Perhaps the best memento of the two-day session at Chess Studios is the second Stones EP, "Five By Five" (released August 1964). As the title suggests, this truly R&B record contains five tracks: 'If You Need Me', 'Empty Heart', '2120 South Michigan Avenue', 'Confessin' The Blues', and Chuck Berry's 'Around And Around'. During the sessions the band also recorded their fourth single, 'It's All Over Now', and a couple of tracks that ended up on their second album, "The Rolling Stones No. 2".
In his book The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones James Hector presents a track-by-track review of the "Five By Five" EP. With engineer Ron Malo at the controls and many other legendary hands to shake, the group finally fullfilled a dream. Awestruck? It didn't show.
On 'If You Need Me' (Pickett-Bateman-Sanders) the band dispensed with the horns favoured by Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke, both of whom covered the song in 1963, but there was no mistaking the song's deep gospel origins, helped along by Ian Stewarts's organ playing.
'Empty Heart' (Nanker Phelge), recorded on the second day of the band's intensive sessions at Chess, was passable R&B, with some impressive harmonica playing by Brian Jones. Basically a jam hinging on a funky R&B bassline, '2120 South Michigan Avenue' (Nanker Phelge) was a musical tribute to Chess Studios - the title was simply the blues Mecca's full adress. Once again, Jones took the lead with some blueswailing harmonica, with some strong competition from Ian Stewart on organ.
Originally an early Forties swing jazz number by pianist Jay McShann and vocalist Walter Brown, 'Confessin' The Blues' was overhauled by Chuck Berry in 1960, from which the Stones took their cue. Having played it regularly since their July 1962 live début, the band were confident with their arrangement, and it showed.
Back in April 1962, a bed room band named Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys - featuring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and future Pretty Thing Dick Taylor - posted a tape to Alexis Korner. It included a version of Chuck Berry's 'Around And Around'. Little over two years later, the two first-named were recording at Chess in the presence of Berry himself. Eager to impress the assembled Godheads, the Rolling Stones turned in a tight, near-flawless performance, as Richards revealed himself as a master of Berry's technique. Stu's piano fills lent greater authenticity to the demonstration of R&B, London-style.
Source: James Hector, The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones, Omnibus Press, 1995.