Graham Reid | | 1 min read
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