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Rolling Stones' 'Five by Five' turns 50

Celebrate 50 years with the Stones' Five by Five" EP released on August 14

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Today, August 14, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary for the Rolling Stones' Five by Five EP, released in 1964. Following their self-titled debut album, the five-track 7-inch, produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, was issued in the UK after recording sessions held earlier in June at Chicago's Chess Records and Checker Records studios.

Five by Five practically slipped under the radar in the US, but this lost gem of the Rolling Stones discography proved that they were capable of transforming the gut wrenching emotion and instrumental balance felt in the Delta Blues sound with their puckered, blues-rock extractions, while still doing justice to the founding fathers of blues.

The EP includes five songs, all recorded in mono, each one containing the distorted, crackling twang of early Stones recordings that most fans have grown to know and love.

Side One:
1. "If You Need Me" (Wilson Pickett)
Here Jagger sings the ballad in a lower range than in the original and dabbles with the harmonica, accompanied with Brian Jones on organ.
2. "Empty Heart"
Here we have Jagger and Jones again. I may regret saying this, but this is one of the few songs that I think the stereo mix on the later released 12 x 5 beats the mono version. Listen to the remastered version here.
3. "2120 South Michigan Avenue"
Another Nanker Phelge rendition of a purely instrumental, country-tinged jam named after a street in Chicago really shows their tenacity and stamina. Brian Jones on harmonica, Ian Stewart on organ, Wyman on bass, Richards on guitar, Jagger on tambourine. On 12x5, the song has more reverb and heavier bass tones.

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Side Two:
4. "Confessin' the Blues" (Jay McShann/Walter Brown)
Jagger shows the grit and attitude of Chicago blues.
5. "Around and Around" (Chuck Berry)
This '50s rock 'n' roll dance classic was the first song the Stones' played live. The arrangement didn't stray far from Berry's, but Richards' rolling guitar riffs and Jagger's rebellious delivery gives a sinister finish to an already smooth composition. Here's the Stones playing for the first time on the T.A.M.I show while the audience of screaming girls went totally nuts.