One of the best selling albums in 2016 was Blue & Lonesome, The Rolling Stones' cover album of electric blues songs. Now these aren't the typical blues songs that one is used to hearing on blues-rock albums; there is no "Crossroads," no "Hideaway," no "Driftin' Blues," or "You Shook Me," to name just four, on Blue and Lonesome. So unless you are a follower of blues music, most, if not all, of the twelve songs on this album will be new to you.
According to the Stones' website:
"The album was produced by Don Was and The Glimmer Twins [aka Mick Jagger and Keith Richards] and was recorded over the course of just three days in December last year  at British Grove Studios in West London, just a stone’s throw [pun intended?] from Richmond and Eel Pie Island where the Stones started out as a young blues band playing pubs and clubs. Their approach to the album was that it should be spontaneous and played live in the studio without overdubs...."
As I said, Blue and Lonesome is a cover album; all of the songs were previously written and recorded (not always by the same person in each instance) by blues greats during the 1950s and '60s, with one track dating to 1971. Here's the 12-song tracklist for the 2-LP vinyl edition:
1. Just Your Fool
2. Commit a Crime
3. Blue and Lonesome
1. All of Your Love
2. I Gotta Go
3. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
1. Ride 'Em on Down
2. Hate To See You Go
3. Hoo Doo Blues
1. Little Rain
2. Just Like I Treat You
3. I Can't Quit You Baby
My goal with this blog post is to introduce you to the original recordings (or as close to the original recordings as the internet, and YouTube, will allow) of these twelve songs, to provide you with a wee bit of a feel for the musical influences on the Stones as a band, and the Glimmer Twins in particular.
I'm not going to bore you with a lot of facts and details, so I'm linking each artist to his biography on the AllMusic website. If you want more info on the likes of Little Walter or Howlin' Wolf or Lightnin' Slim or whomever, you can simply click on their linked names to read their AllMusic entry. From the biography page you can click to their discography, read reviews, etc. Also, the tunes that I am providing below are audio files only, but each is posted as a video on YouTube simply because that's how YouTube works. The video for each entry might be just a static picture, or pictures might change throughout the length of each song -- just keep in mind that there really is no video per se associated with each of these entries. The whole point is to listen:
Side A, Track 1: "Just Your Fool" was originally written and recorded in 1960 by Little Walter:
Side A, Track 2: "Commit a Crime" was originally written and recorded in 1966 by Howlin' Wolf (real name: Chester Arthur Burnett):
Side A, Track 3: "Blue and Lonesome," the album's title track, was originally written and recorded in 1959 by Little Walter, once again:
Side B, Track 1: "All of Your Love" was originally written and recorded in 1967 by Magic Sam (real name: Samuel Maghett):
Side B, Track 2: "I Gotta Go" was originally written and recorded in 1955 by, yet again, Little Walter:
Side B, Track 3: "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" was originally recorded in 1971 by Little Johnny Taylor; the song was composed by Miles Grayson & Lermon Horton:
Side C, Track 1: "Ride 'Em on Down" was originally written and recorded in 1955 by Eddie Taylor:
Side C, Track 2: "Hate To See You Go" was originally written and recorded in 1955 by -- guess who? -- Little Walter:
Side C, Track 3: "Hoo Doo Blues" was originally recorded in 1958 by Lightnin' Slim; the song was composed by Otis Hicks & Jerry West:
Side D, Track 1: "Little Rain" was originally recorded in 1957 by Jimmy Reed; the song was composed by Ewart G. Abner Jr. & Jimmy Reed:
Side D, Track 2: "Just Like I Treat You" was originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf and written by Willie Dixon in December 1961:
Side D. Track 3: "I Can't Quit You Baby" was originally written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Otis Rush in 1956:
And while you're at it, you might want to search YouTube for "Willie Dixon," one of the true, great blues performers of this era. You might also recognize some of his other, more well known songs: "Hoochie Coochie Man," originally performed by Muddy Waters; "Evil," originally performed by Howlin' Wolf; and "My Babe," originally performed by Little Walter.
I hope you enjoy the tunes....