Georgie Fame (And The Blue Flames) along with The Rolling Stones in this special broadcast from The BBC on March 19, 1964 – Recorded live at The Camden Theatre as part of the Rhythm & Blues programme from BBC Radio 1.
This was part of a series of recordings unearthed in The BBC’s vaults some years back – not only is it hugely important that it existed in the first place, but even better that the sound is pristine. So much material from The BBC has been destroyed over the years that it’s been incumbent upon the collectors, those stalwart geeks armed with reel to reel tape recorders and either microphones strung up in front of speakers or the technical expertise to suss out an output from the radio that escaped the possibilities of neighbors screaming in the distance or chatty siblings, or some forward thinking engineer who had the wherewithal to stash tapes in their briefcase, to preserve at least as much as possible. Bear in mind that it was deemed illegal to record the BBC off the air, even though it was done – apparently much more than was initially thought, so the presence of some of these early recordings is considered a miracle to have survived. So to find a stash of these recordings sitting in the BBC Vault was newsworthy and this performance (at least The Rolling Stones portion) has been issued commercially in recent years.
But this one is the re-broadcast from 2010 by BBC 6 Music, as it happened and in glorious stereo.
Georgie Fame may not ring bells with many present day collectors, even though his importance in the grand scheme of things cannot be overlooked – that he is still gigging and recording offers proof that he was, and is an institution – and you need to know about him if you already don’t. The Rolling Stones, during this period – just as they were causing mass hysteria in the States, gives glowing proof just how charismatic and compelling this band was during their formative period. This was the period where Brian Jones was pretty much steering the ship and it’s an image of The Rolling Stones that is considerably different than they are now. There are those people – audience and critics alike, who break the career of The Rolling Stones into two categories; Brian Jones Period Stones and Post-Brian Jones Period Stones. They are, to many of us, poles apart in style and substance. But you wonder, had Brian Jones lived and not been kicked out of the Stones, would they be where they are now? Hard to tell, and you can also go crazy playing the “what-ifs” game.
Suffice to say, these are two groups who have made important and long-lasting contributions to Rock, whose early endeavors are of vital importance, and it’s further evidence that preserving history is crucial, especially where music and art are concerned. These are the touchstones – the pieces of the puzzle we learn from. Hearing them in a live context, without the luxury of false-starts and repeated takes, along with that extra element of energy, of nervous tension, makes this all that much more important to sit down and listen to. There’s a lot to be gotten from the next 30 minutes.
Start now and crank it up.