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FANS ALBUM REVIEWS
Nine Reviews - Overall Average Rating - 8.4 Tongues
by Timothy Getz
January 24, 2013
Without diversity of opinion, where would any of us stand on the Stones? How could we live with only hits--and in an era of digital music, what really constitutes a hit?
12X5 may only have two hits and who could possibly mistake the 45" release of "Time Is on My Side" for a hit? "It's All Over Now" and "Around and Around" represent the best and the better parts of 12X5. Fortunately for "Time," their most iconic early recording found new life on the comparable release, 1965's The Rolling Stones No. 2.
To its advantage 12X5 includes only four or five originals. With "Tell Me" the boys had shown their hook writing muscles but the compositions here range from too dark and dismal to mediocre at best.
Still and all the album derives its charm from these shades of Lightnin' Hopkins and Solomon Burke rather than the upbeat plugged in songs. "Good Times Bad Times" and "If You Need Me," respectively, celebrate these influences without straining to recreate the artists' work.
"Under the Boardwalk" finds these lurid heroes in unexpected territory, making for a terrific cover of an American classic. Finally 12X5 thrives on the Stones' experience gigging and captures the enduring side of their music better than any pre 1968 LP. They may have worked harder on their debut but who says technicality trumps personality?
To listen to some sound clips from 12x5 or to buy it, click here: 12 X 5
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July 8, 2009
12 x 5, the follow-up to England's Newest Hitmakers, is not quite as good as the Stones debut album, but it's still a very strong album overall. The album kicks off with "Around and Around", a Chuck Berry cover. This is followed by "Confessin' the Blues", a very nice blues number with excellent harmonica playing from Mick Jagger. "Time Is on My Side" follows Nanker Phelge's "Empty Heart"; this is the organ version of the song. Many people, myself included, prefer the guitar version found on High Tide and Green Grass.
"It's All Over Now" is the best-known song on this album, and the best of the bunch. Videos of this song clearly show Brian Jones playing the power chords at the end, so one can logically assume that he plays them throughout, with Keith Richards playing the other guitar part.
"2120 South Michigan Avenue" is the address for the Chess studios, where this lively instrumental was recorded. A longer, different version of this one exists, but is not available officially.
"Under the Boardwalk" is the album's mistake and the reason why I'm giving it a 9 instead of a 9.5. This dull and uninspired cover was unnecessary. It is highly unfortunate that the brilliant cover of "I Can't Be Satisfied", included on the second UK release, was not included here, or on any other album until More Hot Rocks was released years later. Why deprive North American listeners of this wonderful song and saddle them with the mediocre "Under the Boardwalk" instead?
On top of the Nanker Phelge song, there are three Jagger-Richards songs on this second album: "Good Times Bad Times", "Congratulations" and "Grown Up Wrong". All three are very nice but show that the song writing pair was still developing.
by Gary Backhaus
July 5, 2007
"Around and Around" was a perfect Berry song for the early Stones. Keith shows mastery of Berry and the piano interplay is superb. I like the "passed-over" hammer-figure Brian plays in support during the verses. The ensemble provides a great R&B edge. Brian's slide guitar phrasing in "Grown up all Wrong" is exquisite, (especially in the solo) but the piece has intonation and mixing problems - a critical ear in the studio would have had them do it over. The guitar weaving in "Suzie-Q" is excellent with Brian playing the lower supportive riffs; Keith's solo shows off his flamboyant style quite nicely. Brian's arpeggio-style solo in "Congratulations" provides an interesting change of pace. Ian's impeccable organ phrasings and Brian's exciting harmonica solo in "2120 S. Michigan Avenue" are indicative of what would have been an entirely different band, if indeed Brian and Ian could have gotten along and both could have overcome their personality short-comings. "Confessin' the Blues" is well-planned: Keith is not a strong blues player, but here he does a brilliant job working with the harmonica and piano in establishing a wonderful interplay. The tone of Brian's rhythm guitar is so "stonesy" and it provides a solid foundation for the whole ensemble. "Empty Heart" is a great jam, but that's it - this could have been a great song if they just would have written a bridge. I like the intro-chord-riff for "It's All Over Now" and I like Brian's banjo-picking-figure. The instrumental bridge is Keith's forte, but to me it does not fit with the character of the song. Instead, I would have had Brian play slide in the mode of "I Wanna Be Your Man." "Time is on my Side" is a great song, but instrumentally not well-arranged.
August 18, 2005
I still have a soft spot in my heart for this album. I think I got it for Christmas in the glorious first year of the British invasion. As I recall, Dean Martin made some offensive wisecracks about the Stones on a US TV show (on the Hollywood Palace) after their great performance of "Around and Around". As a kid playing "Empty Heart", one of my close relatives, going through a divorce, said "How true" upon hearing the lyric, "An empty heart is like an empty life." I never forgot that. But the best song of all is "2120 S. Michigan Ave". The harmonica by Brian Jones is breathtaking, and I'd say it is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, instrumental rock song of all time.
By Cory Spivey
December 14, 2003
This album was the Stone' 2nd album. I think it is a pretty good album. I have the 2002 Abkco Remasted version of it. My Favorites from this album are:.
"Around & Around" - starts off the album. It was originally a Chuck Berry song. They do a better job than Berry's. The new stereo version is good, might be better in mono."Time Is On My Side (version 1)" - This is the version that starts with an organ solo by Ian Stewart. This version is also a bit faster, and not sloppy. "It's All Over Now" - I like this song a lot. Keith's intro is great, his backing vocals are not too bad. Mick's voice is great. "Congratulations" - I like the song because of Keith's George Harrison like guitar playing. The album has a lot of echo in the vocals. On some songs, as the music gets rockin', it becomes harder to hear the vocals. I think this album is pretty good. I got it mainly for "Around & Around", and "Time Is On My Side (Version 1)".
By J.P. Hurd
April 30, 2002
Here is the follow up to the first album, and you can definitely see some polish. Although not as raw and greasy as the first, this is still quality British R&B from the first real British R&B band. 'Around & Around' leaps from the first track, an energetic rocker that in my opinion surpasses the original Chuck Berry version. Then comes 'Confessin' the Blues'. You can here the Chess influence all over this. You would think the Stones were Chicago bluesmen when you feast your ears to this track. 'Time Is On My Side' is the organ version, although still strong. Keith's powerful acoustic guitar abilities are showcased with a 12 string on 'Good Times Bad Times', But when he tears into the electric solo on 'It's All Over Now', your heart will speed up and the adrenalin will flow. There are some weak moments such as "Boardwalk" and "2120", but the good out-weighs the not so good. A must for every Stones collector.
By Alex Short
November 2, 2000
To me this album is a bit of a let down. Especially compared to such a fine debut. The kicks are however in fine form with the great Chuck Berry number 'Around and Around'. I cant remember the exact track order but I think the next decent song is 'Empty Heart', originally found on the EP 5 x 5. The disappointments on this album are '2120 South Michigan Avenue' and 'Under the Board Walk'. When I bought the album and saw that 'Time Is on My Side' was on it, I thought it was what I now understand is the guitar version. The version on this album is the organ version, which isn't a patch on the other. However despite these set backs you do have 'Its All Over Now'. A truly superb song with great guitar by Keith. Another more recent favorite, which I wasn't to keen on at first is the ballad 'If you Need Me'. 'Suzie Q' and 'Grown Up' wrong are great. But then there is another let down in their self penned 'Congratulations'. However, although this is probably their weakest early album, I still listen to it regularly. Mainly for the rocking 'Its All Over Now'.
By Net Pimp
October 17, 2000
This album, an American release, is less endearing than their debut. We do get highlights of their fine r & b prowess on "Around and Around," "Confessin' the Blues," "It's All Over Now", a heavy jiving no. 1 in the UK, "If You Need Me" and "Suzie Q." Hell, we even get fine originals by J/R with "Empty Heart" a true gospel-lie rock n' roller that manages to combine their love of r & b with pop sensibility, an achievement they'd been struggling to get until then. Also, "Time is on My Side" is included. But, this version with a churchy organ taking focus is poorly done and the American single stands much better against this one. Another bluesy, remorseful song comes with the original "Good Times, Bad Times." There's some filler though: "2120 South Michigan Avenue," just instrumental padding, a struggling version of, the Drifters' anti-rebellious "Under the Boardwalk." (not fitting to the Stones, Andrew Loog Oldham must have pushed for a cover like this to staty pop) "Congratulations" is okay, but nothing special to the J/R repertoire. Same with "Grown Up Wrong." A good album, but not very good like its predecessor or great, like The Rolling Stones Now! An out of print collection of the early days (1963-65), "Around and Around", was great I hear and I wish it was still out, because I had to put up with the fluff on their first two at a high price (I couldn't get it anywhere else). But, after a few more r & b influenced albums, the Stones would slowly branch out into a nasty rock style of their own. It was artistically strong and reached a formulaic tendency with Sticky Fingers, but the formula remained fresh on several Stones albums of the 70s.
April 8, 2000
This never was among my favorites, because it mainly includes cover versions, but it fits in nicely to my collection of other older recordings. What I also don't like is that the English albums were cut together for America, so that for example this is a compilation of single- A' s and B' s and album tracks from THE ROLLING STONES NO. 2. The opener AROUND AND AROUND already shows the way from the original r'n'b band to the greatest rock'n'roll band on earth. The best song is IT'S ALL OVER NOW, a electrifying blues/rock fusion. I can understand well, that Bobby Womack, who wrote and performed the original version, stole it back. At the same time, it deservingly also the Stones' first #1 hit. Some of the self- penned songs (EMPTY HEART; GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES; GROWN UP WRONG) also show the change of style to more rocky sounds, although the big breakthrough, commercially as well as artistically, should come later. However, this album as a whole is a step in the right direction.
Keno's mini review, song list, lyrics and more info on 12x5
Stones Fans Album Reviews
To listen to some sound clips from12x5 or to buy it, click here: 12 X 5