Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome (2016)

The Rolling Stones are back with their first studio album since The Bigger Bang more than a decade ago and it's a surprise because there isn't a single Keith Richards / Mick Jagger original song anywhere. Instead, Blue & Lonesome offers up twelve raw covers of old blues tunes, many that predate the infamous British rockers' career.

It's been written here before that usually when an artist releases an album of all cover songs it's because he or she has run out of inspiration while they still have contractual obligations to fulfill. It is to the Stones' credit that they didn't fall into an often fatal trap by releasing an album that often puts the nail in the coffin of many formerly great and productive careers.

Blue & Lonesome comes across as a true labor of love. All of these old songs grew from the roots of the original quintet. The blues are what inspired Jagger and friends in the beginning and it's a shame the band took so long to produce such an effort.

Richards is the The Rolling Stones' Paul McCartney. He's the one who seems to care most about their legacy so what is truly amazing about this record is how much of a Jagger album it is. While the songs feature three great guitarists (Richards, Ron Wood, and Eric Clapton who plays slide guitar on "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" and lead electric on "I Can't Quit You Baby") it's the frontman's vocals and harmonica work that stand out. While all of the axe work is quite good it is Jagger who comes across as the most engaged. Who knew he still had it in him?

The songs are by Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Magic Sam, Howlin' Wolf and a host of others.

If this is the last album by England's second most famous rock band, it's a great way to say farewell.

1 comment:

  1. They barely ever topped their initial work as a blues/R&B cover band--a few of their albums are better than AROUND AND AROUND, but not many and not recently--so I guess I will have to get this one. And I haven't bought one since TATTOO YOU...