Wednesday, September 19, 2012

172 Every picture tells a story. Don't spare the Rod.

Album: Every picture tells a story
Artist: Rod Stewart
Genre: Rock
Year: 1971

  1. Every Picture Tells a Story
  2. Seems Like a Long Time
  3. That's All Right
  4. Amazing Grace
  5. Tomorrow Is a Long Time
  6. Henry
  7. Maggie May
  8. Mandolin Wind
  9. (I Know) I'm Losing You
  10. Reason to Believe
Rod Stewart has had a career renaissance lately by learning to grow old gracefully. For while he was aging in a very ungraceful way (tight pants and silly hair are not becoming on a 50 year old who has let himself go) but his recent reliance on The Great American Songbook for a string of albums has confirmed him as a middle-of-the-road balladeer beloved by housewives. Before he put on tuxedos and crooned It Had To Be You to a concert hall full of elderly ladies he was a rock and roller; a cocksure band leader full of bravado fronting a band of coke-fueled dirty rockers.

Rod started as leader singer of the Jeff Beck group before becoming one of The Faces, a rock band who deserve a lot more credit than they usually get. Every Picture Tells a Story is his third solo album but is clearly the product of a guy who knows his way around the stage as well as the studio. Rod knew how to rock and had a lot of friends he could call on to make sure he rocked well. He also had a good ear for a clever cover that could show off what he could achieve.

The big hit here is obviously Maggie May which has been played to death on radios all over the world. It's a cheery little tune about a young man having second thoughts about his sexual relationship with an older woman. It gets played a lot on oldies radio and easy listening stations where it's a pleasant little ditty for those who like this sort of thing. But if you swapped the roles and it was a young woman singing about her much older male lover it would be decidedly creepy. Personally I think Maggie May is the album's lowpoint. There's a lot more to love here than a song that Rod himself describes as "without a melody". Enjoy his cover of Dylan's Tomorrow is a Long Time instead or appreciate the title track which rocks and swaggers. Rod has a great but limited voice but on Every Picture Tells a Story he uses it well and the musicians behind him sound like a tight band and not just a bunch of session guys brought in to back a singer.

If you think Rod Stewart is just an old guy trying to be Sinatra then give this a spin, or even better dip into The Faces back catalogue or try some Jeff Beck group. You might look at him in a totally different light.

Influenced by: Dylan and The Faces
Influenced: Aerosmith

Highlight: Tomorrow is a long time
Lowlight: Maggie May

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This album is what church aspires to be but can never be."

-That's interesting. I wonder if that's the attitude Rod had when he was entering the studio "allright boys- lets' make this just like church only better!"

So what kind of story does this picture tell you? Let me know below.

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