The Rolling Stones
Flowers
(Abkco 95092)

I've never really understood the dismissive attitude most critics seem to have toward Flowers. I had it when I was a kid and loved it. And listening to the remastered CD version, I say this: I was right.

Like Morrissey's Bona Drag, it's a hodgepodge assortment of singles and random tracks that actually works better as an album than a lot of the artist's actual albums. Sure, we need to respect the Album. Yet, what's so bad about just giving yourself over to a Bunch of Songs?

Flowers collects an assortment of songs from the Stones' mid-60s period, when they really hit their stride with a string of baroque pop, urgent rock, and near-psych singles, getting away from the callow roosterstrut of their early "blues" material. You get the likes of "Ruby Tuesday," "Lady Jane," "Out of Time," "Mother's Little Helper," "Let's Spend the Night Together," and the supreme "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" Hard to argue.

The Donovan-esque "Backstreet Girl" could almost fit on one of those recent Dave Fridmann productions; it's ripe for the picking for some indie romantic comedy film. Harpsichord and everything. This is my favorite kind of Stones song, and Flowers has the highest percentage of 'em. Lots of neglected gemstones, and no park ranger around to tell you not to fill yer pockets.

"Ride On Baby" and "Sittin' On a Fence" close the album with more acoustic pastoral Stones. Great stuff. It's like a cool Stones mixtape compiled by your elitist record store friend, making sure not to put on anything that's too overplayed, plus a few connoisseur choices you never would have found yourself.

Content yourself with the idea that Albums are where it's at – I'll be out in the sunshine picking Flowers.

Review by Ben Chan