A friend of mine likes to tell the story about the time he was out for drinks with an acquaintance when their conversation was interrupted by a song on the jukebox. His acquaintance was clearly taken with the song, and after a few minutes of wordless grooving he asked, "Who is this?" My friend was speechless: the song was "Sympathy for the Devil." It's not likely that many people will be able to approach these songs with that same kind of tabula rasa, but there's enough charm to these familiar sides to warrant revisiting.
Like the two preceding volumes, 63 — 65 and 65 — 67, 68 — 71 simply gathers up all of the Stones 'singles from that date range and lays them out chronologically. The focus that defined the previous installment had started to corrode a bit in interesting ways, so you get the bleary slide-driven ballad "No Expectations," "Wild Horses'" ragged sentimentalism and the grim, grimy "Street Fighting Man." The B-Sides here also fascinate, chief among them "Child of the Moon," which sounds, in a strange way, like a wayback blueprint for Primal Scream. "Surprise Surprise," is a bit of falling-apart juke-joint jive that could have fit just as comfortably in the first installment of this series.
And if anyone does want to have a second chance at hearing "Sympathy" for the first time, this compilation helpfully provides three remixes: one by the Neptunes, one by Fatboy Slim and one by Full Phat. It goes without saying that none of them approaches the original's satanic majesty.