Paint It Black By The Rolling Stones

December 27, 2018

The Rolling Stones topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time when “Paint It Black” reached number one on June 11, 1966, for a two week stay.

It was and remains one of the more ominous songs in their catalogue. What really made the song unique, hover, was the use of a sitar buy Brian Jones as the lead instrument. It was a fusion of western rock with eastern music.

Jagger and Richard were now producing more original material, which in turn would allow The Rolling Stones to assume the title of the world’s greatest rock and roll band.


On Air By The Rolling Stones

November 22, 2018

Saturday Club, Blues In Rhythm, Top Gear, and The Joe Loss Pop Show are just a few of the bevy of music shows that dominated English television a half century ago. Bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and The Who made regular appearances. Now 32 performances, recorded between 1963-1965, by the Rolling Stones have been resurrected and officially released for the first time.

On Air is similar to opening a time capsule and exploring past history. These performances present the Stones in their formative years. The were still primarily a rhythm and blues cover band and Brian Jones was the controlling force.

Jones’ harmonica play is front and center and on a number of old blues covers substitutes for the sax sound. He also plays a mean slide guitar before the style was popular. Mick Jagger is at his gritty and sarcastic best. Keith Richards takes the lead on a number of songs and demonstrates how he established his reputation of one of rock’s best guitarists.

Many of the tracks have been bootlegged a number of times but now the sound has been scrubbed as clean as possible. While it is not perfect by the standards of today and there are still a few tracks that have problems; overall it is very presentable and provides a good listening experience.

While there are a few familiar songs including “It’s All Over Now,” “Spider And The Fly,” “The Last Time,” and a scintillating “Satisfaction;” it is the covers and rarely heard material that make the album worthwhile and a treasure trove for Stones fans.

Keith Richards puts his unique guitar stamp on Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Memphis Tennessee.” “One can almost imagine Mick Jagger strutting on stage as he grinds through “Walkin’ The Dog,” “Confessin’ The Blues,” “Mercy Mercy Mercy,” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You.”

On Air presents a raw and developing band. While they had achieved some success, the future was still uncertain, so it is a band fully committed to their performances. It is also interesting to hear Brian Jones as one of the focal points because as the band slowly became one of the best rock and roll bands in music history, his role would be diminished.

On Air fills in some big gaps in the Stones journey and is an essential look into understanding their music.


Stick Fingers Live By The Rolling Stones

April 8, 2018

A decade or so ago, The Rolling Stones were becoming obsolete. Now, due to a strong retro studio release, expanded versions of some of their classic albums, and their live From The Vault series; they have re-emerged as a force of rock music.

Their latest release is Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015. Recorded May 20, 2015, at the beginning of their two month North American Zip Tour, in the intimate Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles; it was historic as it is to date the only time the Stones have performed their entire Sticky Fingers album live.

The Rolling Stones, in the twilight if their career, have managed to create just about the perfect live album. The clarity of the video and particularly the sound are superb. The guitars of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards are out front and the clarity not only shows their guitar talent but how intricate the structure of many of the songs actually is.

The three opening songs are powerful rock and roll. “Star Me Up,” “When The Whip Comes Down,” and “All Down The Line” is rock and roll at its best, played by the greatest living rock and roll band.

Many of the songs from Sticky Fingers emerge modernized and definitive. “Bitch” and “Sister Morphine” are still edgy and painful. “Dead Flowers” and “Wild Horses” are different from most of the Rolling Stones catalogue. “I Got The Blues,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and “I Got The Blues” re-introduce rarely played Stones classics. An extended version of “Brown Sugar” closes the regular part of the concert and leaves you limp.

The encore consists of “Rock Me Baby,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and a funky “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” which bribgs the concert to a satisfying end.

The Stones have delivered what may be the defining concert album of their career. If there is a better one in the vault, it is going to be spectacular.


Blue & Lonesome By The Rolling Stones

March 29, 2017

The last Rolling Stones studio album was 11 years ago. They have written some songs and have been in the studio, but no album has been forthcoming. Then in a three day frenzy; they entered a recording studio and recorded a dozen blues tracks. The result was the album Blue & Lonesome, which now holds the distinction of being their only studio release to contain no original Jagger/Richard compositions.

They wisely avoided the early blues songs of the American Delta and focused on releases from the era that had an impact on their music (1950’s and 1960’s).

Little Walter passed away at the age of 38 in 1968 and was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as a sideman for his virtuosity on the harmonica. His career is resurrected by the Stones as one-third of the songs belong to him. “Just Your Fool,” “Blue And Lonesome,” “I Gotta Go,” and “Hate To See You Gone” as played by the Stones are where rock crosses over into the blues. Watts’ drums and the guitars of Wood and Richard drive the music away from the sparseness of the originals but Jagger’s vocals are spot on.

The Stones could not issue a blues album without a couple of Howlin’ Wolf songs. “Hate To See You Gone” and “Commit A Crime” reach a little deeper into his catalog foe some straight blues interpretations.

The Otis Rush song “I Can’t Quit You Baby” has the style that fits Jagger well and would have been at home on their early albums. Lightning Slim’s “Hoo Doo Blues” is a joyous romp.

The Rolling Stones may not re-invent the blues with Blue & Lonesome but they do re-invent themselves. They prove that you can teach an old dog old tricks.

 


Get Off Of My Cloud By The Rolling Stones

June 2, 2016

The Rolling Stones solidified themselves as one of rock music’s most popular and important bands when “Get Off Of My Cloud” became their second number one single in the United States.

The Stones now had their own jet for travel and were headlining shows rather than just being a support act.

“Get Off Of My Cloud” reached number one on November 6, 1965 and remained on top of the music world for two weeks.


Satisfaction By The Rolling Stones

March 3, 2016

On July 10, 1965, one of the iconic songs in rock and roll history reached the top of the singles chart in the United States.

One of the most famous riffs in music history was born late at night when Keith Richards couldn’t sleep. He kept playing the chords over and over and finally recorded them into a small cassette player. And so “Satisfaction” was born.

Richards never intended for the song to be released as a single. Luckily he was over ruled and it became their first American number one, staying on top for four weeks.


Tell Me (You’re Coming Back) 45 by The Rolling Stones

October 28, 2012

The Rolling Stones had formed as a raw rhythm & blues/rock band. Their first United States chart single. “Not Fade Away,” reached number 48 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during the early summer of 1964. Their follow-up single in the USA, “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)’ peaked at number 24 during the summer of 1964.

It was the first Jagger/Richards composition to be released as the A side of a single. It was still a fairly raw sound but contained elements of their rock sound for which they would become famous. It was also a very early ballad and more would follow as the years passed.

Today it remains notable as the first Stones single to crack the top 40 in the United States.