There are some things in this world that never get old. Like the Rolling Stones.
Just over fifty-two years ago, in May 1964, the Stones released their eponymous first album, The Rolling Stones. The record included covers of songs by American blues musicians like Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed. This month, the Stones went back to their roots with the release of Blue and Lonesome.
The new album offers 12 songs written by or associated with not only Dixon and Reed, but Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Memphis Slim and other blues greats. While the blues has been a longstanding influence, it hasn’t been part of the band’s in-studio work for some time. Blue and Lonesome was recorded live over a three-day period, giving the impression of a jam session among friends. The music is loyal to the original bluesmen in style, with clever references to old recording techniques. The album pays homage to Little Walter, widely regarded as the greatest blues harmonica player. Four of the songs are from his catalog, with Mick playing the harmonica.
Coincidentally, Eric Clapton was recording at the same studio complex and took the opportunity to join in on I Can’t Quit You Baby and Everybody Knows About My Good Thing. He even offers a guitar solo on the former, while playing slide guitar on the latter.
The Stones commemorated their 50th anniversary with a November 2012 performance in London, but have continued to tour internationally. In March of this year, they played a free concert in Havana for an audience of 500,000. The latest album, hopefully not their last, is a happy testament to their roots in the blues tradition.
For more information, please read:
The Rolling Stones’s ‘Blue & Lonesome’: A Romp Among Friends | Wall Street Journal