rolling stones fancy man blues 1989Can You Hear the Music?


Rolling Stones songs: Fancy Man Blues
*Click for 

I love to dance with my baby/ I love to while away the time…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Air Studios, Montserrat, March 29-Apr. 1989; Olympic Sound Studios, May 15-June 29 1989
Guest musicians: Chuck Leavell (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
In “Fancy Man Blues,” the narrator claims to be head over heels in love
with a women for whose smile he has fallen and with whom he loves to
while away the time. The only problem is that she seems to have another
man in her life… “Fancy Man Blues” can be seen as a further
demonstration of the Stones’ passion for the blues, a passion that had never
deserted them since their very first gigs in the clubs of London. In this
number, it is the sensual swamp blues of Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo that
they bring out, rather than the more strident Chicago blues of Muddy
Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. This recording dates from the Steel Wheels
sessions held at AIR Studios in Montserrat in spring 1989, with Chuck
Leavell on piano, playing a part apparently influenced by the late lamented
Ian Stewart. It was then chosen as the B-side of the single “Mixed
Emotions,” released the following August 17, before eventually being
included on Rarities 1971–2003.

This song demonstrates why the Stones were still at the very pinnacle of
their art even after they had been going for more than a quarter of a century.
They always sound authentic when playing the blues, and this is precisely
why they are so admired. In this case, the spontaneity of the ensemble
playing attests to the fact that “Fancy Man Blues” was recorded “live” in
the studio. Keith and Ronnie share the two guitars: one an excellent rhythm
part with a lumbering, distorted sound very much in keeping with the
characteristic style of the genre; the other playing a lead accompaniment
with a solo at 1:37—most likely Keith, even if some of its phrases sound
like Ronnie. We are reunited here with the band’s original rhythm section,
consisting of Charlie on his Gretsch kit and Bill on bass, unfortunately
somewhat recessed in the mix. Chuck Leavell plays a superb piano part,
delivering licks capable of winning over even those fans who cannot see
past Billy Preston. Mick is clearly in his best vocal form in this blues
number, but it is once again on harmonica that he takes the track to another
level, delivering two solos of dazzling phrasing and sonority (2:42 and

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