The Rolling Stones – Aftermath

Why do you like vinyl?  We all have different answers to that question.

I have a couple of answers.  I like that listening to vinyl is a physical activity.  You have to carefully take out the record, set it on the turntable, drop the needle, and listen for side A to end so you can flip it over.  Listening to a record is not something you do passively.  Second, I like to think about the journey the album has been on.  When you buy used vinyl you are buying that record’s personal history.

Aftermath is almost 51 years old.  Think about that for a moment; 51 years in the future is the year 2068.  Damn.  Seriously, damn.  I wonder how this particular record came to land in my living room in Roswell, GA.  Did some kid save up lawn mowing money to buy it?  Did a business man named Jim Smith hide from his kids in the basement smoking a cigar and jamming?

I do not have a deep knowledge of The Rolling Stones’ history and there is no particular reason for that to be missing from my life.  I say that to get to this point: I had never heard Aftermath until I put it on the turntable today.  I knew a couple of hits, but had never heard the whole album.

It is hard to listen objectively to Aftermath because I can’t tell if this record sounds like most 60s rock or if most 60s rock was simply copying The Stones.  What I can tell you is that everything on this album is based in the blues.  The piano riffs and guitars have a sort of crying blues feel to them that is sad even when they are upbeat.  The Stones can even make a bouncy harmonica feel happy and heartbreaking at the same time.

On top of the bluesy root of Aftermath is straight forward rock and roll.  There are songs on this record that are absolutely timeless and could be recorded in a modern studio and find a home on the radio.

My favorite track is my all-time favorite song from The Rolling Stones: Paint It Black

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