NME (Magazine) - 7/9/94, p.43
6 - Good - "...Contains a few gems worth unearthing..."
The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar); Keith Richards (vocals, guitar, bass); Mick Taylor (guitar, bass, synthesizer, congas, background vocals); Bill Wyman (synthesizer, bass); Charlie Watts (drums).
Additional personnel: Billy Preston (piano, Clavinet); Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins (piano); Kenny Jones (drums); Ray Cooper (percussion); Charlie Jolly (tabla); Ed Leach (cowbell); Willy Weeks, Blue Magic (background vocals).
Recorded at Musicland Studios, Munchen, Germany.
The Rolling Stones: Mick Taylor (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, bass guitar, congas); Keith Richards (vocals, guitar, bass guitar); Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar); Bill Wyman (synthesizer, bass guitar).
Personnel: Ray Cooper (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Keith Harwood.
Audio Remasterers: Stephen Marcussen; Stewart Whitmore.
After years of building off their rhythm and blues credentials, the title IT'S ONLY ROCK & ROLL insinuates a lowbrow rock aesthetic, but on this album the Rolling Stones mixed rock's aggression with an unparalleled appreciation for soul music. From their joyous cover of the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" to "Time Waits For No One," Mick Jagger boldly duplicates the feel of James Brown's early singles. But the band gives their sources a twist, with the heavily funk-based "Fingerprint File" sounding more like Isaac Hayes's "Shaft" than "Satisfaction," and "Dance Little Sister" coming across like a high school R&B band hopped up on adrenaline.
This 1974 album also finds the Stones in a state of flux. Unsatisfied by his low place on the totem pole, Mick Taylor's participation is minimal, and the album relies more on Keith's guitar than previous albums. Ronnie Wood's increasing involvement with the band is obvious--the song "It's Only Rock & Roll" started as a demo for Wood's then-in-progress solo album, but became his first contribution to the band. But while IT'S ONLY ROCK & ROLL is a portrait of a band in transition, it still rocks in classic Stones style, and stands with SOME GIRLS as one of the band's best post-EXILE efforts.