Rolling Stones Forty Licks (EMI/Virgin) They're old enough to know better these days, but at their peak the Stones were the essence of rock'n'roll: a swaggering blend of sex and mischief. And disc one of this colossal collection captures Britain's finest at that creative acme, spanning the glory years from 1964 to 1971. Think of your favourite Stones tune - Street Fighting Man, 19th Nervous Breakdown, Under My Thumb, Paint It Black, Sympathy For The Devil, You Can't Always Get What You Want - and it's probably here. But Forty Licks is far more than just a cleverly packaged marketing tool to prop up the current Mick'n'Keith antique roadshow. It represents their first meaningful career overview: previous compilations (Hot Rocks, Rolled Gold, The London Years, etc) were hobbled by industry red-tape and label changes. Tracks do not appear in chronological order; mood and tempo dictate. Disc one sways gloriously from the fuzzy stomp of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction to the paisley prance of the oft-overlooked She's A Rainbow. There are some notable omissions - Time Is On Our Side, Little Red Rooster, I'm Free, Play With Fire, Lady Jane and Waiting On A Friend all miss the cut - but once you press 'Play' all is forgiven. There's not a dead spot on the first disc and the remarkably crisp remastering means the songs virtually jump out of the speakers while losing none of the spirit or verve of the originals. Disc two fares less well, charting the post-1971 stadium years and throwing in four mediocre new recordings (the pick of which is the suitably titled closer I'm Losing My Touch, with Keith Richards on vocals). There's still plenty to wrap your lips around - Brown Sugar, Tumblin' Dice, Miss You, Beast Of Burden, It's Only Rock'n'Roll - but the first disc will see a lot more action. This is as close to definitive as you're likely to get.