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
Polydor

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 Beethoven”), Bo Diddley (“Mona”), Muddy Waters (“I Can’t Be Satisfied”) and Barbara Lynn (“Oh! Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)”), among many others. While none of these versions outstrip the originals, the lads’ heartfelt enthusiasm is irresistible.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.