Blue and Lonesome

Rolling Stones Return With a Pure Blues Release


Justin Angellar

The Rolling Stones cemented themselves as one of the greatest and most influential bands of all time ever since their conception in 1962. Whereas the Beatles revolutionized music with their clean and melodic pop, the Stones brought dirty, bluesy and heavy rock into the mainstream.

The Rolling Stones heyday was from the mid 60’s through the late 70’s with a legendary string of albums and singles that shook the core of popular music forever. But that was 40 years ago. What are the Stone’s up to in 2016?

Blue and Lonesome” is the new album from the band, and it consists entirely of covers of different blues acts that influenced them most in their early music. With songs spanning from the early 50’s blues scene to later acts in the late 60’s, the Stone’s document an era of music that ultimately led to their classic sound.

The album kicks off with a cover of the blues staple “Just Your Fool”, originally performed by Buddy Johnson in 1953. The high and bright harmonica makes its entrance on the album here, which ultimately makes an appearance in each song in varying degrees.

73 year old Mick Jagger still has the vocal dexterity to knock out classics such as “Ride ´Em On Down” and “Little Rain” despite his old age. The band plays with an instrumental mastery only found with 50 years of experience playing together, proving that not even the passage of time can knock the blues out of the Stones.

The production is scratchy and rough around the edges. It is clear that the producers went for a live aesthetic, deciding to hang back and let the band play rather than clean up the heavy and wild sound of the blues. The result is an album that sounds a bit like finding your grandfather’s old blues vinyls in the attic, dusting them off and letting them play.

In “Blue and Lonesome” the Rolling Stones wrote a love letter to the musical movement that, in turn, helped them make their musical movement: American blues. They’ve come a long way from British teenagers obsessed with Chicago blues, playing choppy garage renditions of their favorite artists. On this record, the Stones make a worthy ode to the genre that influenced them so greatly.