example of how to celebrate an iconic album and I am sure we will see many more to come.

Stereo or Mono is always good, I do prefer stereo. Listening to “Sympathy For The Devil” in mono is different of course, but that being my favorite track, it sounded just as wonderful hearing it again after listening to the original stereo version. Having one track on an LP side harkens back to the days of 78 wax.

“Street Fighting Man” was another incredible track that stands up well today. The Stones created music that is timeless just like their UK friends The Beatles. Their music was so different that there really could not be a rivalry for the same audience. Some love the Stones and vice-a-versa and there is no argument. Myself, I love both bands and appreciate all their contributions to modern music.

“Stray Cat Blues” is a great track that gets back to their earlier blues roots but is more polished and defined then what you would hear on their first few releases. They certainly had their own sound and Jagger’s vocals were unique. The maturity of the band comes flowing through with ease on this album.

Besides having such a wonderful package to hold in your hands and spin on your turntable, you get a limited-edition release with all the trimmings. I think Beggars Banquet has stood the test of time and so will vinyl during this second resurgence. Like Yogi Berra quipped “Its déjà vu all over again.”  But isn’t it sweet to do again with all the extras? I think so.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 2, 2018

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Tracks: 
01. Sympathy For The Devil
02. No Expectations
03. Dear Doctor
04. Parachute Woman
05. Jig - Saw Puzzle
06. Street Fighting Man
07. Prodigal Son
08. Stray Cat Blues
09. Factory Girl
10. Salt of the Earth

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