The Black Box
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In February 1974, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Unit, Bill Wyman started working on a new Stones compilation album to be called ‘The Black Box’, featuring all unreleased studio tracks, but the project ended up being shelved later in favour of the ‘Metamorphosis’ album. Bill’s original picks for the record were:
Bright Lights Big City/Cops and Robbers/I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys/Little Red Rooster (Live)/Down The Road Apiece (Live)/Don’t Lie To Me/If You Let Me/Godzi/Panama Powder Room/Gold Painted Nails/Fannie Mae/Down In The Bottom
In 1974, Bill Wyman involved himself in compiling an album he entitled “Black Box”.
Bill sifted through the Stones backlog of tapes & assembled a collection of a dozen tracks which the Stones themselves felt to be acceptable as “collectors items”. The actual record was to have been packaged in a thin black box together with a booklet of old photographs, press clippings & related ephemera and tied with a ribbon.
However, Allen Klein (who managed the Stones from 1965 to 1970)
wanted more Mick Jagger/Keith Richards songs in the project for monetary reasons, and Wyman’s version remained unreleased. “Metamorphosis” was issued in its place in 1975 (source “The Rolling Stones Illustrated Record” by Roy Carr)
Over the years, I have managed to collect 10 of the original 12 tracks that Bill Wyman had chosen for the compilation. The 2 missing tracks, “Godzi” & “Panama Powder Room”, are both instrumentals that have never been released. In my opinion, this mix by Bill Wyman is greatly superior to the album that took it’s place, “Metamorphosis”. You can hear how much the band was influenced by black musicians and the Blues.
THE BLACK BOX, COMPILED BY BILL WYMAN
(DECCA ACETATE, ALTERNATIVE TO “METAMORPHOSIS”)
A1 Bright Lights, Big City (Reed)
A2 Cops And Robbers (Harris)
A3 I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys (Oldham, Richards)
A4 Little Red Rooster (Dixon)
A5 Down The Road Apiece (Raye)
A6 Don’t Lie To Me (Whittaker)
B1 If You Let Me
B2 Godzi (Nanker, Phelge)
B3 Panama Powder Room
B4 Gold Painted Nails
B5 Fanny Mae (Brown, Robinson)
B6 Down In The Bottom (Dixon)
Cut A1: Recorded at IBC Studios, London, March 11, 1963.
Cut A2: Recorded at Camden Theatre, London, March 19, 1964.
Cut A3: Recorded at Demo session, Decca Studios, London, late February, 1965.
Cut A4, A5: Recorded on the British tour, March 5-18, 1965.
Cut A6: Recorded at Chess Studios, Chicago, June 10 or 11, 1964.
Cut B1: Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios, London, November 9-26, 1966.
Cuts B2, B3: Recorded at RCA Studios, Hollywood, August 4-12, 1966.
Cut B4: Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios, London, October 16, 21 or 23, 1967.
Cut B5: Recorded at “Saturday Club”, BBC radio show, August 20, 1965.
Cut B6: Recorded at Chess Studios, Chicago, June 11, 1964.
NOTES: Cut A6: At the time mistakenly entitled Let’s Talk It Over.
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