| The Rolling Stones, (from left) Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood and Keith Richards, in New York. (AFP)
Los Angeles, Sept. 3 (Reuters): As the Rolling Stones kickoff their Licks world tour in Boston this week, patience is finally paying off for fans who were driven out of their heads over the years by the woeful state of the bands back catalogue of 1960s albums.
Key works have long been unavailable on CD, while the albums that are available sounded awful: not surprising since the product on the shelves was transferred to CD back in 1986 when the technology was still in its infancy.
But satisfaction has arrived with the recent ABKCO Records release of 22 remastered albums, the fruits of a 10-year restoration project for which no expense was spared. These are no ordinary discs either: they are Super Audio CDs (SACD), which occupy a niche targeted at audiophiles. They can be played on both SACD players and regular CD players.
For the first time, fans will be able to hear the seminal 1968 release Beggars Banquet at the correct faster speed; 1969s Let It Bleed without gaps between the tracks, as (apparently) originally intended; and the 1975 oddities collection Metamorphosis, which has never been issued on CD.
The series includes the US and British versions of most of the bands albums, which often had different track listings and art work.
Thus, completists can listen to both versions of 1965s Out of Our Heads, 1966s Aftermath and 1967s Between the Buttons. (Generally, the original US versions included songs released as singles, while the long-deleted British versions have additional tracks.)
Strangely, the series does not include the groups first two British albums, 1964s The Rolling Stones and 1965s The Rolling Stones No. 2. ABKCO senior vice-president Jody Klein said: It is certainly on the table of things to do.
Similarly, ABKCO is considering issuing some EPs on CD for the first time, though the tracks from those records are available on other releases, such as the 1972 compilation More Hot Rocks, which is part of the new series.