When it comes to the Rolling Stones, you needn’t look far for evidence of the band’s love and support for the blues throughout the decades, from taking their name from a Muddy Waters song, to some of their earliest recordings of blues covers such as Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do”, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” and Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee”, to devoting their most recent, GRAMMY Award-winning studio album Blue & Lonesome entirely to interpretations of other blues classics such as “Commit a Crime”, “Hate to See You Go” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. In between, of course, came such memorable events as their insistence that Howlin’ Wolf also be able to perform when the band was invited to appear on the popular American TV show Shindig!; visiting and recording at Chicago’s Chess Records, the label that brought us music from Waters, Wolf, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Etta James, and a host of other greats; and joining Waters, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells onstage at Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge during a night off from the band’s 1981 tour of the U.S.
With Confessin’ the Blues (BMG), the Stones provide blues fans with another terrific gift, this one in the form of a 2-CD, 2-LP or 5 10-inch vinyl compilation featuring original versions of some of the genre’s greatest artists and tracks as selected by the Stones. While the Stones have probably performed or recorded most of these songs themselves at some point throughout their five and a half decades together, this compilation presents its 42 tracks as originally recorded by the likes of Waters, Wolf, Berry, Guy, Little Walter, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James and more.
Of these masters, Waters, Wolf, and Little Walter are best represented with four tracks each, including such gems as Waters’ “Rollin Stone” and “Mannish Boy”, Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” and “Just Like I Treat You” and Walter’s “Just Your Fool” and “Blue and Lonesome”. Bo Diddley accounts for another three songs (“You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” and “Mona” as well as the lesser-known “Craw Dad”), with Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Eddie Taylor and Jimmy Reed each also represented through a pair of tracks, including such numbers as “Dust My Broom”, “Love in Vain Blues”, “Ride ‘Em on Down”, “Bad Boy”, “Blues Before Sunrise”, “Little Queenie” and “Bright Lights, Big City”.