First (And Maybe Only) Thoughts on the Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome”

Is this merely a return to roots that they could do in their sleep? Maybe, but it’s very carefully selected, arranged and produced and most important, the Stones don’t sound bored for a moment. After all, with the exception of A Bigger Bang they’ve sounded bored by at least one or two of their new originals on every album they’ve released for decades and decades.

However — “we’re taking the blues forward and hopefully introducing them to a whole new generation of fans” — let’s not push it, Mick. I think damn near everyone who will listen to this album knows about the blues already.

Favorite revived obscurity: Howlin’ Wolf’s “Commit a Crime”

Finest remake: Little Johnny Taylor’s “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing”

Shakiest remake: Otis Rush’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby” (but maybe this is just me — I regard Rush’s original as one of the untouchable apexes of the form)

Oops, almost forgot to mention: Mick’s harp playing is mighty buffed-up from the old days. He’ll never be Little Walter, but he’s always fluent in his own way.



Album I Most Regret Not Getting Around To Reviewing This Year

Elza Soares, The Woman at the End of the World (A Mulher do Fin do Mundo) (Maisium Discos)

This was sent to me to coordinate with the Olympics in Brazil and I was captivated by it from the first spin. But I had never heard of Elza Soares before. I insist I owe it to my audience to know where something I’m touting fits into the body of the performer’s work (for all I knew, this could have been one of her duller releases). But it took me so long to get a mid-period fusion album and an early straight-Brazilian pop release that Woman at the End of the World was too long gone. And it is a marvel because at a way advanced age she has cut her most radical and avant album. Remains an important year-end story.