Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recording at Chess Studios: Stewed And Keefed

One year after Andrew Oldham forced him to step back from the band's basic line-up, Ian Stewart joined the Rolling Stones during their first US tour (June 5-20, 1964). The tour was timed to coincide with the release of their first US album and was promotional in purpose. But the band lacked hit material, and therefore the tour wasn't a great success, although it did include a highlight, as Martin Elliott recalls:

For the previous six months, the Stones had been trying to emulate the American blues and soul sound. They had played hundreds of gigs and the BBC radio sessions had also tightened and fused their sound. It was all to culminate when they were to realize an ambition and actually record at the renowned Leonard Chess Studios, previously used by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Etta James and Chuck Berry.

In fact the Stones were one of the first white acts to be recorded at Chess. The band were in their element with engineer Ron Malo at the controls and were not over-awed by the occasion. During a two-day session (June 10-11) the band recorded some 15 tracks. Stu played piano and organ on many of those tracks, thereby underpinning his ever valuable role in the musical output of the band. The first Chicago session was to produce a number of unreleased tracks, of which "Stewed and Keefed" was one.

It's an instrumental track which features two duelling instrumentalists, bar room shuffling Ian Stewart and the lazy blues guitar of Keith Richards. Like the Mississippi the track meanders inexorably to the blues delta. "Stewed And Keefed" is undoubtedly a worthy jam track, typical of the laid-back ambience achieved at Chess.

Adapted from the following source:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.

1 comment:

  1. June 10, 1964: Chess Studios, Chicago, USA.
    The Rolling Stones: It's All Over Now (Womack-Womack) (3:28)
    The Rolling Stones: I Can't Be Satisfied (Morganfield) (3:28)
    The Rolling Stones: Stewed And Keefed (Nanker-Phelge) (4:04)
    Mick Jagger: "It's All Over Now"
    Murray The K gave us It's All Over Now, which was great because we used to think he was a cunt but he turned us on to something good. It was a great record by the Valentinos but it wasn't a hit.

    640610C 10th June: Chicago, Chess Studios. Producer: Andrew Oldham. Sound engineer: Ron Malo.
    - It's All Over Now (Womack-Womack)
    - I Can't Be Satisfied (Morganfield)
    - Stewed And Keefed (Nanker-Phelge).
    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, harm, tamb)/Brian Jones (gtr, harm, bvoc)/Keith Richards (gtr, bvoc)/Ian Stewart (p)/Bill Wyman (bass, bvoc)/Charlie Watts (dr).