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Music

The Rolling Stones unearth the Chicago blues sound

The blues was a formative influence not only for groups like the Rolling Stones but for rock and roll altogether. Here are the artists being covered on the Stones' new album.

An group of English rock septuagenarians playing the blues: Does that fit? Does it ever! The strict rhythmic and harmonic structures and sheer emotionality of the genre were not only the wellspring from which jazz flowed forth, but also rock and roll - and the Stones even performed together with some of their blues idols.

Developing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries out of the songs that slave laborers once sang in the fields to make their work more endurable, the blues was once the domain of African-American musicians, but has meanwhile spread far beyond. The feelings in the music range from sad to exuberant.

In the late 1940s and early 50s, a new blues style with electric guitars and amplification emerged mainly in Chicago. Many blues musicians like Samuel Gene Maghett (1937-1969), alias Magic Sam, and Eddie Taylor (1923-1985) left the southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas behind and went to Chicago to shape the scene.

Some died young, like blues guitarist and singer Magic Sam, claimed by a heart attack at age 32. Others were long productive, like Eddie Taylor - and this artist probably sold even more records after his death than during his lifetime. Taylor, the versatile guitarist, singer, band leader and accompanist, was a formative influence on the Chicago blues style. In his youth, he taught the guitar both to himself and to his friend Jimmy Reed - and long remained in the shadow of Reed and others until he finally landed a hit in 1972: "I Feel So Bad."

Click through the gallery above for more on the other artists being covered by The Rolling Stones.

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