By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones are heading back to their roots. The band announced on Thursday it will release its first studio album in over a decade in December -- covers of the American blues greats who got them into music in the first place.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts recorded "Blue & Lonesome" last December in three days at London's British Grove Studios.
That's close to where the band, which formed in 1962, began performing at local venues with American blues as a major inspiration.
"The passion for blues music ... has always been at the heart and soul of The Rolling Stones", a statement said.
"Their approach to the album was that it should be spontaneous and played live in the studio without overdubs."
The album features songs by artists whose music the Stones played in their early days, such as Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Eddie Taylor and Little Walter.
During some of their stadium concerts in the past, the Stones have put on specific blues sets, and their repertoire includes the likes of Dixon's "Little Red Rooster" and Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain".
American blues was a major influence on the British rock scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with musicians in bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac all cutting their teeth on the genre.
The Stones' last studio album was 2005's "A Bigger Bang". They have since gone on tours around the world, putting on a large, free, outdoor concert in Cuba in March.
The foursome were joined in the studio by longtime touring musician companions. Guitarist and singer Eric Clapton joined them for two of the album's 12 tracks.
"This album is manifest testament to the purity of their love for making music, and the blues is, for the Stones, the fountainhead of everything they do," album co-producer Don Was said in a statement.
The rock group teased fans this week on Twitter with a video snippet of them performing a bluesy tune in a studio. Artwork for the album cover showed a blue version of the band's tongue-and-lips logo.
The statement listed the album's tracks as "Just Your Fool", "Commit A Crime", "Blue and Lonesome", "All Of Your Love", "I Gotta Go", "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing", "Ride 'Em On Down", "Hate To See You Go", "Hoo Doo Blues", "Little Rain", "Just Like I Treat You" and "I Can't Quit You Baby". "Blue & Lonesome" will be released on Dec. 2.
(Additional reporting by Jeremy Gaunt; Editing by Toby Chopra)