Honestly, just how often is it that a band of so many albums, so many songs, and so many years in the business of manufacturing Rock and Roll make one of the great Rock albums of the year of 2016? Not often I can tell you. But that’s just exactly what the Rolling Stones did with the release of their latest album, Blue & Lonesome. Personally, I had my doubts. I wasn’t overjoyed with their last album, A Bigger Bang. I’m not exactly thrilled with the prospect of seeing them live at this age. Call it a mortal fear of my own aging, I’m just glad I saw them at their peak during two separate periods, both before 1980. I refused to see them afterwards. For their albums, I’ve increasingly settled that I wouldn’t get a satisfactory album any more. But God bless ’em for trying. And if they tried, I’m gonna listen. After all, I STILL consider them the greatest Rock band of all time.
It only took one listen through of Blue & Lonesome to be awed. Recorded pretty much as a warm-up to an album of originals, the music felt much too energetic to them to ignore. And from the opening track of “Just Your Fool”, you’re sitting there with a stunned expression on your face. The Stones? You guys did this?
I find myself continually listening to this instant classic over and over. I LOVE “All Of Your Love”, a cover track of the Magic Sam gem. With the entire album a potent Stones-styled love letter to the Blues, there isn’t a single bad moment in the album. Mick Jagger is at top form. Keith and Ron are fiery guitarists, and Charlie’s drumming is at its best. Blues is the nuclear fuel that has almost always powered the reactor of The Stones. And with this new album, there’s no doubt (if you had any) that Blues is the bedrock of Rock and Roll. Not Punk. Not Pop. Not vocal-oriented music. The Blues. And it is never more excellent than hearing a bunch of old-school Rock stars understand it so deeply that their new offering is a time machine to the glory years of Rock.
If you’re a Stones fan, how can you not enjoy Blue & Lonesome? If the Grammys ignore this one, then they have proven themselves to be out of touch.
Buy with confidence! Blue & Lonesome is fiery!