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 articles index

BO CARTER AND HIS RUDE BLUES (2015): Putting more than just his pin in your cushion

BO CARTER AND HIS RUDE BLUES (2015): Putting more than just his pin in your cushion

There are two peculiar and distinctive features about the career of bluesman Bo Carter (1893-1964). It's not that he sang rude, double-entendre songs – many blues artists did that... > Read more

Lipbone Redding: Hop the Fence (Bepop)

Lipbone Redding: Hop the Fence (Bepop)

American Redding has been an itinerant musician through Europe, the States and Asia whose music is so memorably enjoyable -- and his vocal technique of sounding like a trombone -- it would... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

GUEST SONGWRITER GREG FLEMING recalls making his new album Forget the Past

GUEST SONGWRITER GREG FLEMING recalls making his new album Forget the Past

A Sunday morning 2012. My daughter’s waiting for her poached eggs, my fiancĂ© is checking out travel deals on the net (a much promised, much delayed New Mexico holiday - making records... > Read more