My Rod Stewart collection continues to grow and grow, despite me never having bought a Rod Stewart record in my life. I just keep acquiring them.
Even though his later records are junk compared to his more fruitful earlier material, both solo and with the Faces, I really don’t mind these later ones. I guess they could be described as mid-period albums, with his truly awful output these days being the ones to avoid like the plague.
I saw a documentary filmed at Rod’s house once. The guy loves football so much, he has a full-sized football pitch at the bottom of his house. I always thought that was a little extreme. It’s not like a snooker table or a dart board. You need twenty-one friends to come over and play on it to make it worthwhile. Not a problem, it seems, as he gets ten of his mates over and takes on the local amateur teams. Legend.
This is Rod’s twelfth solo studio album and wasn’t received well despite a stonker of a lead single in Baby Jane, and a ‘so-1980s-it-hurts’ cover image paying homage to 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.
A couple of weekends ago, my wife left the house to go the supermarket. She phoned me five minutes later, with a degree of urgency in her voice. On her way to the supermarket, she spotted a car-boot sale in a church car-park. She had found a man selling three boxes of records. Her call was to see if I wanted any of the classic rock LPs he was selling at the princely sum of a dollar each.
“Have you got Green River by Creedence Clearwater?”
“No, get it.”
“Rod Stewart – Greatest Hits?”
“No, get it”
“The Travelling Wilburys?”
“Yes, but get it anyway.”
And so on. She eventually brought back a box of forty six records, which the seller only took thirty dollars for. Result. I would have paid close to that for the Creedence record alone.
Nine of the records are Rod Stewart albums, and a further four are Faces albums with Rod singing on them. That’s a twenty-eight per cent Stewart penetration rate. Maximum Rod.
Somebody’s been listening to Kate Bush and Robert Palmer, haven’t they? Opener Here To Eternity takes more than a little of inspiration from Bush’s Running Up That Hill. Second song Another Heartache borrows the drum sound from Palmer’s Addicted To Love. The chorus of Who’s Gonna Take Me Home (The Rise And Fall Of A Budding Gigolo) even borrows from Ray Charles’ Hit The Road Jack. Is there anything original on this record at all?
I’m not surprised though. Rod Stewart: king of the cover version. The last time he had an original thought was probably sometime in the late 1970s when he decided to forfeit a promising rock career to go down the lazy entertainer route, a cabaret act for the 1980s and beyond.
I got this record in a job lot I inherited from somewhere. I would burn it record if it were not for the fact that the inner sleeve is signed by guitarist Jim Cregan. It says “Cheers Andy, Jim Cregan”, so I’ll save it from a fiery death. You’re welcome, Jim.
Although this is only (only!) the 84th entry in the Rocks In The Attic blog, this is actually the 100th disc I’ve reviewed, taking into account all the double- and triple-albums that I’ve wrote about so far.
A few weeks ago I covered the Truthalbum by Jeff Beck – released prior to this debut by Led Zeppelin, and an album Jimmy Page must have had at the front of his mind when planning and arranging this.
This was a very cheap album to make. Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant paid for the 36 hours of studio time himself, and then sold the tapes to Atlantic Records. A studio cost of just £1,782 led to the record grossing more than £3.5 million. Not a bad return for a record company.
If I had to choose one album over the other, I’d go with Zeppelin’s debut, only because the songs fit together that little bit better. Led Zeppelin and Truth are very similar though. They even share a cover – You Shook Me – but the majority of the songs could be interchangeable. Both albums have soulful vocals, by Robert Plant and Rod Stewart respectively. The guitar work on each album (both players are ex-Yardbirds) is of a higher quality than most players at the time (and more in line with the likes of Hendrix and Clapton); and the bass is top-notch (by John Paul Jones on Led Zeppelin, and future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood on Truth).
The real point of differentiation is the percussion. There’s nothing wrong with the drums, by Mick Waller, on Jeff Beck’s album. They keep time, as they should. But they’re not a patch on Bonzo’s debut. The opening track on Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times – could almost be renamed How To Play Drums by John Henry Bonham. You can ignore everything else about that song and just concentrate on the drums – they are the very definition of a perfect drum track.
I don’t know why I have this record in my collection. I certainly don’t remember buying it, and I don’t remember inheriting it. Presumably it was given to me. I mean, who would buy a Rod Stewart record, unless you were stuck for something to buy your Mum on Mother’s Day?
It’s a shame really, because Rod seems to have started off with good intentions. Lead singer with The Faces, lead vocals on that great Truth album by Jeff Beck (also in my collection), and then a solo a career which started off strongly and descended into Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? Ugh, even the spelling of that song makes me want to vomit.
It’s odd that this is Stewart’s third solo album, but all five members of The Faces appear on the record. Kind of pointless, if you ask me. There’s some very nice guitar work on this album though. Worth a listen just for that.