The Rolling Stones : Blue & Lonesome
Why would the Stones release another album after 11 years, and risk the band’s legacy? Because the Stones still care about the blues.
Blue & Lonesome is the Rolling Stones’ Zen album, the recording that sends the band back to where it all began: to the dirty blues of the American south. Along the way the Stones check in on Howlin’ Wolf (Commit a Crime), Willie Dixon (Just Like I Treat You, I Can’t Quit You Baby), Buddy Johnson (Just Your Fool), Little Walter (Blue and Lonesome, I Gotta Go, Hate to See You Go) and then some.
Close your eyes and listen to Mick Jagger’s harp and you can visualise him in his stovepipe pants in Chicago 1966, shuffling James Brown style across the stage. Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood are a couple of eager kids with £10 guitars sitting in front of the parents’ turntable learning the licks of the great Delta blues masters. Charlie Watts, as simple and elegant as ever keeps the beat, always there, never in the way.
Forget the pomp and ceremony and garish colours of the Stones’ live set. The Rolling Stones are still a blues band at heart.
By Patrick Emery