I keep meaning to write about the new Stones album, Blue & Lonesome. It’s their first in 10 years and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Which is likely why I heard the first single from it, Just Your Fool, so many times on the radio in recent weeks. But I keep getting distracted.
For instance, one of my favorite old blues guys is Little Walter, who contributes a number of songs to this collection of covers. Little Walter is a revolutionary harmonica player, the guy who turned the mouth harp from something small to something big. He’s the most virtuosic harp player out there, the Segovia of the harmonica, if you catch my drift. He was also a great songwriter and terrific singer. So it’s great the Stones cover his tunes on their look back on the blues they have loved, but when I listen to their cover of Just Your Fool all I hear is Little Walter. What extra are they bringing?
It’s amazingly little. Here’s Little Walter.
Here’s the Stones.
The Stones version is so good because it totally mimics the original. Fine. I suppose if they did something different they could be charged with some sort of crime of appropriation, but for the time being the Stones version seems less than essential, we already have that, and that’s not the way their old blues and R&B covers felt.
Plus, that album cover! Ugliest thing ever!
You can listen to Lonesome & Blue and enjoy it, these are great old rock musicians who love the blues playing the blues. But I’m not sure they bring much more than appreciation and chops to the project, and you’re probably better off searching out the original versions. That’s easy on YouTube.
And if you’re in to eye candy, here’s a video of Eddie Taylor’s Ride Em On Down starring Kristen Stewart! Case closed.