Blue and Lonesome, the 2016 album of Rolling Stones blues covers, reminded everyone of the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band's true musical beginnings , despite the many sea changes the band has endured. Those roots have remained a reassuring constant, though it's difficult to imagine any era when the bulk of the Stones' repertoire weren't Jagger-Richards originals. That's precisely the era covered by The Rolling Stones On Air. Of the 32 tracks on the 2-CD deluxe version, compiled from various 1963-65 BBC radio performances, many of them bootlegged over the past few decades. This marks their first official release.
The announcement the Rolling Stones are recording a new album is, in itself, nothing new. But they've made a big point of noting that this new album takes them back over 50 years to their blues days, before the groundswell of original Jagger-Richards songs began. It sounds like they're coming full circle.
Everyone who knows the Rolling Stones' heritage and musical roots know they took their name from a Muddy Waters song and that Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards became fans of American blues and R&B when they were teenagers. They scarfed up all the Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf records (to name just a few of the acts they loved) they could find and copied them closely. By the time they started working together, they already had the seeds of their sound.