So, just last week, the oldest bad boys in rock, The Rolling Stones, released their 25th American studio album, a collection of cover songs called Blue & Lonesome. My understanding is that the tracks — all old blues standards of the sort that originally inspired the band when they first formed some 50 years ago — were recorded in just three days with no overdubs and no production trickery. What you hear on the record is what they played in the studio. I’m only a casual Stones fan, myself, but I think it’s a great set, raw and vital, and dripping with — if you’ll forgive the cliche — authenticity.
Along with the album comes a fun music video, which wisely does not feature the leathery faces of the septuagenarian rockers but instead focuses on the primary elements of what rock and roll is traditionally all about: sex and freedom, with an undercurrent of danger. (Also, in this case, some weird, possibly post-apocalyptic thing. You’ll see what I mean.)
Like a lot of classic blues tunes, “Ride ‘Em On Down” has been interpreted many times by many artists. The best-known version was by Eddie Taylor in 1955, but the earliest one dates to 1937, when the Delta blues guitarist Bukka White recorded it under the title “Shake ‘Em On Down.” According to Wikipedia, at least eight other versions have followed over the years, including one by the Black Crowes, and Led Zeppelin recorded two songs that had similar lyrics. And now of course, the Stones have put their spin on it.
As for the video, the girl behind the wheel is the actress Kristen Stewart from the Twilight movies, and the car is a really slick ’68 Mustang. I have no idea why the streets of LA are deserted, or why there’s some scruffy Walking Dead refugee driving a cop car in search of gas, or why there’s a random zebra roaming around… but hey, when did music videos ever make any sense?
In any event, check out Blue & Lonesome. it’s well worth a listen if you like either the Stones or the blues, or if you’re just looking for some real music…