Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Rolling Stones - Could You Walk On The Water?




The Rolling Stones – Could You Walk On The Water?
(soniclovenoize reconstruction)

Side A:
1.  19th Nervous Breakdown
2.  Sad Day
3.  Take It Or Leave It
4.  Think
5.  Mother’s Little Helper

Side B:
6.  Goin’ Home
7.  Sittin’ On A Fence
8.  Doncha Bother me
9.  Ride On, Baby
10.  Looking Tired


Happy Easter!  In honor of this bunny-hopping holiday, I give you a reconstruction I’ve actually been sitting on for nearly three years now.  This is a reconstruction of the unreleased 1966 Rolling Stones album Could You Walk On The Water.  After Decca Records refused to release such a blasphemous album title, the band restructured the album into their seminal Aftermath album.  This reconstruction gathers all of the best sounding masters of the source material and is presented all in mono, as it was meant to be heard. 

By 1965, The Rolling Stones had become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, proving their value with innovative British interpretations of American R&B music.  In an attempt to keep up with their contemporaries—self-contained bands that wrote their own songs—manager Andrew Loog Oldham pushed the band to compose their own material.  Specifically focusing on creating a song partnership between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the tactic proved successful as Jagger/Richards-penned singles “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “As Tears Go By” were all major hits.  But what of their albums?  Up until then, the Rolling Stones’ albums had been a mixed bag of rock and blues standards with only a sprinkling of their own material.  Possibly taking a cue from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones set out to record an album by the end of the year consisting of all original material. 

While on their fall North American tour in 1965, the band filed into Hollywood’s RCA Studios in December to record the new material they had been composing.  At least nine songs were finished during these fruitful sessions, including: “Doncha Bother Me”, “Goin’ Home”, “Mother’s Little Helper”, “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Ride On Baby”, “Sad Day”, “Sittin’ On A Fence”, “Take It Or Leave It” and “Think”.  Not only was the band impressed they were able to record nearly a full album of solid, original compositions in a week, but the songs themselves featured impressive exotic adornments by guitarist Brian Jones.  Growing bored of simply playing guitar, Jones literally picked up a number of unusual instruments to contribute, such as an autoharp, harpsichord and koto, giving the songs a colorful, proto-psychedelic flavor.  Finally "Goin Home" was noteworthy as one of the longest continuous performances in recorded rock music thus far, spanning over 11 minutes!  Two tracks from the sessions were selected as a single to be released in February, “19th Nervous Breakdown” b/w “Sad Day”.

Marveling at the results of the RCA sessions, Oldham and the band vied to rush-release all nine finished songs plus a tenth track (the quaint Out Of Our Heads outtake “Looking Tired”, recorded three months prior) in March as Could You Walk On The Water.  Featuring entirely original compositions—as well as the current hit “19th Nervous Breakdown”—the album was supposed to feature cover art from a California reservoir photo shoot and a deluxe gatefold with pictures taken from their recent American tour.  Unfortunately, Decca Records balked at the title, afraid that the name of this decidingly American album would offend the American religious, allegedly stating, “We would not issue it with that title at any price!”  As Oldham negotiated the release of the album, The Rolling Stones continued to tour relentlessly while continuing to compose new material.  As the proposed album release date of March 10th began to close in, it was obvious Could You Walk On The Water would not rise above its own title; with Oldham finally giving in to Decca, it was decided the compilation Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) would be released in its place in the United States and The Stones reevaluated the shelved album. 

Fortunately, there was a silver lining in the failure of Could You Walk On The Water to launch, as the day before its scheduled release date the band returned to RCA Studios to cut another batch of original material.  This second set was more impressive than the first, which included: “Flight 505”, “High and Dry”, “I Am Waiting”, “If You Let Me”, “It’s Not Easy”, “Lady Jane”, “Long Long While”, “Out Of Time”, “Paint It Black”, “Stupid Girl”, “Under My Thumb” and  “What To Do”.  Brian Jones again adorned The Stones' brand of rock with such exotic instruments as a dulcimer, marimba and a sitar.  Now with 21 new songs in total, The Stones combined the best of the December 1965 and March 1966 sessions into one 14-track album.  With “Paint It Black” the lead single in the US market and “Mother’s Little Helper” the lead single in the UK market (both backed with “Lady Jane”), the album—now titled Aftermath—was released in April to critical and commercial acclaim, marking The Rolling Stones’ first masterpiece.  Aftermath not only became one of the greatest albums from the British Invasion era, but stood head-to-head against other legendary rock albums of the time, including Highway 61 Revisited, Rubber Soul and Pet Sounds.  But is it possible to resurrect Could You Walk On The Water, the album that was 'passover' by both Decca and ultimately The Stones themselves?

Luckily the tracklist of Could You Walk On The Water has been published and nearly all of the tracks have been released, allowing many listeners to reconstruct the album.  The difference here is that we will exclusively be using the original mono masters for all songs, as the stereo mixes of the material leave much to be desired, featuring an antiquated soundstage.  Side A opens with “19th Nervous Breakdown” taken from Singles 1965-1967, since The Rolling Stones in Mono boxset used an inferior master with excessive noise floor in-between vocal lines.  Following is “Sad Day”, taken from the Stray Cats discs of the In Mono box set.  “Take It Or Leave It”, “Think” and “Mother’s Little Helper” close out Side A, all taken from the Aftermath disc of In Mono. 

Side B opens with the full-length mix of “Goin Home” from Aftermath.  Although some sources claim there would have been an edited version of the track on the actual Could You Walk On The Water album, I chose to include the full 11-minute version, making Side B about 6 minutes longer than Side A.  While that may seem in err, remember that Side B of the US version of Aftermath was also 6 minutes longer than its side A!  Next is “Sittin’ On a Fence” taken from the Flowers disc of the In Mono box, followed by “Doncha Bother Me” from Aftermath.  “Ride On, Baby” again from Flowers follows, with the album concluding with the as-yet-unreleased “Looking Tired” taken from the bootleg More Stoned Than You’ll Ever Be but collapsed to mono and EQd to match the rest of the album. 




Sources used:
More Stoned Than You'll Ever Be (bootleg CD, Scorpio Records)
The Rolling Stones in Mono (CD boxset, 2016 ABKO Records)
Singles 1965-1967 (CD 2004 ABKO Records)


 flac --> wav --> editing in Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included

79 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. Always loved the Stones stuff from around the time of "Out Of Our Heads"/"Aftermath"/"Between The Buttons". Fascinating detail of how all those songs came to be.

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  2. Great work as always, just to split hairs a little re the stones singles in the US/UK it was `Paint It Black` b/w `Stupid Girl` in the US followed by `Mothers Little Helper` b/w `Lady Jane`. In the Uk it was `Paint It Black` b/w `Long Long While` followed by `Have You Seen Your Mother` b/w `Who`s Driving Your Plane`.
    ;-)

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  3. Thanks. So I assume the second set of RCA sessions would have been the follow up?

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    1. I think in reality, by the time the second RCA Session happened, they knew CYWOTW wasn't going to happen. So the session was always meant to enhance what they already have.

      But with that said, yeah, you can keep CYWOTW as an album and make the 12 songs from the March 1966 session it's own album.

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  4. Very nice indeed. Thanks for taking the time.

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  5. Great work as always, thank you for another what if!

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  6. At the time, yes, Mick and Keith probably could,

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  7. Thanks soniclovenoize, I always enjoy your projects... really looking forward to giving this one a listen. My favorite period of the Stones.

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  8. Thanks! Again! And ... which are "the 12 songs from the March 1966 session"? Sounds like an album to me (and I might even have them)!

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    1. Doh! Apologies for my stupidity. And thanks again.

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  9. Thank you for another splendid re-creation.

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  10. Thanks for this and your hard work. I look forward to listening to it.

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  11. thank you very much. always considered this period the Stones creative zenith.

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  12. I'd be curious to hear your interpretation of ABBA's "Opus 10." I just did one myself, and I'd be curious if your tracklist is different. :)

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    Replies
    1. I'll second this one. I'm not a big ABBA fan, but they did get much more interesting (if much less poppy) as the relationships started (and continued) to splinter.

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  13. Hey Sonic, would it be at all be feasible for the Beach Boys to release a double album (à la The White Album) after a successful April 1967 Smile release? Perhaps as a way for Brian to remain in control and at the same time give space to the rest of the guys?

    I'm thinking songs from "Wild Honey" and "Friends" mixed in with some of the tracks dropped off your 1967 SMiLE reconstruction, perhaps led by "Do It Again" and "Can't Wait Too Long" as singles.

    Cheers!

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  14. Very cool album, thanks for doing this. Would have been a good album, had it been released. But had it been, would the Stones have recorded enough new material to fill out what became Aftermath ? In retrospect, it's probably good that it wasn't released, as I humbly think Aftermath ( U.K. version of course ), was probably their best album. Thanks again for all your work; always look forward to your next album.

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  15. Impressive. Best blog I've ever seen. Thanks for being.

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  16. Thanks for this. I recreated this album a couple of years ago, but yours has better quality sound.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. I'm always blown away by the amount of meticulous research you put into justifying your decisions for tracks to use. I'm learning a lot about the history of these songs!

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  19. dear soniclovenoize, love yr page. great work you do. super fun and inneresting. quick question. Where the hell is Willard's Wormholes? I feel bereft.

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  20. Love your reconstructions and this is no exception...
    Have seen a lot of recommendations\requests so here's mine. The Misunderstood were a great psych band whose primary output was spread across a few compilations (notably "Before The Dream Faded" and "The Lost Acetates", with earlier blues recordings and later works on "The Legendary Gold Star Album\Golden Glass"), I would love to hear someone try to turn these randomly scattered tracks into something more of a unified listening experience.

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  21. I don't know if you have already been asked to do this but, could you do the album between Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie?

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    Replies
    1. Are you referring to Arnold Corns? I think there are only six songs, which would make only an EP
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Corns

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    2. I'm not really sure, I heard of there being more songs recorded in that time frame (pre Ziggy) for a release after Hunky Dory. Hunky Dory is my favorite Bowie album and I was just hoping that there were more songs from that time.

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    3. There are enough songs. I did it for myself some time ago:

      Side One:
      01 Hang On To Yourself
      02 How Lucky You Are (Miss Peculiar)
      03 Tired Of My Life
      04 Right On Mother
      05 Looking For A Friend
      06 Rupert The Riley

      Side Two:
      07 Shadowman
      08 Man In The Middle
      09 Moonage Daydream
      10 Lightning Frightening
      11 Song For Marc

      There's also a song called 'Something Happens', but it's only available in terrible sound quality.

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    4. Do you have a sources log or something so I can look up the tracks?

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    5. Have a look at these sites for some info:
      https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/tag/arnold-corns/
      http://www.5years.com/early.htm

      Then look for a bootleg called 'Freddi And The Dreamer - The Arnold Corns Sessions' or alternatively one called simply 'The Complete Arnold Corns Sessions'.

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  22. Another great one, Sonic. Much appreciated.

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  23. Thanks! I've nabbed a number of your recreations over the years and admire your knowledge of rock history and dedication to your task. So many alternative albums! And more to come I hope!

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  24. Replies
    1. I am so glad you posted this comment, chessman, and that I read through the comments before I said what I was going to say.

      To me, "Goin' Home" has always sounded like "other"--in other words, it never really fit with any set of songs that I understood as Stones. Even after having downloaded the "50 Years of Dirty Work" torrents that were posted several years ago, I never could make sense of it. Wrong on "Aftermath"; maybe right on "Flowers" but it wasn't there. But it fits PERFECTLY as a side-two opener--at full length--on the long-lost CYWOTW. Good call on using the entire thing here, SLN!

      BTW, not enough room here to thank you for all the GREAT work you've done through the years, SLN (which I have to be careful to type, because it so often comes out as SNL--as in Saturday Night Live), but I've d/led every one of your releases (including one not listed on your blog--if there are others, I'd love to know) and I have nothing but high marks...especially since the unbelievably perfect STAMPEDE!

      Cheers!, and thanks again!
      --(my name without a space at Hotmail)

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  25. Hello Sonic; This is another winner. I am a big fan of the Brian Jones era Stones. "Flowers" is my favorite Stones album, and so I can just add the songs from here that aren't on Flowers and it makes it all complete. Once again; like your other albums, on earbuds, it sounds like a store bought album (Just Free). Thanks Again!!

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  26. Could you do The Small Face's 1862? I thibk it would be a killer album. By the way also The Who's Long Live Rock and David Bowie's Toys.

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    1. Long Live Rock was supposed to be uploaded tomorrow for Memorial Day, but I ran out of time because of work/family stuff. I'll upload it next week.

      1862 is already done. It soudns like a summer album to me, so it'll be uploaded this summer.

      Toys is not possible as not all of the tracks are available in lossless.

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    2. So will it be uploaded friday then?

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    3. I confess that I just can't wait for The Who's Rock Is Dead/Long Live Rock! Checkin' the site daily for it to drop. ;)

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    4. I hate when "next week" takes three weeks :)

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  27. Hey Sonic, I don't know if you know about this website (or if it could help you) but; http://burningtheground.net/ uploads vinyl rips of ~1980s music and maybe you could find use of them. idk

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    1. Thank you for the direction, ZZ...great stuff if you're into late-'70s/80s/early '90s dance...and I've put together a couple of "unreleased albums" myself from his b-sides!

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  28. Thanks for some great alternative albums plus extensive and detailed info to go with them. A truly superb site soniclovenoize with many thanks for sharing these gems.

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  29. Hey Sonic, I've been following your blog for a while and every mix is a pure masterpiece. I tried doing some digging for your Oasis Be Here Now album and found that every link is down. Would it be at all possible to upload somewhere, maybe with some other albums you did the same thing with. Thanks in advance if you do it. BTW you're killing me with anticipation for your The Who Rock is Dead album. Keep up the terrific work.

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    1. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B2ywk_qrtCI3OTZhZ3JkX09EME0?usp=sharing

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    2. Thank you so much! You are absolutely right with how it should've been shorter. I loved Be Here Now before, but now it is definitively better or just on par with Morning Glory. Thanks again keep up the terrific work.

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  30. Love your reconstructions, have you ever considered doing a Gouster-like album set up? Bridging the early mixes and the final Young Americans, perhaps cutting the Lennon tracks, etc. I feel like Bowie's soul material is great, yet leaks a sense of unity someone like you would be able to bring. Love the blog.

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  31. Are you alright, SLN? You said you were ready to post something over a month ago, and yet... nothing.

    Makes me worry whether you're okay!

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  32. Hey Sonic,
    What's up? What's happening? What's goin'on? What's next?
    (hope you are o.k.)

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  33. Love it!
    Have you ever looked at the alternate takes on the first 2 Moby Grape albums? I made an alternate version of Wow that I put on YouTube. I bet you could do better. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3WZqKK-AxxL3Lvhi8scMVJ-zhG2frtmd

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    1. Alternate Grape ( or any Grape , for that matter ), would be cool. Would love to hear Sonic's take on a Grape album.

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  34. Hi sonic, I hope everything is ok! Can't wait for your Who album! In the meantime, id' like to share my mix of the unreleased follow-up to What's Going On' by Marvin Gaye, the "You're The Man" LP from 1972. Enjoy folks!

    https://soundcloud.com/gabriel-lamarche/marvin-gaye-youre-the-man-1972-unreleased

    Marvin Gaye - You're The Man (1972 - Unreleased)

    Side A

    1. You're The Man
    2. The World Is Rated X
    3. Try It, You Will Like It
    4. Where Are We Going?

    Side B

    1. Woman Of The World
    2. Im' Going Home
    3. You're The Man (Reprise)
    4. Piece Of Clay

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    Replies
    1. Here's the version I did for this unreleased album:
      Side A – 20:35
      1. Running from Love (Part 1) – 3:06
      2. You’re the Man – 7:24
      3. Piece of Clay – 5:12
      4. Checking Out (Double Clutch) – 4:53

      Side B – 21:04
      1. Where are We Going? – 3:56
      2. Woman of the World – 3:30
      3. Running on Love (Part 2) – 5:05
      4. The World is Rated X – 3:52
      5. I’m Going Home – 4:41

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  35. We want The Who! We want The Who! We want The Who! :-)

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  36. Sonic! I've got a podcast called Beatles Therapy that I'd love to interview you for, mainly because of the post-breakup albums you did. If interested, please email me at Beatlestherapy@gmail.com

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  37. Hi, when is Who's Rock Is Dead coming up? We are waiting anxiously!

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  38. Thank you so very much for this blog and all the hard work you do. All of this is amazing.

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  39. Hello friends, I'm alive, I'm OK. Thanks for your concern! Just been very busy with work, kids and several bands and recording projects. I'll try to get up Rock is Dead asap, no later than next week.

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    Replies
    1. Rock Is Dead, but I'm glad to see that you are not!

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    2. I'm definitely excited for Rock Is Dead!

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    3. We're hanging with you. I think we all understand how life gets in the way of the things we want/plan/hope to do (too much time on your hands, eh?)...so I've got my fingers crossed that we'll get the benefits of your great work soon!

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  40. I'd like to note that I keep reading the title of this album like the first line from the Band's "Life Is a Carnival".

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  41. I'm sorry, but it's been two weeks, are we getting it soon?

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  42. Thanks for all the downloads and the hard work

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  43. Why is this such a prized item? nearly every track is available elsewhere.

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  44. Soniclovenoize: Thanks for all the hard work but dude...stop teasing us with false hopes!

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  45. Sonic, hope you're well; know you've been really busy. Any chance of a Kinks or Yardbirds project ? Thanks, and thanks for all the work you've done.

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  46. Discovered this lost album in 2011, when some guy share some information about and following is what I got about, with a draft of planned record cover:

    ”Could You Walk On The Water” is one of those great, mythical "almost was" records. It was completed in late 1965 and the band hoped to release the record early in 1966.  It was set to include ten tracks, nine of which had just been recorded at RCA studios in Hollywood in a session that lasted from December 3rd - the 8th of 1965.  The tenth track "Looking Tired", perhaps referencing Brian (check out those bags), was recorded in an RCA session in September of 1965. Having suffered in the U.S. from patchwork albums that featured randomly thrown together tracks recorded in different studios at widely different times, this would have been their first of a piece record and the first that consisted of all original material, showcasing the rapid growth of the Jagger/Richards songwriting team. 

    Decca balked at releasing a record with such an openly blasphemous and controversial title and by the time the band realized their label wasn't bluffing, they had recorded enough new material to fill out a very different record, which became that Summer's Aftermath.  In America in February of 1966 "19th Nervous Breakdown" was released as a single with the amazing "Sad Day" as the b-side.  Of the 10 proposed tracks for Could You Walk on the Water? only three, "Think", "Doncha Bother Me" and "Going Home" ended up on the American version of Aftermath, which continued the tradition of butchering the original British track sequencing for U.S. consumption.  The British version ofAftermath, released in April of 1966, included five of the ten songs, "Mother's Little Helper" and "Take It Or Leave It" in addition to the three aforementioned tracks that made it on the American version.

    .../...

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  47. The proposed cover of Could You Walk on the Water?, taken at a water reservoir in Los Angeles (Franklin Canyon where the Sounds of Silence cover was also shot) and capturing the Stones at their visual mid-60's peak, was used in the U.S. that Spring for the nicely titled compilation Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass). Many believe the color pictures included in the booklet for Big Hits were also supposed to be part of the packaging for Could You Walk on the Water. The cover features Brian Jones at his iconic best; bright red corduroys, black turtleneck, perfect hair, and very noticeable bags under the eyes. Brian was still very much in the forefront of the band, Jagger's shrinking a bit behind him in baby blue and Keith's even further back with the nice suede jacket and hands folded demurely. But Brian is right up in the camera, mouth slightly open, staring right into the lens, heavy eyed, wasted and defiant, basically encapsulating and embodying the whole Stones mythos.

    .../...

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  48. The Stones output from 1964-1967 is my absolute favorite period of the band, in large part due to the presence Jones brought, first to their original image and R&B covers (high energy slide and harp), and then later the expert way he colored in their more pop and psychedelic excursions with exotic instrumentation that often makes the song; the dulcimer on "Lady Jane", the marimba on "Under My Thumb", the sitar on "Paint It Black", the recorder on "Ruby Tuesday", the mellotron on "2000 Light Years From Home" the list goes on. With a band as well known and over exposed as the Stones it seems to strange to talk about under appreciated work, but for many of their fans the band really begins with trio of Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers (great albums to be sure) and the material before this is known mainly in cursory fashion for the bigger hits. Especially neglected then are the deeper album tracks and b-sides from 1965-1967; "Who's Driving Your Plane", "Sad Day", "Blue Turns to Grey", "The Singer Not the Song", "Complicated", "Please Go Home", "She Smiled Sweetly" "Citadel", "We Love You", "Dandelion" and the like. These songs and records such as December's Children, Aftermath, Between the Buttons, Flowers, and Their Satanic Majesties, display a pop and psychedelic influence and sound that, perhaps because of the loss of Brian Jones, the Stones would sadly never revisit.

    .../...

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  49. Though Aftermath is a overall a stronger record it's fascinating to think about this record, with this cover, title and track listing being released at the beginning of 1966 and the impact it might have had. It definitely hangs together well as an album and illustrates how quickly the band was developing from their R&B roots to original and imaginatively arranged and produced pop/rock. The title alone might have unleashed, similar furor to Lennon's comments on Christianity which resulted in death threats and record burning in the U.S. later in '66 and contributed to the Beatles decision to stop touring. And in retrospect the title seems entirely appropriate for the amazing year of music that 1966 turned out to be, it certainly feels like some of these bands were approaching levels of miraculous inspiration. Consider just a partial run down of records released in 1966; Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds, The Byrd's Fifth Dimension, The Lovin' Spoonful's Daydream, Revolver, Face to Face, The Psychedelic Sounds of the13th Floor Elevators, Love, Buffalo Springfield and The Monkees. And that's just scratching the surface.

    I'm unsure whether or not the edited or full length version of "Going Home" would have been included on this record but I've chosen to go with the edited version as I find it increases the appeal of the song considerably, as their attempts to stretch out on that one fall somewhat flat. So here for your consideration and the POP daydreaming potential of a period that passed far too quickly is Could You Walk on the Water?

    1. 19th Nervous Breakdown
    2. Sad Day
    3. Take It Or Leave It
    4. Think
    5. Mother's Little Helper
    6. Going Home (edited)
    7. Sittin' On A Fence
    8. Don't You Follow Me (aka Doncha Bother Me)
    9. Ride On, Baby
    10. Looking Tired

    Hope was useful for ones interesting about history.
    Fred

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