I’ll admit it, I was a little late to the party in becoming a Stones fan, but when I started listening to the legendary band, I couldn’t get enough. Although, I preferred their 1970s catalog, I did a bit of digging and discovered some of their early work wasn’t half bad. Unlike the Beatles who were influenced by 1950s Rock and Roll, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the late Brian Jones were enamored with early blues from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy, and even Robert Johnson.
So was the case of The Rolling Stones, Now!. The third release from these bad boys, it was easy to spot their influences as they riffled through some numbers from some of their heroes. The disc opens with the Solomon Burke classic “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” The tastefully recorded song features some killer guitar work and a bouncing beat before slowing things down on the obscure Alvin “Shine” Robinson tune “Down Home Girl.” The guitar-heavy “You Can’t Catch Me” was a Chuck Berry hit from the 1956 movie Rock, Rock, Rock. They finally showcase their writing abilities on “Heart of Stone” and the bluesy “What a Shame” before jumping back into the covers with the Bo Diddley classic “Mona (I Need You Baby),” which featured the Diddley classic beat.
The Stones clearly did their homework as they dug up obscure blues tunes for the recording. “Down the Road Apiece” was a boogie woogie blues number which was originally done by the Will Bradley Trio in 1940. The boys give the song a rock heavy makeover, including tasty riffs and a pounding beat. They once again prove that they aren’t a cover band with the (sounds like a cover) “Off the Hook.” They wink at Otis Redding with a rendition of “Pain in My Heart,” which stays close to the original. “Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)” was another Jagger/Richards original that has an intoxicating beat and tight guitar action. They followed up with the Howlin’ Wolf classic “Little Red Rooster,” which oozes sexuality. They leave on a high note with the original “Surprise, Surprise,” which jumps off the record as the Stones give it all they got.