Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Confessin’ the Blues
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Well, baby/ Don’t you want a man like me…

Written by: Brown/McShann
Recorded: Chess Studios, Chicago, USA, June 10-11 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The pianist and singer Jay McShann was one of the mainstays of the
musical scene in Kansas City, where a form of swing jazz developed in the
thirties that had its roots firmly in the blues tradition. His band is also
famous for numbering Charlie Parker, the inaugurator of the bebop
aesthetic, as well as tenor saxophonist Ben Webster and the singer Walter
Brown among its musicians. The latter was the archetypal blues shouter. He
recorded “Confessin’ the Blues” with Jay McShann’s band in Dallas, Texas,
on April 30, 1941, and this went on to become one of the great blues
For their recording of “Confessin’ the Blues” at Chess Studios,
the Rolling Stones took their inspiration not so much from
the original version by Jay McShann and Walter Brown, or even from
Chuck Berry’s version, as from Little Walter’s 1958 recording of the song
for the Checker label (a subsidiary of Chess). The British group have
slowed the tempo considerably, resulting in a wonderful blues number
whose impact has been augmented by the talented Ron Malo, the sound
engineer who provided the Stones with access to the sound of their idols.
The two guitars launch straight in. The sound is raucous, with Keith, on
lead, carving out weighty phrases on his Epiphone while Brian provides a
steady rhythm on his Gretsch. As well as singing, Mick also (almost
certainly) plays the harmonica, the true heart of the song, his playing
skillfully bathed in reverb by Ron Malo. This time, Stu plays an excellent
boogie-woogie piano that has perhaps been mixed down a little too much.
With this cover of “Confessin’ the Blues,” which they had been playing
since the early days, the Stones manage to get close to the sound and caliber
of all the great names that preceded them at this place. Chess was a key
stage in the group’s development, and “Confessin’ the Blues” was included
on the album 12×5, released in the United States in October 1964.

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