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Stones Find A Few New Influences,
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.