Keith Richards on going back to the blues (1968):
“Around 1966 or so, after 3 or 4 years of constantly being on the road, rocking the Rolling Stones, I took a little time off and started to listen to some blues again. On the road, none of us had had the time to listen to much beyond the Top 10: our stuff, the Beatles, and Phil Spector’s latest. All great records. But when we finally came off the road, I started listening to Blind Blake. A whole lot of blues had become available that we just couldn’t get in England back in ‘61 or ‘62…Then I started looking into some ’20s and ’30s blues records. Slowly I began to realize that a lot of them were in very strange tunings. These guys would pick up a guitar, and a lot of times it would be tuned a certain way, and that’s how they’d learn to play it. It might be some amazing sort of a mode, some strange thing. And that’s why for years you could have been trying to figure out how some guy does this lick, and then you realize that he has this one string that is supposed to be up high, and he has it turned down an octave lower. And later Ry Cooder popped in, who had the tunings down. He had the open G. By then I was working on open E and open D tunings. I was trying to figure out Fred McDowell shit, Blind Willie McTell stuff. I used open D on Beggars Banquet. Street Fighting Man is all that, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
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