Released just a few months after the death of Brian Jones, Through the Past Darkly plays a bit like a tribute to the successes born from the troubled guitarist's psych-y influence on the Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World. Along with his well-known role in making “Paint It, Black” the distinctive faux-Eastern stomp we all hold dear (that's Jones on sitar), we hear his light touch on everything from the fey bounce of “Ruby Tuesday” (playing recorder this time) to the soaring pop-psychedelia of “She's a Rainbow” (a lilting mellotron).
Of course, the hip-shake guitar boogies the Stones perfected post-Jones weren't far behind — “Jumpin'Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man” poke in here to announce Mick & Co.'s new hard rockin'm.o. This duo, along with “Honky Tonk Women” (the then-massive single's first appearance on an LP), lean harder on snarl and swagger than any previous singles. It should almost go without saying, but the results — still — are thrilling.
Although largely overlapping with later collections like Hot Rocks and More Hot Rocks, Through the Past is a worthy compilation nonetheless. The tight focus on the late and just-post Jones years give the set a rousing energy and the consistent quality of the tracks is exhilarating.