December 6-15, 1974: Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany
January 22-February 9, 1975: Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Rotterdam, Netherlands
March 25-April 4, 1975: Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany
October 19-30, 1975: Mountain Recording Studios, Montreux, Switzerland
January 18-February 1976: Atlantic Studios, New York City, USA
Chief engineers: Keith Harwood & Glyn Johns
Released: April 1976
Original label: Rolling Stones Records (on WEA)
Contributing musicians: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Nicky Hopkins, Ron Wood, Harvey Mandel, Wayne Perkins, Ian Stewart, Billy Preston, Ollie Brown, Arif Mardin (arranger).
Hand of Fate
Cherry Oh Baby
Fool to Cry
Because it's Black and it's blue... Well, black and blue... It's a play on Blonde On Blonde. Blue for the blues - the blues have always been part of our music. Mmmm... it's as good a title as any other, isn't it? They could have called it Cowbell for all I care. It was good because we thought of this cover picture: the sky... and the night... black night, blue sky...
I hope that the next record we do will be as good if not better than (It's Only Rock 'N Roll).Mick and I are writing songs for it now. It should be mixed and done and ready to come out at the start of the roadwork.
Usually the problem is that by the time you do the next album, you don't want to have old tracks on it, but we might have one or two things left over that we really like. We did do Drift Away - that's still around, but it really will depend on what we have left when it comes time to put the next album together, you know? I mean it's there in the can, and if we looked around and saw that we needed an oldie, or another track - then we might use it.
We started the record in Germany the night before Mick Taylor left the band. The five of us, as it turned out to be, getting back together as the original crew (Glyn Johns first worked with the Stones in January 1963) on our own with Nicky Hopkins, and Stu. And it was FANTASTIC, because it was just like the old days but without Brian. We cut 11 tracks in - I think we were there for just under 2 weeks. We overdubbed on a lot of them. Cause they got on quicker than they'd ever been before. We had a GREAT time. The material was pretty good. We broke for Christmas or whatever and then they said they wanted to go and work in Rotterdam. We turned up for that batch of sessions and that was when they started rehearsing people, auditioning people. I actually recommended Wayne Perkins.
They were proper auditions, but we auditioned people in our own odd way - get them in a room and just see how it goes. But out of those audtiions we did get some interesting sessions. I don't know if the stuff with Jeff Beck was recorded, but I remember an amazing session in Holland, with him playing on Slave.
The whole environment in this place in Holland was not really right and extremely inconvenient. I was parked in the street. They were on the third floor of this building. Every time I wanted to go and adjust a mike, I had to walk up four flights of stairs and down ten corridors. In the end, there was a misunderstanding between Keith and I which caused an argument from me. I lost my rag, and supposed it was years and years of nonsense that had built up... I said my piece and told the Rolling Stones they could go fuck themselves. That was the end of that... I've never listened to the record. I'm sure they fucked it up.
Well it was up in the air, not between anybody, it was just up in the air generally. As much as we liked Wayne (Perkins) and - I mean, Jeff Beck was - I mean, they were ALL there (laughs)... (jokes) Segovia tried (laughs)... we didn't - Black And Blue is sort of like a record of that... Almost, except that it's mostly Wayne and Harvey (Mandel) apart from myself, and a bit of Ronnie.
(Jeff Beck) came and went, saying he didn't want to have to play 12-bar blues all the time... (Rory Gallagher) played with us for three days and nights. A nice guy, but he didn't fit the mould... (Wayne Perkins) did very, very well but didn't look like a Stone... (Harvey Mandel) used too many electronic effects, which wasn't really Stonesy. He wasn't right at all. He was into his own thing.
I got railroaded into the sessions in Munich. When I checked in at the hotel, Jeff Beck was there, so was Harvey and Wayne. But I never once thought I wouldn't get the gig. I didn't even know I was auditioning! It was just, I gotta be at the studio at two. Once I got there, I said, Right, I'm here, let's go, and Charlie said, Look at him, he's bossing us about already.
(I had) to be in control of the band. With guitar players coming and going, I had to stop them from being jams and just put my foot down. That's probably what pushed me to not do what everyone else was doing. Same as Ollie Brown has probably pushed Charlie harder, feeding Charlie ideas all the time. Charlie playing more solidly give some more room. I can forget a bit of the really basic shit. Now I know if I try something completely different it won't all fall to pieces anymore.
(Mick Taylor) was really an odd man out. There was no way he could feel part of the whole thing as much as the rest of us. Black And Blue was more of a band effort.
The reggae influence on the songs on Black And Blue came primarily from Keith... Mick was certainly into reggae. I had all those (reggae) records in France with me when we movd there and when we were recording tracks for Exile On Main Street at Keith's house. Mick used to have them as well. I'd play him Cherry Oh Baby or he'd play one to me. And The Harder They Come was an album Keith listened to a lot.
We don't have a new album ready because we had to rehearse and get ready for this tour and find a new guitarist. we have done a lot - about twenty tracks in Munich - but they're not finished or mixed. We'll do that after the tour.
We had five more recorded that we just couldn't fit on there. Let me see. Worried about You and I Love Ladies were a couple of them. We always have four or five left over. And you tend to just leave them, you know. The album now to me is rather like an old hearthrug, it's so familiar.
What's strange about it? Really? You mean not
nice? They won't like it? They didn't like Exile when it came out.
It was too long. But this is different. You can't compare it with Exile,
because that was a double album. I mean it takes a long time to get into
a double album... (I)t's nothing like Exile at all... Well, there's
two (rockers) on there, that's enough, isn't it? How many of them do you
bloody want on it? There's only eight on there. Then there's a ballad,
right, and then there's a bit of sort of humour, owhh yes....
There are two things to be said about the new Stones album before closing time: one is that they are still perfectly in tune with the times (ahead sometimes, trendies) and the other is the heat's off, because it's all over, they really don't matter anymore or stand for anything, which is certainly lucky for both them and us. I mean, it was a heavy weight to carry for all concerned. This is the first MEANINGLESS Stones album, and thank God... I don't even hate Black and Blue like the new Led Zep, which admittedly is unworthy of hatred from anybody except a true patriot who expected more than what you knew you were going to get - what you get here is sweet flow Muzak dentist office conversation piece bright eyes shining in the face of nothing at all which they will not even confront and more power to 'em... So thank you for not aspiring: you are an inspiration to the blank generation whole.
More blatantly imitative of black-music rhythms and styles than any Stones album since December's Children, and also less original (if more humorous) in the transformation, this nevertheless takes genuine risks and suggests a way out of their groove. Lots of good stuff, but the key is Hot Stuff, pure Ohio-Players-go-to-Kingston and very fine shit, and the high point Fool to Cry, their best track in four years. Diagnosis: not dead by a long shot. A-
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