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.