Various Artists

Stone Rock Blues

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"The original recordings of songs covered by the Rolling Stones" is understandably heavy on the blues, R&B, and early rock & roll chestnuts they gleaned from Chess Records. Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters are, unsurprisingly, the most heavily represented artists here; seven Chuck tunes, five by Muddy (one of which, "Rollin' Stone," wasn't actually recorded by The Stones, but is included because it inspired their name). This 18-song collection is filled out by a couple of Bo Diddley tracks, Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster," and three songs outside of Chess' black music axis: Dale Hawkins' rockabilly classic "Suzie Q," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" (which of course relied heavily on the Bo Diddley beat), and Arthur Alexander's early soul ballad "You Better Move On." What this collection doesn't have are the early soul classics by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, and more obscure singers like Barbara Lynn and Gene Allison that formed another vital component of their early cover material. It's missing a few stray tracks by Slim Harpo, Rufus Thomas, Hank Snow, Larry Williams, and others that were covered by The Stones on their early albums. And it doesn't have Berry's "Let It Rock," which was available (albeit briefly) on a British maxi-single in the early '70s. But Chuck, Muddy, and Bo were their greatest influences, when you get down to it, and this is a handy basic primer of the blueprints for The Stones' early repertoire, with decent liner notes.

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