Even had they never created such immortal songs as "Sympathy for the Devil," "Brown Sugar," or "Tumbling Dice," the Rolling Stones still would have earned their place in rock & roll history as the world's greatest cover band. Their formative legacy rests largely on expert R&B and blues covers like "Time Is on My Side," "You Better Move On," and "Mercy Mercy," and even their name pays homage to Muddy Waters. The Harmless compilation Satisfaction: Covers & Cookies of the Stones brings it all full circle, spotlighting American soul, blues, and jazz artists interpreting a catalog shaped by their antecedents, their contemporaries, and even themselves. This 12" sampler reprises three of the disc's highlights: Assemblage's cover of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" recasts the tune as epic jazz-rock, Wilmer & the Dukes reinvent "I'm Free" as a Southern soul groove, and Merry Clayton -- who contributed remarkable backing vocals to the Stones' original version of "Gimme Shelter" -- turns in an aching, gospel-inspired rendition of the same song. All prove the Stones learned their lessons well, crafting songs on par with the black American music they emulated. These covers are authentic and respectful, just like the originals.
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