I can't claim to have been a Rod Stewart fan back in the early 70s (I was really more of a Chigley fan at the time) and when I had got old enough to be buying records regularly, he'd gone rubbish disco, leopard skin & spandex and 'Sailing' (worse was to come) and was therefore the antichrist; but of course like any right-thinking person I had always acknowledged the genius of 'Maggie May' and in 1991, when it was all My Bloody Valentine and Catherine Wheel and Ride around here, I forked out somewhat controversially on this two CD set one Saturday shop in Camden, determined to finally get my head and ears around seminal early Rod.
I was 26 - coincidentally, and fittingly, the same age Rod had been when he recorded Every Picture Tells A Story.
And what treasures lay there....
I mean, I knew the bloke could sing from his work with The Faces in particular, but such great lyrics too and such fabulous playing from Ron Wood, Ian McLagan, Martin Quittenton (that hallmark Rod-solo acoustic guitar sound) and others.
This is witty, heartfelt, dirty, beer-soaked Brit rock-soul played by pros who'd paid their dues, and it shows. As I get more grizzled and old, it sounds even better - and Oasis, you may keep crying your hearts out...
Rod Stewart - 'Every Picture Tells A Story' (1971)
Rod Stewart - 'Mandolin Wind' (1971)
Rod Stewart - 'Reason To Believe' (1971)
[The Mercury Anthology is out of print now, but this one-CD comp covers the period nicely. My favourite anti-Rod quote is from Tom Waits, who said of his cover of 'Tom Traubert's Blues' - 'If I'd have known that bastard was going to record it, I never woulda written it'].