It has been a little over a decade since one of the world’s biggest bands released a brand new full-length album. Thankfully, the wait is finally over with the release of Blue & Lonesome.
This album contains only covers of classic blues artists such as Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walker, and is the band’s first album with no original material. While some may see this as a sort of cop out, being such a big fan of blues I see it more as an homage to the influences who made it possible for the Stones to become as big as they are.
Besides, this way at least we are guaranteed an album completely free of cheesy, overproduced music that many classic artists have been known to release in the late stages of their career. Normally, I do album reviews track by track but in the case of Blue & Lonesome I find it necessary to take a little bit of a different approach.
This album is 100% covers of classic blues songs, and you certainly can tell. The whole album is very raw sounding, almost as if you’re listening to The Rolling Stones play a concert in a blues bar.
I’m only exaggerating a little bit when I say you can almost smell the cigarettes and taste the whiskey just listening to it. This intimate sound captured on a recording is something that I absolutely love hearing in studio material and I greatly respect any artist that can perfect it; it’s the next best thing to seeing the artist live in my opinion.
In terms of the musicianship present on the album, there is absolutely nothing that was left out. With the immediately recognizable guitar playing of Keith Richards/Ronnie Wood, the equally well-known Mick Jagger on vocals, and the always amazing Charlie Watts on drums, this album has everything you love about classic rock or blues, not to mention The Rolling Stones.
Throw in Eric Clapton (that’s right, Eric Clapton) on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” and this truly becomes an album for any fan of phenomenal guitar playing.
Whenever I listen to the blues, I always pay a great amount of attention to the bass playing in addition to the beautiful guitar playing. I’m a very big fan of the bass guitar; it’s the foundation for any good song that many people tend to overlook.
Darryl Jones is credited for playing the bass on this album and he does a phenomenal job keeping every groove going on every song. If you’ve never heard of Darryl Jones, he has been playing with the Stones since 1993, and also has recorded/performed with Sting, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis (Fun Fact: Miles Davis is Darryl Jones’ uncle), and Madonna. Also present in any good blues song as well as nearly every track on this album is some truly awesome harmonica playing by Mick Jagger.
Overall, while this album may seem a little repetitive to some, I love it. As a fan of blues and the Rolling Stones it is really cool to see the two overlap in such a unique way. Also considering all the members of the Stones are into their ’70s the fact that they can make music that sounds this good after over 50 years of performing is incredibly impressive to me.
I will always love the Rolling Stones, as any fan of good music should, but Blue & Lonesome honestly exceeded every single one of my expectations.