Heard as a love letter to the old-school Chicago blues and the stellar African-American bluesmen who first inspired Brian Jones and his coterie of scruffy, young musicians way back in 1962 to form the little British R&B band that could, the 12 cover songs on Blue & Lonesome seem highly appropriate now that the Stones themselves have arrived at the point of being elder statesmen of the blues. Recording over three days, the band pulled out all the stops on this disc and let it rip. They kick ass on Eddie Taylor’s “Ride ’Em On Down,” while guest guitar god Eric Clapton kills it on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” The band also scores with the Otis Hicks and Jerry West composition “Hoo Doo Blues,” originally recorded by Lightnin’ Slim. There isn’t a bad track on the album, as Mick Jagger’s voice sounds supple and the band brings it consistently. This is the strongest Stones release since 1981’s Tattoo You and actually harks back to — arguably — the Stones’ finest album, Exile on Main St., in that it celebrates the rich legacy of America’s most enduring home-brewed music.