Album of the Week: The Rolling Stones, 'Blue & Lonesome'

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Rolling Stones, 'Blue & Lonesome'
Rolling Stones, 'Blue & Lonesome' (Polydor Records)
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David Safar's Album of the Week review: The Rolling Stones, 'Blue and Lonesome'
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The Rolling Stones are arguably the greatest rock band of all time. If for no other reason, which there are many, their longevity makes them the longest active rock band of the past century. While the Stones weren't the first young dudes to appropriate American blues music, they brought a charisma and swagger to rock music that was perceived as dangerous in the early Sixties. And although the rock-lore of The Rolling Stones will be a subject that will continue to be explored for the next century, much of the music that inspired The Glimmer Twins will likely be forgotten. So it's refreshing that for their new album, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards celebrate the music that makes up the DNA of the Stones. After all, what more can they write about life after more than 20 studio albums and countless tours around the world?

Blue & Lonesome is a collection of 12 American blues songs from the likes of Buddy Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon. The album is a tribute to the music that wasn't just inspiration for The Rolling Stones, but the fabric of the band's catalogue. The riffs and rhythms are the very sounds used to transform the blues into rock 'n' roll. For longtime Stones fans, the album could be the centerpiece of the band's discography. It's not only the band's only album of all covers, but it reveals performances you can imagine they have been using in their sessions and rehearsals since they first started practicing together. The album also serves as a gateway to the blues for fans who have dug deeper than the hits.

It's hard to know if this album was a complete homage to the band's favorite artists as they reach the end of their careers, or if it was just the right business decision. Regardless, they were faithful to the production values of the music they included on the album by keeping it simple and playing the songs as they likely did over five decades ago. They also invited Eric Clapton to help with a couple songs, including Willie Dixon's "I Can't Quit You Baby," but you might not have noticed if you didn't read the credits.

The Rolling Stones' Blue & Lonesome is out now.

Resources


The Rolling Stones - official site

The Rolling Stones, Blue and Lonesome (Amazon, CD)

The Rolling Stones, Blue and Lonesome (Amazon, Vinyl)

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  • Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
    Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones (Polydor Records)

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