Universal (5 LP box set) [Released 01.12.14]
For the first time, Rod Stewart’s five studio LPs originally released between 1969 and 1974 are released in a boxed set (his Mercury label years before he switched label to Warner Brothers). Each LP has the exact reproductions of original artwork and is pressed to 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl, one for the collectors then. I can’t comment on the feel or sound of the vinyl as I am reviewing this based on CDs.
It contains the albums ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down’ (1969), ‘Gasoline Alley’ (1970), ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (1971), ‘Never A Dull Moment’ (1972) and ‘Smiler’ (1974).
Each one is classic in it’s own right and his solo debut ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down’ sets the template for his classic solo period, being a mix of originals like ‘Cindy’s Lament’ and well chosen covers to suit his singing style like Ewan MacColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘Handbags and Gladrags’. Fellow Faces members Ron Wood and Ian McLagan helped out too, along with future prog rock keyboards legend Keith Emerson. Amazingly though the album failed to impact on either the US or UK charts.
‘Gasoline Alley’ is a another good mix of country and folk flavoured tunes and the title track was a hit for Elkie Brooks some years later. He really comes into his own on the acoustic/ballads like ‘Only A Hobo’.
‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ started a run of number 1 UK albums for Rod Stewart. It has the massive hit ‘Maggie May’, which featured John Peel pretending to play mandolin on the ‘TOTP’ appearance. There is a moving version of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ and a rollicking cover of ‘That’s All Right’.
‘Never A Dull Moment’ sees the country element toned down a little and few more rockers sneaking in like ‘Italian Girls’ and another big hit in ‘You Wear It Well’. By 1975′s ‘Smiler’ the rock ‘n’ roll quota was set to maximum with ‘Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller’, ‘Dixie Toot’ and a soulful bash at ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man’ (obviously ladies man Rod had to use the Bobby Womack version altered for a man to sing!).
There is no bonus material as this is aimed purely at those who appreciate the joy of listening to an album right the way through and at a high sound quality. Given the massive resurgence in high quality vinyl re-issues and the wait his fans have had for this box set, it is bound to sell well.
Review by Jason Ritchie
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk
(Sunday 25 April 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT)
It’s an Anniversary Show celebrating a year of Sunday Sessions.
Next session: Sunday 23 May, 21:00 GMT and 16:00 EST
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 18 April 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 April 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 19 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 STEPHEN CRANE Kicks (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE TREATMENT Waiting For Good Luck (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 AMY SPEACE & THE ORPHAN BRIGADE – There Used To Be Horses Here (Proper)
Power Plays w/c 3 May 2021 (Mon-Fri)
THE COLD STARES In The Night Time (Mascot)
NATHALIE MIRANDA Battle Scars (You Won’t Forget My Name) (indie)
RAMES Eleanor Street (indie)
THE STEADY LETTERS The Blue (indie)
CRIMSON RIOT Shatter (Golden Robot Records)
THUNDERMOTHER You Can’t Handle Me (AFM Records)
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