“The Stones recorded Black and Blue while auditioning Mick Taylor’s replacement” (Erlewine). “Aided by Ronnie Wood’s enrollment as foil to Keith's unmistakable guitar, Black and Blue assured, to those who dared doubt, a new era had begun” (CdUniverse.com). Consequently, “as the Stones work Wood into their fabric” (Erlewine), “it’s unfair to criticize it…for being longer on grooves and jams than songs, especially since that's what's good about it” (Erlewine).
“Flavoring their existing rhythm-and-blues format with Caribbean beats and cocktail-swilling pianos, Black and Blue's strongest moments are in the band's obvious enjoyment. Catering to Mick’s lounge-act instincts, Melody seems the obvious precursor to ‘Miss You,’ allowing Billy Preston’s piano and vocal harmony to carry the Stones with a more stylized, less formulaic batch of songs” (CdUniverse.com).
“The two songs that are undeniable highlights are Memory Motel and Fool to Cry, the album's two ballads and, therefore, the two that had to be written and arranged, not knocked out in the studio; they're also the ones that don't quite make as much sense, though they still work in the context of the record” (Erlewine).
“Apart from Hand of Fate and Crazy Mama, there’s little straight-ahead rock & roll here. They play with reggae extensively, funk and disco less so, making both sound like integral parts of the Stones’ lifeblood. Apart from the ballads, there might not be many memorable tunes, but there are times that you listen to the Stones just to hear them play, and this is one of them” (Erlewine).
“Black and Blue was the resting period which allowed the band to release a followup album with the punch of Some Girls. The casualness of the album’s material served as perfect contrast to the Motown-esque stylings of It’s Only Rock and Roll and allowed the band to save their energy for another decade of releases” (CdUniverse.com).