Confessin’ The Blues Compilation – Curated by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have long been supporters of the Blues from before the start of their career right through to their latest album, Blue & Lonesome which featured their interpretations of the classics, many of which appear in their original versions here on Confessin’ The Blues.

Mick Jagger was an early fan of the Blues: “The first Muddy Waters album that was really popular was Muddy Waters at Newport, which was the first album I ever bought”.

Confessin’ The Blues collects together the greatest bluesmen ever and provides a perfect education to the genre. The tracklisting on the various formats have been chosen by The Rolling Stones, in collaboration with BMG and Universal and will be released on BMG on November 9.

“If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.” – Keith Richards

The band has decided that 10% of BMG’s net receipts* from the sale of this album will be donated to Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation (A registered  US 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization).

‘Confessin’ the Blues’ cover art by Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood says: “That’s how Mick and Keith first got close as well, on the train coming back from college. They noticed each other’s record collection and it was, “Hey, you’ve got Muddy Waters. You must be a good guy, let’s form a band”.

Confessin’ the Blues is available to pre-order in several formats, including a two-CD set, a double LP vinyl set, and a special vinyl book pack meant to mimic the original packaging of 78 rpm records. All versions will come with liner notes from music journalist Colin Larkin, while the book pack will feature removable card prints featuring drawings by blues illustrator Christoph Mueller.


The Rolling Stones Steamrolling Ahead

The Rolling Stones continue to steam roll ahead with their 50th Anniversary concerts. Last night they played the first of four NY area concerts (this includes the recently announced appearance at the 12.12.12 Superstorm Sandy Benefit) at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Rolling STones

The Stones marketing machine is operating at fever pitch. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will make their first appearance on the David Letterman Show to announce the Top 10 List.

Tickets have been next to impossible to get so we have decided to watch the Pay Per View show on Saturday December 15th.

I especially like this concert footage from the 2003 tour in Twickenham, England.

Live at the Checkerboard Lounge

I was awakened at 2 a.m. this morning to an intimate blues get together broadcast on PBS Channel 13. The show starred Muddy Waters at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge on the South Side of Chicago. The show was filmed on November 22, 1981 (31 years ago). The Rolling Stones had stopped by to gig and see their friend and hero Muddy Waters.

They are accompanied onstage by such blues luminaries as Junior Wells on vocals and harp, Buddy Guy and Lefty Dizz on blues guitar. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were like three sons returning home to see their Father at Thanksgiving time. Muddy seemed really happy to have his children by his side.

The club was very small. I watched in amazement as Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood climbed on top of the tables and took the stage. Muddy Waters was in great form performing many of his blues classics. Mick Jagger sang along with total reverence for Muddy and his infamous blues songs.


The highlight for me was “Champagne and Reefer”. I love the scene where Muddy Waters is handed a marijuana stalk with fresh green buds. He just laughs as we all do at that point 😉

Gimme champagne when I get thirsty

Gimme a reefer when I want to get high

I must get this CD/DVD set. I so love and miss Muddy Waters :). I am so thankful this historic occasion is captured on film for us to relive and enjoy.

The Rolling Stones Go Digital

The Rolling Stones introduced two new digital content solutions, fresh on the heels of GRRR! the most definitive Rolling Stones Greatest Hits collection ever 😉

1) Rolling Stones Official App 


iPhone Screenshot 1

The first ever official Rolling Stones app is now available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It’s free to download and there’s get exclusive content, first access to breaking news about the band, as well as the chance to win tickets to the upcoming gigs.

You can also unlock access to never-before seen interviews, gig performances and much more – only available in the app

Best Concert I’ve Ever Been To…


I was recently asked, “What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?”. I have been debating that question within for the past few days.

I have attended 381+ concerts in 43 years. I am still fact checking that number 😉 because it’s probably been even more shows than that. It’s a tough question because I have seen some great concerts and musicians over the decades, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Santana, U2, Metallica (the last two listed in the same night…) to just name a few.

I have to say the best concert I’ve ever been to was The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden on June 25th, 1975.

There is an electricity, an excitement that the Stones create that is unequaled by any other band. They exceed the claim they are the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”. I am sure some might argue with that title . I’m open to hearing your opinion but only if you have seen the Rolling Stones will I entertain that discussion.

There are several reasons why the Stones in ’75 was the best concert I’ve ever been to see. The first was the adventure we had that night. I bought the tickets for this event by standing in line at Ticketmaster. The show sold out in record time and I got nose bleed seats at the Garden. By the time the night was over we were on the floor of MSG. We had so much fun eluding the ushers and finding unoccupied seats on various levels of the Garden. Each time we moved down a level the music and crowd intensified for us.

The second reason was how good The Rolling Stones were collectively. The stage started as a star folded up like an unblossomed flower. Keith Richards rang out the licks of Honky Tonk Women as he pushed the star edge down to reach the fans. He sounded sharp, brilliant as he played his guitar in a low slung fashion.

Mick Jagger was the rooster on acid, prancing about in his full body white sequinned costume. He implored us to love him and we did with every word he sang for us. Jagger put on quite the show, at one point he was added to a trapeze and flew out over the audience at us. Another time he rode an inflated dragon that spat confetti at us.

Ron Wood and Keith Richards jousted with their axes and played tasty, competitive riffs.

Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts held down the rhythm section. I was very impressed with Charlie’s drumming skills. He played that drop down beat on “Gimme Shelter” with all his strength.

It was a real coup to get tickets to see them that year. The luck of the draw for seats was the fact that they played the Garden six nights straight, which increased chances for a seat. I think its going to be next to impossible to see their 50th Reunion Tour, but we’ll certainly try to get to one of their concerts.

Watch this video clip of the forthcoming Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane and tell me you don’t feel the charisma they generate 😉


Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

I was recently asked what is my favorite Rolling Stones album and why I feel that way. My answer to that question is the Rolling Stone’s 1968 recording Beggars BanquetYou can smell the street and the factories in their music.

I was raised below the poverty line. I grew up in a city housing project in a rough urban setting. My parents were factory workers. My first job was in a factory. I identified with the life that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote about in the songs on Beggars Banquet.

Beggars Banquet was the last studio recording with the original lineup of the Rolling Stones. It makes me sad when I think of the waning days of Brian Jones and what was be falling him. Internal destruction and alienation by your peers is disheartening.

The year 1968 was full of revolution and change. We saw the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the My Lai massacre and the 1968 choice of Richard Nixon for President(shudders). Beggars Banquet reached our shores on December 6, 1968. I purchased it the first day it was available at my local downtown record store.

I was a devoted reader of Rolling Stone Magazine in those days when it was a newspaper periodical. I read it cover to cover. I recall the Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet album review by Jon Landau. It readied me to seek out the album in the stores. I was enraptured when I first played it on my hi-fi set in my bedroom. I played Beggars Banquet to death in 68-69. I brought it to high school and played it in my art class many days while I painted and drew.


What I love best about Beggars Banquet is the raw acoustic blues, Brain Jones slide guitar expertise on “No Expectations”, Mick Jagger’s slurring, sultry vocals and the piano playing by Nicky Hopkins (the 6th Stone). Nicky Hopkins strident piano is the silver thread that sews the tracks together. He accents my favorite individual track on Beggars Banquet, “Stray Cat Blues” with his classic incendiary fire that draws you in until the very last note.

The Rolling Stones filmed The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus as an effort to promote Beggars Banquet. Too bad it got shelved until 1996 because it’s a marvel to witness.

There was a controversy, well when weren’t the bad boys of rock and roll controversial for that matter, with the album cover. The Rolling Stones wanted a cover that depicted lavatory graffiti on the wall and a dirty toilet. London Records refused their request at the time. Sixteen years later  in 1984, the original cover art was released with the initial CD remastering of Beggars Banquet.

Mick Jagger, SNL


I stayed up last night to watch the season ending SNL with Mick Jagger as the host. He did an admirable job in that role. I especially liked his self-parody at the karaoke bar. His poignant rendition of “Satisfaction” closed out that bit with flair.

My other favorite sketch was The Californians which is a hysterical bit about the California fixation with driving  directions intermixed with soap opera drama. Jagger as the Dad was very funny, especially with those over sized glasses and the posing in the mirror scenes.

The musical highlight for me was Mick Jagger performing with The Foo Fighters (who just three hours earlier were playing the Bamboozle Festival in Asbury Park, NJ.). They performed “19th Nervous Breakdown” which segued into “It’s Only Rock n Roll(And I Like It)”. This is the point of the night that Mick Jagger truly hit his stride  The transition to “It’s Only Rock N Roll” was awesome. Jagger then sang and moved as only he can in an amazing combined way. He was so “on” I was totally mesmerized.

Mick Jagger also performed with Arcade Fire and Jeff Beck, which were good song segments but nothing was as powerful and captivating as The Foo Fighters live segment.

The send off for Kristen Wiig was very touching and emotional.

Love In Vain – Robert Johnson

Cover of "Let It Bleed"

I’ve been listening to Let It Bleed extensively this week. The recording is several decades old but holds up amazingly well.

The recording I am drawn to the most on Let It Bleed is the blues classic by Robert Johnson, “Love In Vain”. A haunting song about a love that is just out of reach.

“We changed the arrangement quite a lot from Robert Johnson’s. We put in extra chords that aren’t there on the Robert Johnson version. Made it more country. And that’s another strange song, because it’s very poignant. Robert Johnson was a wonderful lyric writer, and his songs are quite often about love, but they’re desolate.” – Mick Jagger, 1995

The Rolling Stones have always honored the blues since their very early days as teenagers. Mick Jagger spoke about his dedication and love of the blues at the “In Performance at the White House” last week.

Jagger told the audience about loving the blues from an early age, when he often saw Sonny Boy Williamson perform in England. The harmonica player, he said, took note of the blues-loving young bands like the Rolling Stones: “Those English boys, they want to play the blues real bad,” he said. “And they do – real bad.”

Real Time White House Celebration of the Blues, Tune In On the Web Via Facebook

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, as well as Mick Jagger, BB King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr. and many more artists will perform at the White House TONIGHT as part of a celebration of Blues music. Click the link below at 7:20pm EST for live streaming video of the concert at the White House.
You can also participate in real time collaboration with the White House, these great blues artists and fans all over the world on Facebook here.
This historic blues concert will be part of the “In Performance at the White House” series that airs on PBS. Tonight’s event is designed to recognize Black History Month and will be broadcast on Feb. 27 on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network.