2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good Chicago blues, but weaker than debut - 2.5 stars,
This review is from: 12 X 5 (Audio CD)
As the Stones' second album, 12 x 5 is another collection of blues and soul covers with a few originals thrown in. This time, however, the album was recorded at the famed Chess Studios in Chicago, shrine of the electric blues where Muddy Waters and countless of the Stones' heroes recorded their "sides". The sound is more polished with a heavier bottom end, which was what the Stones wanted.
The album kicks off with a strong cover of Chuck Berry's Around and Around then dovetails into the moody Confessin' The Blues, featuring some fine harp playing. The album then dips into Empty Heart, a one-liner that goes nowhere, and follows with the inferior version of Time Is On My Side (the organ version, not the guitar). Side one closes with their current single at the time, Good Times Bad Times & It's All Over Now -- the album's highlight even if the latter is a Womack cover.
Side 2 is a patchy affair with If You Need Me being the only strong tune. Susie Q is too short, too fast, while Under The Boardwalk must rank along with My Girl (Flowers album) as the worst cover by the Stones.
Again, ABKCO has issued the shorter US version of the longer UK album, yet is charging full price. No bonus tracks. While there are some fine moments on this album, it is a patchwork affair and suggests that the Stones were already running out of material for their albums and relying too heavily on borrowed tunes.