Friday, April 1, 2011

Stones Reunite (Really!) on Ian Stewart Tribute Album

There aren’t many Stones purists pure enough to carp that The Rolling Stones ceased to be when Bill Wyman quit the band in 1992 (as opposed to Who freaks who generally agree that band disintegrated when Keith Moon died). Darryl Jones has done a perfectly fine job of filling Bill’s blue suedes since Voodoo Lounge, but it is still heartening to see the wayward Stone has rolled home for a one-off recording with his former band. The occasion is one dear to the hearts of those with hearts of stone: a tribute to Ian Stewart, the original sixth Stone they booted before recording their first album because manager Andrew Loog Oldham thought he looked too square and felt six names were too many for teenyboppers to remember. Stewart begrudgingly accepted a job as the band’s road manager and still sat behind the piano to boogie woogie during recording sessions—as long as the boys were keeping it bluesy and didn’t play any of those nasty minor chords Stu so reviled.

Ian Stewart died of a heart attack in 1985, so fans might think some sort of tribute is long overdue. Eagle Records will set Stu-heads at ease on April 19th when it releases Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart (the title references a well-liked jam between Stewart and Led Zeppelin). Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wood, and Wyman recorded a version of Bob Dylan’s “Watchin’ the River Flow” for the record. What that song has to do with Ian Stewart is anyone’s guess. Maybe he liked it?

The album was assembled in collaboration between engineer Glyn Johns , who often worked with The Stones, and pianist Ben Waters, who played with Stu in his band Rocket 88. The disc will also include other contributions by Richards, Watts, and Wood, as well as the fabulous PJ Harvey, who recorded Ray Charles’s “Lonely Avenue” for the project (and whose Let England Shake is this year’s album to beat). Rocket 88 and Stu, himself, close the disc with a cover of Sam Cook’s “Bring It on Home” recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Preorder Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart at Amazon.com here.
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