The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome Review
When the Stones broke through more than five decades ago, they were a bluesy outfit inspired by legendary bluesmen. They were fond of playing early hits from Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf, and actually featured covers from those artists on their debut album, The Rolling Stones.
Now, fifty-two years later, they are right back where they started. Their new album Blue & Lonesome is a tribute to their early idols. The disc features a dozen blues-infused covers of the artists who inspired these rock ‘n roll legends, and so many who followed.
The album was recorded over a three day period last December in London and it featured all four core septuagenarian Stones: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. I wanted to love this album, but in reality, it’s decent but not great – just what you’d expect from an album of covers recorder over a long weekend.
There are a few catchy guitar riffs, and an occasional standout piano run, but the great majority of the shining moments on this album belong to Mick Jagger. His voice sounds as good as ever, and he delivers some impressive harmonica work throughout. The rest of the music is safe and predictable, but it does impress when you consider the experience level of the musicians behind the sound.
Jagger’s mouth harp kicks off the opening track, “Just Your Fool,” and sends us on a rollicking journey down memory lane. Picture yourself walking down a crowded New Orleans alley on a sweltering June evening. As the sweat pours down your back, this is the sound you hear dripping through the walls. It’s a classic, comfortable blues sound, except that Mick Jagger is the skinny guy behind the mic.
The best song, fueled by the best guitar on the album is the opening solo of “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing.” The style might remind you of another Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer who has always dabbled in the blues, Eric Clapton. Slowhand just happened to be playing next door and lent his stylings to a couple of tracks.
Blue & Lonesome is definitely worthy of a test ride, if for no other reason than it’s The Rolling Stones doing something they love on the North side of 70. It’s never going to be considered one of their greatest albums, but it’s a nice way to complete the amazing journey, these London lads started 56 years ago.
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- Just Your Fool (Original written and recorded in 1960 by Little Walter)
- Commit A Crime (Original written and recorded in 1966 by Howlin’ Wolf – Chester Burnett)
- Blue And Lonesome (Original written and recorded in 1959 by Little Walter)
- All Of Your Love (Original written and recorded in 1967 by Magic Sam – Samuel Maghetti
- I Gotta Go (Original written and recorded in 1955 by Little Walter)
- *Everybody Knows About My Good Thing (Original recorded in 1971 by Little Johnny Taylor, composed by Miles Grayson & Lermon Horton)
- Ride ‘Em On Down (Original written and recorded in 1955 by Eddie Taylor)
- Hate To See You Go (Original written and recorded in 1955 by Little Walter)
- **Hoo Doo Blues (Original recorded in 1958 by Lightnin’ Slim, composed by Otis Hicks & Jerry West)
- 10. Little Rain (Original recorded in 1957 by Jimmy Reed, composed by Ewart.G.Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed)
- Just Like I Treat You (Original written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in December 1961)
- *I Can’t Quit You Baby (Original written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Otis Rush in 1956)