they're as sure a representation of the Stones ethos as brand-new and more unified efforts like Let It Bleed.
Hot Rocks (London 2PS 606-7) is even crasser than Flowers and Children, because it's the first Stones album on which every track has been represented on albums previously released in this country. Some of them, in fact, like "Let's Spend the Night Together," are on their fourth go-round. So in part Hot Rocks is, however beautifully packaged, a purely mercenary item put together by the Stones' former record company to cash in on the Christmas season and wring some more bucks out in the name of the Mod Princes they once owned.
As historical document of Greatest Hits culling, Hot Rocks takes almost no chances, and if the Stones or London sometimes display an unexpected sense of what may be the band's most important statements (as in the inclusion of "You Can't Always Get What You Want"), there is also much left out. The absence of "Lady Jane" makes sense in the light of its being on three albums already and not that good in the first place, and considerations of space make "Not Fade Away's" freezeout seem reasonable until you reflect on how severely the derivative but vital R&B (their best work, really, until Let It Bleed) of their first five albums has been under-represented here. Maybe it's sensible to cut "The Last Time" in favor of its flip side "Play With Fire," but the absence of "It's All Over Now" fairly glares at you.
Either "She's a Rainbow" or the great, roaring "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow" would have been more fun than the always lame "As Tears Go By" and the socially incisive but musically slight "Mother's Little Helper," both of which were included. And "We Love You," the brilliant "jail-single" of the summer of '67" which may be the most musically adventurous thing the Stones have ever recorded, has never been on an album released in this country (There are also the great B sides like "Who's Drivin' My Plane," "Child of the Moon" and "Sad Day," but they deserve a different sort of album. Maybe someday they'll get it.)
So when we look past the magnificent cover depicting the Stones in their numerous roles as ragtag rougues of Merrie Olde. Tangierian travellers, fashion plates, etc., what do we find? I he evolution of a rock & roll band from superlative interpreters