The track dates back to the 1930s when Delta blues great Bukka White penned the track under the title “Shake ‘Em on Down.” Chicago blues singer Eddie Taylor recorded the track in 1955 as “Ride ‘Em on Down”; it’s this version that inspired the Stones to cover the track.
Rolling Stone recently spoke to the band for a cover story where the Stones opened up about the sessions that produced Blue & Lonesome and their contribution to the blues.
“The thing about the blues is it changes in very small increments,” Mick Jagger said. “People reinterpret what they know – Elmore James reinterpreted Robert Johnson licks, as did Muddy Waters. So I’m not saying we’re making the jumps that they made, but we can’t help but reinterpret these songs.”
“Ride ‘Em on Down” also features a scorching harmonica solo courtesy of Jagger. “This is the best record Mick Jagger has ever made,” Keith Richards told Rolling Stone while praising the singer’s harmonica skills. “It was just watching the guy enjoying doing what he really can do better than anybody else… And also, the band ain’t too shabby.”