Various Artists: Chicago Plays the Stones (Raisin' Music/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Play With Fire, by Billy Boy Arnold
 Various Artists: Chicago Plays the Stones (Raisin' Music/Southbound)

At first glance we mistook this for Chicago the band playing the Rolling Stones (and that would have been a quick goodbye) but of course it makes sense that Chicago (the city) blues musicians would pay tribute to the band which, as soon as it had a chance, went to Chess Studio in the city to meet their heroes and to record.

And their last album Blue and Lonesome tipped the hat again.

Now, let it be said that this is far from the first such tribute – Elsewhere has seven on the shelf – and that some of the players you'd like to have been here have long passed on.

But here are Billy Boy Arnold (tearing up their acoustic Play With Fire); Buddy Guy with guest vocalist and harmonica player Mick Jagger on a searing Heartbreaker; the belatedly discovered Jimmy Burns with guitarist Keith Richards on a rollicking boogie-styled Beast of Burden and with the house band for the album (The Living History Band) on Dead Flowers; Ronnie Barker Brooks on a deeply urban Chicago take on Satisfaction . . .

Singer-harmonica player Billy Branch takes on the toughest one, Sympathy for the Devil, but it simmers along and the band bring increasing intensity although Branch doesn't parallel them as he might have.

The sole woman here is Leanne Faine on a strident and archetypal Chi-Town sound on Gimme Shelter.

Some of the Stones' tributes in the past have been rather lame and even slightly misguided (world music artists on saxophonist Tim Reis' Stones World) but this actually makes sense as these Windy City players find the Chicago in these songs (the moody Miss You eases towards the Bo Diddley beat too) even on the somewhat improbable South Side take on Angie with ear-shaving slide and fronted by big belter John Primer.

Useful liner notes and available on vinyl too.

Surprisingly good . . . and a terrific band behind the singers.

For more details of the who's who go here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Blues at Elsewhere articles index

Savoy Brown: Voodoo Moon (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Savoy Brown: Voodoo Moon (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Many years ago Pete Frame would produce books of meticulously drawn family trees of rock bands. His Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tree filled two tightly written gatefold A5 pages and traced Black Sabbath... > Read more

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

From the haunting opener Spirit I Am though to the country-blues reworking of the old Civil Rights song Stayed On Freedom which closes this exceptional collection, this 57-year old, Helsinki-based... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Stockholm, Sweden: Ghosts ships back from the depths

Stockholm, Sweden: Ghosts ships back from the depths

Compared to the maiden voyage of the Vasa, the ill-fated Titanic enjoyed a pretty good first outing a century ago. At least it got in four days of plain sailing before hitting the iceberg.... > Read more

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

By consensus the idealism of the 60s was dealt two fatal blows in late '69: the first in August when the victims of Charles Manson's murderous family started turning up in flash Hollywood homes;... > Read more