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Chicago Blues

TBT – The Rolling Stones and Unreleased Chess Gold

December 25
20:26 2014

2120south front cvr image

Editor’s Note: This week Throwback Thursday looks at the unreleased Rolling Stones album, 2120 South Michigan Avenue .

It’s almost scary to think that the Rolling Stones have been presenting us with their musical gifts for over 50 years now. Yes, that’s correct, 50 years. To be sure, there have been some less than stellar efforts along the way, but for a band that has been inspiring and exciting three generations of fans, they have been remarkable. In some ways, they are better now than they have ever been. Experience, and certainly age, have given them a new perspective on music, which encourages growth.

There are those who would argue that these days, the band is “over the hill.” They are more laid back, and taking things a bit slower. On the other hand, they are in their late sixties, and early seventies, and have nothing left to prove. On his worst day, Keith Richards is still one of the best rhythm guitarists out there, and he is not too shabby on leads either. The “weaving” runs that he and Ron Woods execute are every bit of amazing as they have ever been. Mick Jagger’s “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” show in February, 2012, left no doubt that even at 68, he was still an “Energizer Bunny.”

What brought the group together initially was their love of blues music. Brian Jones was the one that had introduced Keith Richards to the wonder of Robert Johnson. Mick and Keith just could not get enough of any blues, but they were especially enamored of the great Chicago blues masters. Of course there was Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon, but then too, there was Chuck Berry, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells. The band played a huge part in bringing the music of the great blues artists of American to the youth of Britain in the mid-sixties. They were also pivotal in many of these blues masters visiting, performing, and recording in Europe as time went on.

In 1964, and 1965, the Stones went into the mythic Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan in Chicago and laid down some amazing tracks of their own. Some were versions of their idol’s songs, and some were their own. They did a phenomenal job too. The sound is definitely “Stones,” but still retains the spontaneity, enthusiasm, semi-live sound of Chicago recordings we all know and love. Five of these tracks were released on the DECCA recording, Five By Five in 1964.

Standout tracks here include “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” with some interesting guitar work from Brian Jones, and the obviously Chuck Berry influenced “Stewed and Keefed.” Another incredibly good turn is an obviously Chuck Berry infused Don Raye composition, “Down The Road A Piece.” The Tommy Tucker composition “H-Heel Sneakers” is lovingly caressed, as is a spirited version of “Reelin and Rockin’.” The one thing that doesn’t belong is a strange version of “Satisfaction.” Other than this, the album is is beautiful.

The sad part is that this album has never been issued. What a shame too, because it is a truly enjoyable adventure throughout. Maybe it will be issued someday. One can only hope so. You can currently get an earful here.

Happy Hunting.

About Author

Barry Kerzner

Barry Kerzner

For as long as I can remember I have loved music, especially Blues & Jazz. Now I write and share that love of music with others. To see my photoart, visit

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