Friday 8/20/21 1am ET: Feature LP: Rolling Stones – Black and Blue (1976)

Black and Blue is the 13th British and 15th American studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released on April 23, 1976 by Rolling Stones Records.

This album was the first recorded after former guitarist Mick Taylor quit in December 1974. As he had done the previous time the Stones were between second guitarists in 1968, Keith Richards recorded the bulk of the guitar parts himself, though the album recording sessions also served as an audition for Taylor’s replacement. Richards said of the album that it was used for “rehearsing guitar players, that’s what that one was about.” Numerous guitarists showed up to auditions; those who appeared on the album were Wayne Perkins, Harvey Mandel, and Ronnie Wood. Wood had previously contributed to the title track from the It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album, and became a full-time touring member of the Stones in 1975 and official member in 1990. The Stones rhythm section of bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts appear on nearly all tracks, and frequent collaborators Nicky Hopkins and Billy Preston play keyboards on most of the album, with percussionist Ollie E. Brown also appearing on about half of the tracks. The album was the second to be self-produced, credited to “The Glimmer Twins”, a pseudonym used by Jagger and Richards for their roles as producers.

Black and Blue showed the band blending its traditional rock and roll style with heavy influences from reggae and funk music. Only one single from the album, “Fool to Cry”, had any significant chart success, and reception to the album was mixed. The album received a few positive reviews at the time of release, though many reviewers found it mostly forgettable, and tended to rank it very low compared to prior Stones releases. Retrospective reviews from more recent publications such as AllMusic have been kinder to the album, with critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine stating that the album’s “being longer on grooves and jams than songs” ended up being “what’s good about it”.

  1. “Hot Stuff” 5:20
  2. “Hand of Fate” 4:28
  3. “Cherry Oh Baby” 3:57
  4. “Memory Motel” 7:07
  5. “Hey Negrita” 4:59
  6. “Melody” 5:47
  7. “Fool to Cry” 5:03
  8. “Crazy Mama” 4:34

Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (1, 3, 4), percussion (1), piano (4), electric piano (7), electric guitar (8)
Keith Richards – electric guitar (all but 4), backing vocals (1-5, 8), electric piano (4), bass guitar (8), piano (8), co-lead vocals (4)
Bill Wyman – bass guitar (all but 8), percussion (1)
Charlie Watts – drums (all tracks), percussion (1)
Billy Preston – piano (1, 2, 5, 6, 8), organ (5, 6), piano, electric piano, synthesizer (4), percussion (6), backing vocals (1, 4, 5, 6)
Nicky Hopkins – piano (7), synthesizer (7), organ (3)
Harvey Mandel – electric guitar (1, 4)
Wayne Perkins – electric guitar (2, 7), acoustic guitar (4)
Ronnie Wood – electric guitar (3, 5, 8), backing vocals (1, 2, 4, 5, 8),
Ollie E. Brown – percussion (1-3, 5, 8)
Ian Stewart – percussion (1)
Arif Mardin – horn arrangement (6)