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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT ROCK, SOUL & REGGAE
This often overlooked album in the Stones' oeuvre shimmers with some good to great songs and contains a brilliant track. It kicks off with the funky Hot Stuff, followed by the passionate Hand Of Fate which is vintage Stones. Cherry O Baby is a lovely slice of reggae with intriguing organ lines and brilliant vocalizing, while the road epic Memory Motel is a moving story...
Published on 21 April 2003 by Pieter Uys

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Treading Of Water
This album is a curio. It sounds good, the production seeming a couple of notches ahead of the previous album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' (1974). But compared to that album it is song for song no worse and no better. It is not a great Stones record. 'Some Girls' (1978), the next one was...in my opinion, almost capturing the magic of 'Exile On Main Street' (1972).
So here...
Published on 16 Oct 2005 by John Heaton


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Treading Of Water, 16 Oct 2005
By 
John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This album is a curio. It sounds good, the production seeming a couple of notches ahead of the previous album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' (1974). But compared to that album it is song for song no worse and no better. It is not a great Stones record. 'Some Girls' (1978), the next one was...in my opinion, almost capturing the magic of 'Exile On Main Street' (1972).
So here is a band in a state of flux, trying to come to terms with the departure of Mick Taylor. A brave effort with a few highlights, but lacking that conviction and dare I say it arrogance, which defines their best work. But there are redeeming features for sure: Hot Stuff is a decent stab at disco which is pretty compelling. Fool To Cry is sentimental but quite moving really. Hand Of Fate is a standard Stones rocker but not bad at all. The rest of the tracks are interesting but as songs not exactly up there in the etchelons. Hey Negrita is a particularly lightweight reggae number, and Melody is an intersting mood piece heavily featuring Billy Preston but is pretty boring if we're honest. Cherry Oh Baby is a bit of a joke. Isn't it?
I quite like this album but cannot bring myself to give it four stars. Sorry. Good cover though!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT ROCK, SOUL & REGGAE, 21 April 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This often overlooked album in the Stones' oeuvre shimmers with some good to great songs and contains a brilliant track. It kicks off with the funky Hot Stuff, followed by the passionate Hand Of Fate which is vintage Stones. Cherry O Baby is a lovely slice of reggae with intriguing organ lines and brilliant vocalizing, while the road epic Memory Motel is a moving story song. Hey Negrita is a wailing bluesy number and Melody soulfully ambles along with lovely guitar, sax, piano and Mick's falsetto voice. Fool To Cry starts as a gentle ballad but gets pretty raucous eventually, while Crazy Mama is the Stones at their rocking best, a powerful conclusion to this great album. It may not be amongst the Rolling Stones' top ten albums, but Black And Blue contains some strong songs with great melodies and playing throughout and no dud tracks. Rediscovering it was a great pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stones Find A Few New Influences, 28 Sep 2006
By 
Jervis - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
'Black And Blue' is often described as the album recorded as an audition to find the Stones next guitarist but actually it turns out to be a great deal more than that.

It's an infinitely better album than its predecessor 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' as the Stones were not so much parodying their own style with insubstantial results but were prepared to move forward and inject some new influences into their sound.

The contemporary funk sounds of the mid-seventies was where their attention was focused and with 'Hot Stuff' and 'Hey Negrita' the Stones found their own way of interpreting these sounds. The songs themselves seem rather irrelevant - it's the rhythm which is of primary importance. Jagger sings in his best raw black affected vocal and the guitar playing has a vibrancy which is truly intoxicating.

Of course there is always more to a Stones album than one style of music and two of the highlights are a couple of incredibly tender ballads - 'Fool To Cry' and 'Memory Motel'. These songs are perhaps softer than typical Stones ballads in a way that makes them extremely radio friendly.

There's also songs which are more typically Stones sounding like 'Hand Of Fate' and 'Crazy Mama' and although these songs aren't amongst the Stones most disinguished they work out just fine.

'Cherry Oh Baby' comes in for a lot of stick but it's actually not a bad reggae cover and the jazzy 'Melody' must rate at one of the least typical sounding Stones songs in their entire catalogue. There's a certain Billy Preston influence here i believe and it's still pretty good.

'Black And Blue' overall is a good album, well produced and well performed (especially by the session guitarists) however it still lacks much of the focus that can be found in the Stones very best work.

A nice album nonetheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Treading Of Water!, 11 Oct 2005
By 
John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This album is a curio. It sounds good, the production seeming a couple of notches ahead of the previous album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' (1974). But compared to that album it is song for song no worse and no better. It is not a great Stones record. 'Some Girls' (1978), the next one was...in my opinion, almost capturing the magic of 'Exile On Main Street' (1972).
So here is a band in a state of flux, trying to come to terms with the departure of Mick Taylor. A brave effort with a few highlights, but lacking that conviction and dare I say it arrogance, which defines their best work. But there are redeeming features for sure: Hot Stuff is a decent stab at disco which is pretty compelling. Fool To Cry is sentimental but quite moving really. Hand Of Fate is a standard Stones rocker but not bad at all. The rest of the tracks are interesting but as songs not exactly up there in the etchelons. Hey Negrita is a particularly lightweight reggae number, and Melody is an intersting mood piece heavily featuring Billy Preston but is pretty boring if we're honest. Cherry Oh Baby is a bit of a joke. Isn't it?
I quite like this album but cannot bring myself to give it four stars. Sorry. Good cover though!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stones trying styles like hats., 11 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
Already having had their fare share of rock, country, folk, funk and soul the Stones here were auditioning for a new guitar player, a place taken by Ron Wood. Instead they ended up showcasing a wealth of diverse song material so effortlessly, that any first time listener might wonder if this is the same band. Mick tries voices like hats on the down and out funk of Hey Negrita and Cherry oh Baby ..On Memory Motel, Richards proves to be one the greatest bluesmen to have walked this planet!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That difficult 13th album!, 1 Dec 2008
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
Post-Taylor and pre-Wood this is very much the audition album and provides a snapshot of a band that is a slightly out of kilter. Only having 8 tracks makes me thinks that recording was a bit of a struggle, and the lack of Mick Taylor's technical ability and melodic beauty is definitely missed, with the Stones looking around for inspiration from their guests.
"Hot Stuff", the opener, has a great riff, which makes up for a lack of lyrical substance. "Hand Of Fate" has a classic Stones rock n'roll feel to it, as does "Crazy Mama", while "Memory Motel" is a very fine slow ballad with nice Keith vocals in the chorus. "Fool To Cry" is a bit too saccharine but actually quite un-Stonesy and interesting, although I can't listen to it too much. "Melody" is a real departure, and that's because Billy Preston wrote it - good track and I can see why Bill Wyman still plays it with his band. "Hey Negrita" is innovative but frankly not very good - and introduces both Mr Wood's guitar playing and songwriting. Finally, "Cherry Oh Baby" is a pretty corny cover version that just doesn't work. This a really a 3.5 stars album but I can't give it a 4 because it doesn't quite gel as a whole and has too few tracks. But, the title and cover picture are great!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars worth a listen, 29 April 2007
By 
Chuck E (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
Not a patch on Sticky Fingers, Exile, Let it Bleed or Beggar's Banquet in the halcyon Mick Taylor period Stones, or even Some Girls. At just eight tracks, with two absolute duffers, it could be regarded as short-changing its fan-base. Yet... it's still one of my favourite Stones albums - partly because it was the first one I bought, and when you've laid out all your hard-earned pocket money for a piece of vinyl you're going to convince yourself that it's worth the money, but also because it has such a great feel and sound, illustrating how some good production can leave a record sounding greater than the sum of its parts.

Despite being recorded in Munich rather than Montserrat, it oozes tropical heat, the Fender Rhodes piano locates it in time, and Ronnie Wood's loose style perfectly complements the Stones' mid-seventies sound (while Nicky Hopkins' piano is always good value).

Cherry Oh Baby and Crazy Mama require operation of the skip button, Hot Stuff and Hey Negrita are basically jams (with a great groove), but Hand of Fate, Memory Motel, Melody and Fool to Cry lift this album into 'worth a listen' territory.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's Only Rock 'n' Roll By Numbers, 7 May 2009
By 
Gannon (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
Black And Blue is a peculiar Stones release, nevertheless immediately identifiable from a textbook, guitar lick within the first three seconds of `Crazy Mama'. Elsewhere Black And Blue is less black and white. It houses wholesale dashes of experimentation as Mick and the boys attempt to settle with their Taylor-free line up. Jagger's drawl is a constant throughout, though arguably not as raw or strutting as elsewhere in their catalogue.

Second track `Fool To Cry' and fifth `Memory Motel' employ the organ to peculiar effect, recalling the opening credits to Twin Peaks in retrospect. The former is a slow track that pertains to being a lighter-in-the-air, gentle anthem but falls just short despite its soulful intentions. `Melody' is a jazzy, bluesy number that nods along satisfactorily, but also uneventfully.

Here the album takes its oddest turn. `Cherry Oh Baby' is a heavily ska-influenced shuffle, the organ now tuned firmly to `Trojan' and `Specials'. That it also contains some frankly daft yodelling should tell you this is one to miss. Happily, `Hand Of Fate' treads an entirely more successful rock `n' soul path, and album closer `Hot Stuff' brings the funk, though it is mightily repetitive.

Despite the scattergun approach to genres, short length and obvious misses, this is still an album that possesses a certain something in its effortless, stab-happy approach to theme. Sad then that overall, it fails to hit hard enough to give the bruises that the title promises.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars grab the "Virgin" releases now they're still available, 19 Feb 2011
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
The thing I want to stress in this review is that I advise everybody to buy the Virgin releases as long a they are available. These are the best masters the Stones albums of the seventies and later have ever had. I checked a few of these with cool-edit and these masters are using the complete dynamic range of the CD format without hitting saturation to often.

The older masters on CBS were clearly less good (although not suffering satuaration and clipping), while the new Universals are victim to the loudness war (check Wiki if you don't know what this is). I own the SE of Exile on Universal, and kept the Virgin next to it. The Universal SE is only in my collection for the bonus disc.

Star rating is for the album, not the mastering.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A favourite, 22 Jun 2014
By 
Mr. G. O' Carroll (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This album has always been a favourite of mine, in fact I rate it over 'Some Girls'. It's eclectic, with lots of different styles thrown into the mix. There is also some great guitar work on it from Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandell. I also prefer the production, which is more bass heavy, than the trebly sound of 'Girls'. It's a record of good old mid- 70's decadance, a lot of critics wrote the Stones off after 'Exile', but they still had good music in them through the rest of the seventies, maybe they lost some of the intensity of the 67- 72 period, but I still drag out some of these later records and enjoy them, they are all on old vinyl which is still in good nick.
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Black And Blue
Black And Blue by The Rolling Stones (Audio CD - 1994)
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