Rolling Stones – Can You Walk On The Water?

In 2016, The Rolling Stones released ‘Blue & Lonesome’, their first covers LP and it was harking back to their roots as it consisted entirely of blues based music form the likes of Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Magic Sam. The album was a critical and commercial success as it made the top five in the majority of the major record buying markets. With this in mind, I was surprised that The Stones had not done this before. 

Looking back at their earliest albums where they were more covers than originals, The Stones showed their was more to they influences than the blues by covering R&B and Rock n Roll numbers. This would continue until the writing team of Jagger and Richards got into their stride just before the release of the ’Aftermath’ album. However, during those formative years they recorded a good deal of material, especially when they were touring in the USA that has not escape the vault in a legitimate sense. Considering that The Rolling Stones are one of the premier league 60s bands, it is surprising that a reissue campaign of deluxe editions or archival releases has not seen the light of day. This might have something to do with the stand off with ABKCO which is a story for another time. 

As has already been noted, Jagger and Richards were really coming together as a song writing partnership and were so happy with the songs that they had recorded in late 1965 that they wanted to rush release the sessions as an album called ‘Could You Walk On The Water’. A cover was put together using a shot taken a photoshoot at a Californian reservoir. Decca, the bands record label refused to release it but the cover would see the light of day when it was used on the compilation ‘Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass)’. Another recording sessions would lead to another batch of original songs being recorded and were used on ‘Aftermath’. 

However, what if Jagger and Richards had still not found their writing chops by late 1965, or if they decided to clear some of the songs that they had recorded so they could come out all guns blazing in 1966 as a band that could produce albums of self written material? If we look at the bands recordings up until the end of 1965, there is enough in the can to produce an album of a similar structure to what had gone before. If we also look at the UK releases up to 1965’s ‘Out Of Our Heads’, each had twelve songs so was there enough to produce a good blues/R&B style record? There was, even though I did start off with ‘I Want To Be Loved’ as the opening track which dates from 1963 as the opening song. It had been the B-Side of ‘Come On’, their first single and had not been included on a UK album release at that time. 

The A-Side of this record is very much a blues inspired affair, with a rare instrumental by the band in the form of band composition ‘Stewed & Keefed’. Side B opens with another rarity in form of a song written by Bill Wyman. As far as I can tell, he only received credit for three compositions during his time in the band (even though he would claim that he contributed to a lot more). Like the A-Side, the focus is blues with the Jagger/Richards songs showing their Chuck Berry and Chicago blues influences on their sleeves. 

As albums go, this would have not sounded out of place in the mid 60s, especially when comparing it to other Stones albums of the time. This would also have been quite a nice release for the Christmas market in 1965, especially if you consider that the bands US fans got ‘December’s Children (& Everybody’s)’. With a title that the record company did not like and with bands always moving on and not looking into their archives at this time, an album like this would not have been released in the 60s. However, it would have been a nice 60s equivalent to the ‘Blue & Lonesome’ released 50 years later. 

Side A

  1. I Want To Be Loved* (Dixon) Olympic Studios, London – 10th May 1963
  2. Tell Me Baby, How Many More Times (Broonzy) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  3. Go Home, Girl (Alexander) Decca Studios, London – 16th July 1963
  4. High Heeled Sneakers (Higginbotham) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  5. Stewed & Keefed (Phelge) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  6. Meet Me At The Bottom (Dixon) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964

Side B

  1. Goodbye Girl (Wyman) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964
  2. Don’t Lie To Me (Jagger/Richards) Regent Sound Studios, London – 12th May 1964
  3. Reelin’ & Rockin’ (Berry) Chess Studios, Chicago – 11th June 1964
  4. Key To The Highway (Segar) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964
  5. Looking Tired (Jagger/Richards) RCA Studios, Hollywood – 6th September 1965
  6. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Redding/Butler) RCA Studios, Hollywood – 12th/13th May 1965 

All of these songs were unreleased up until the end of 1965 except for ‘I Want To be Loved’ which had been the B-Side of ‘Come On’, the bands first UK single. 

The front cover of the LP is taken from ‘I Design Album Covers’ website (

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