Friday, 26 October 2018

The Rolling Stones - Blue And Lonesome (2016)

  

Released December 2016

Recored at British Grove Studios, London

Apparently recorded very quickly, in an "almost live" studio setting, in order to give the album a raw feel, this was the long-waited Rolling Stones album of Chicago blues covers.

TRACK LISTING

1. Just Your Fool
2. Commit A Crime
3. Blue And Lonesome
4. All Of Your Love
5. I Gotta Go
6. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
7. Ride 'Em On Down
8. Hate To See You Go
9. Hoo Doo Blues
10. Little Rain
11. Just Like I Treat You
12. I Can't Quit You Baby

"Just Your Fool" kicks the album off in a lively fashion, full of blue riffs, blues harp, barroom piano and a general all round rollicking feel. The sound is a tiny bit dense and muffled, though, throughout the alum. Maybe that was the intention, giving it that authentic blues sound, or maybe trying to replicate The Stones' sixties blues covers in its sound. "Commit A Crime" is a big, bassy thumper of a number. It is clear that The Stones are playing here for the sheer, unfettered enjoyment of it. Mick Jagger's vocal on this one, and indeed on all of them, is excellent, sounding half his venerable age. His blues harp (harmonica) is already sounding the dominant accoutrement to the album. Little Walter's "Blue And Lonesome" is solidly powerful, again the sound is a little indistinct, but I am sure by now it is deliberate. All the tracks are relatively short. This is not an album for drawn out "Midnight Rambler"-style soloing, it would seem. "All Of Your Love" has a copper-bottomed blues riff, killer piano and another peerless vocal. If I didn't know better I would swear they put a hissy background on this track to make it sound more genuine. Actually, I'm sure they did. It's 2016, no need for any hiss.

"I Gotta Go" starts with some wonderful harp from Jagger. The sound, again, is almost mono, but a dull mono at that. In fact some of their original sixties mono blues covers actually sound much better. It is not a huge criticism, however, this material is still smokin' hot. "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" has a superb riff played by Eric Clapton. It is so good to hear these two giants of sixties UK blues playing together so well, all these years later. "Ride 'Em On Down" is an upbeat rocking blues, one of the liveliest on the album so far. "Hate To See You Go" has that riff that seems to have appeared in a thousand blues songs. Play it - you'll know the one I mean.

"Hoo Doo Blues" is a menacing, down 'n' dirty grinder of a number. It is maybe the most authentic-sounding of all of them. "Little Rain" is a slow, powerful but mournful blues. "Just Like I Treat You" is a frantic blues rocker. Jagger sounds great on this one. Eric Clapton joins the boys again for a searing solo on "I Can't Quit You Baby" which has a great "live" feel to it. In conclusion, you would have thought this album has Keith Richards' stamp all over it. Funnily enough, it is Jagger who dominates the whole thing. He seems to be revelling in it.

Despite the admittedly less than perfect sound (to my taste) this is still a highly enjoyable, pure album  from a band who burst on to the scene, and into our lives, playing the blues. If this is to be their last studio album, then they went out playing the blues. As it should be.

B-

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