This Rolling Stones Album Is Rough Around the Edges in the Best Way

Revel in these bluesy live recordings.

The Rolling Stones on a rooftop, 17th June 1964. Left to right: Brian Jones (1942 - 1969), Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts.Archive Photos/Getty

Album Review

The Rolling Stones
On Air

The Rolling Stones came full circle in 2016, returning to their blues roots with the newly recorded covers collection Blue & Lonesome, in the process producing the band’s best album in decades. Supplying the perfect prequel, the thrilling two-disc On Air revisits their early days, compiling 32 scruffy live performances from the BBC archives circa ’63-‘65. Apart from a few originals that show Mick and Keith honing their songwriting chops, including “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,†this rowdy set captures a crew of eager young’uns saluting the African-American artists who first inspired them, delivering lively takes on songs by Chuck Berry (“Roll Over Beethovenâ€), Bo Diddley (“Monaâ€), Muddy Waters (“I Can’t Be Satisfiedâ€) and Barbara Lynn (“Oh! Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)â€), among many others. While none of these versions outstrip the originals, the lads’ heartfelt enthusiasm is irresistible.