As the winds of change were blowing across the world of rock music in 1976, the Rolling Stones were dealing with multiple evolutionary components themselves. This marked the release of “Black and Blue” to mixed results. Notably, this was the first album without Mick Taylor in the band, and although Ronnie Wood did make some limited appearances on the album, almost all of the guitar work was handled exclusively by Keith Richards. Additionally, the Stones continued to try and grow and reshape with the times, and their sound on this album has a bit more funk, rhythm and blues, and even a straight-up reggae number.
As the band moved further and further away from the guitar-rock core of “Exile on Main Street”, I don’t find a lot on this album that really sticks with me, even after multiple listens. The one notable single release was “Fool to Cry”, which is almost a little too much Mick Jagger for me. It’s a decent song, but something about his falsetto on this song has always left me a bit sideways. I feel the same way about “Hot Stuff”, which feels like a preview of where they were headed next in their late 70s co-existence with disco and dance music. I did enjoy hearing the reggae track “Cherry Oh Baby”, and I know they were influenced greatly by the emergence of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. I consider this the most memorable moment on the album.
The rest of the record doesn’t do much for me, although once again, I appreciate the dual vocals of Mick & Keith on “Memory Motel”. This album feels more like an album they had to make, versus one they wanted to make.
One last footnote for today, I was fortunate enough to participate in a panel discussion with a real expert on rock music, legendary Denver Post music writer G. Brown. We covered a lot of topics, including the highlights and lowlights of Red Rocks Amphitheater, which adorns the cover photo of this blog. We heard some great stories about how Denver’s music scene expanded from another uninteresting stop between Kansas City and California into a can’t-miss destination for all artists crossing America. Thanks to G. Brown for all of your amazing anecdotes, and of course, thanks to my good friend Jim for being the king of downtown Denver for decades. Mutiny Information Café is where it all happens, seven days a week in Denver and Trinidad, Colorado. Check it out…