Category: Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story

ARTIST: Rod Stewart                                            220px-EveryPictureTellsaStory

TITLE: Every Picture Tells a Story

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Reason to Believe (#62 US, #1 UK), Maggie May (#1 US), (I Know) I’m Losing You (324 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mandolin Wind

LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Martell Brandy, Sam Mitchell, Martin Quittenton, Pete Sears, Micky Waller, Danny Thompson, Andy Pyle, Lindsay Jackson. The Faces were on (I Know) I’m Losing You, and Long John Baldry and Maggie Wood sang on the title track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Stewart’s solo career hits its apex, musically.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is peak Rod Stewart. His raspy voice was well suited for all of the material. He and Faces running mate Ronnie Wood and his ‘second band’ of studio musicians constructed great arrangements and showcased their versatility and musicianship. It’s mostly an acoustic album, with just enough electricity to add to the various classical guitars, pedal steels, and mandolins.

The impressive note is that Stewart covered songs by Dylan, Tim Hardin, and Elvis and wrote songs to their equal. “Maggie May” has been played to death, but in this context, with the Martin Quittenton intro, and right next to “Mandolin Wind” in the running order, it sounds fresh and of a piece with the album.

Stewart would really never reach this artistic level again, succumbing to the ease of ready-made fame. This one is for everyone, critics and fans.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The opening to “Maggie May” is officially “Henry” written by Martin Quittenton.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A+: Even the most obscure cut (“Seems Like a Long Time”) is a winner

Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley

ARTIST: Rod Stewart              220px-rodstewartgasolinealley

TITLE:  Gasoline Alley

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #27 US, #62 UK

SINGLES: It’s All Over Now (#126 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only a Hobo, Country Comfort

LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Martin Quittenton, Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, Mick Waller with a little help from Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, Stanley Matthews and Pete Sears.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second solo release from the erstwhile Jeff Beck, current Faces belter is subdued, subtle, and understated for the most part. He does rock it up a couple of times, but it’s not as raucous as his Faces persona, though.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The dichotomy of Stewart’s early solo work is remarkable. With the Faces, he was all about the shouting, the belting, the fun. As a solo artist, he showed his range – giving readings of songs like “Only a Hobo” and “Country Comfort” in the reserved, subdued manner they deserve.

Sure, he can crank it up, as in his cover of “Cut Across Shorty”. Yet, the title cut and others show Stewart very comfortable as someone singing with acoustic guitars in a really laid back or impromptu feel.

The Faces provide the majority of the backing, and it shows their versatility as well. There are some winning cuts, and it’s a good showcase for his talent.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title cut is one of Stewart’s most covered originals.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a different mix of the single.

GRADE: A-:  Another great understated Stewart collection, but there are signs that he’s just ready to rip it on his solo work just like his Faces songs.

 

Rod Stewart – The Rod Stewart Album

ARTIST: Rod Stewart            220px-RodStewart_TheRodStewartAlbum

TITLE:  The Rod Stewart Album (a/k/a An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down)

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #139

SINGLES: Street Fighting Man, Handbags & Gladrags (#42 in 1972)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Man of Constant Sorrow

LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Martin Pugh, Martin Quittenton, Mick Waller, Ian McLagan

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Solo album debut for Stewart, who left the Jeff Beck Group just recently and had just joined the Faces. It’s not as raucous as those groups.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When Rod Stewart and Ron Wood left Jeff Beck to join the Faces, Stewart also received a contract to record solo albums. Instead of the blues, or raucous rock-and-roll, Stewart uses his solo career to record some fairly heartfelt ballads in an acoustic folk style with some soul and some interesting takes on traditional rock. An_Old_Raincoat_Won't_Ever_Let_You_Down

While his cover of “Street Fighting Man” is the most perfunctory rock song here (but the arrangement is clever and Wood’s bass work is masterful), the highlight of this set is his version of Mike D’Abo’s “Handbags and Gladrags”, which is a perfect vehicle for Rod’s voice.

Stewart also showed that he was a decent songwriter, penning half of the tracks including the track that became the title in the UK. This is a solid solo effort that showed his versatility.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Stewart had released four singles in the 60’s during and after his time with his bands (Steampacket and Jeff Beck Group).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: This isn’t the Rod Stewart you hear on classic rock, nor the schmaltzy Rod Stewart of later years. This is legit