The Devils behind Jagger’s ‘great lost album’

The greatest music never sold. The greatest album you’ll never hear. The greatest band you’ve never heard.

Add “The Great Lost Jagger Album” to the retellings of The Red Devils’ ill-fated 1992 blues recordings with Mick Jagger.

That’s the story inside the special Jagger “collector’s edition” of Rolling Stone magazine, out on U.S. newsstands this month in honor of the head Stone’s 75th birthday.

Though the two-page story by Andy Greene doesn’t trod any new ground — Paul Size didn’t know who Jagger was; Jonny Ray Bartel thought the band would be replaced by session musicians; Jerry Hall might have been there, but definitely smelled good — the story is unique within the magazine itself: It seems to be the only fresh material in the collectors’ special.

The handful of articles are basically reprints of Jagger interviews with Rolling Stone over the years. Fresh interviews with Size, Jonny Ray and Dave Lee Bartel and Rob Rio make them the only new primary sources in the 98-page glossy. (Though producer Rick Rubin is quoted, it is unclear if it was new for this magazine.)

How fresh? The magazine was still looking for the copyright on the famous Devils/Jagger Borderline photo as late as the beginning of May!

Jagger, for his part, always has high praise for The Red Devils in any of these stories, in any era. In a feature called “Jagger on Jagger,” where he talks about his “eight best solo tracks,” Mick singles out “Checkin’ Up on My Baby” from the Devils sessions (eventually released officially on 2007’s “The Very Best of Mick Jagger”):

“… the Red Devils used to play in this club in L.A. on Monday nights. And I found it interesting because it was really small and they sounded really good — if you closed your eyes, you could be in Chicago in 1958 or something. … It was good fun, like being back in 1963 and singing blues on Tuesday night.”

Find “Mick Jagger: The Ultimate Guide to His Music and Legend” from Rolling Stone on the finest newsstands.

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