Saturday, November 7, 2009

ALBUM REVIEWS: The Rolling Stones - Black and Blue (1976), Emotional Rescue (1980)

By Nathan Stallings

The Rolling Stones' quintessential jam album, Black and Blue is a departure from It's Only Rock n' Roll and Goats Head Soup in the sense that its does not revel in the decadence but merely showcases the band just, well, playing.

One could call Black and Blue the hangover from those two albums. Part of the reason for this was the departure of guitarist Mick Taylor after It's Only Rock n' Roll as the band was auditioning guitarists and because of this, there were numerous guitarists on this album. The band did eventually settle on former Jeff Back Group and faces guitarist Ron Wood, but he would be more extensively featured on the next album, Some Girls.

The album incorporates disco ("Hot Stuff"), reggae ("Cherry Oh Baby"), ballads ("Fool To Cry" and the beautiful "Memory Motel," one of their finest), hard rock ("Hand Of Fate" and "Crazy Mama"), latin music ("Hey Negrita") and tin-pan alley ("Melody"). Like Exile On Main Street, Black and Blue does not feature any massive hits ("Fool To Cry" barely cracked the Top 10) but as a whole it's a rewarding listen. The musical landscape was changing with the emergence of disco and punk, however, and the band would need to revitalize itself (not to mention that Keith Richards would need to sober up) to remain relevant. Never count out the Stones.

Emotional Rescue followed the extremely successful Some Girls and it basically follows the same formula, especially since the album consists of leftovers from the Some Girls sessions. Given this fact it is easy to assume that this album consists of filler, and while this might hold true, it is filler that is very well written and performed. The reggae-tinged mail order bride anthem "Send It To Me," the silly rockers "Summer Romance" and "Where The Boys Go," the Buck Owens-ish "Indian Girl," and the disco rock of "Dance (Pt 1)" are solid songs if not guilty pleasures.

The punky "Let Me Go" and the blues-rock of "Down In The Hole" are winners. The cold but sexy title track track and the Chuck Berry-like "She's So Cold" could be considered classics that hold their own with the rest of the band's catalog, while "All About You" is another brilliant vocal contribution by Keith Richards. Overall, Emotional Rescue is a very solid outing with barely a dull moment, not to mention a terrific way to open up a new decade for the band.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

Article Source:,-Emotional-Rescue-(1980)&id=3201858

No comments:

Post a Comment