Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story (1971)

AllMusic Review: Without greatly altering his approach, Rod Stewart perfected his blend of hard rock, folk, and blues on his masterpiece, Every Picture Tells a Story. Marginally a harder-rocking album than Gasoline Alley — the Faces blister on the Temptations cover “(I Know I’m) Losing You,” and the acoustic title track goes into hyper-drive with Mick Waller’s primitive drumming — the great triumph of Every Picture Tells a Story lies in its content. Every song on the album, whether it’s a cover or original, is a gem, combining to form a romantic, earthy portrait of a young man joyously celebrating his young life. Of course, “Maggie May” — the ornate, ringing ode about a seduction from an older woman — is the centerpiece, but each song, whether it’s the devilishly witty title track or the unbearably poignant “Mandolin Wind,” has the same appeal. And the covers, including definitive readings of Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is Such a Long Time” and Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” as well as a rollicking “That’s All Right,” are equally terrific, bringing new dimension to the songs. It’s a beautiful album, one that has the timeless qualities of the best folk, yet one that rocks harder than most pop music — few rock albums are quite this powerful or this rich. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Every Picture Tells a Story” Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood 6:01
2. “Seems Like a Long Time” Theodore Anderson 4:02
3. “That’s All Right / Amazing Grace” Arthur Crudup / traditional; arranged by Stewart 6:02
4. “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” Bob Dylan 3:43
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
0. “Henry” Martin Quittenton 0:32
1. “Maggie May” Stewart, Quittenton 5:15
2. “Mandolin Wind” Stewart 5:33
3. “(I Know) I’m Losing You” Norman Whitfield, Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant 5:23
4. “(Find a) Reason to Believe” Tim Hardin 4:05
Total length: 40:31

 

Schill Score:  8/10

 

Listen to Album

Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley (1970)

AllMusic Review: Gasoline Alley follows the same formula of Rod Stewart’s first album, intercutting contemporary covers with slightly older rock & roll and folk classics and originals written in the same vein. The difference is in execution. Stewart sounds more confident, claiming Elton John’s “Country Comfort,” the Small Faces’ “My Way of Giving,” and the Rolling Stones’ version of “It’s All Over Now” with a ragged, laddish charm. Like its predecessor, nearly all of Gasoline Alley is played on acoustic instruments — Stewart treats rock & roll songs like folk songs, reinterpreting them in individual, unpredictable ways. For instance, “It’s All Over Now” becomes a shambling, loose-limbed ramble instead of a tight R&B/blues groove, and “Cut Across Shorty” is based around a howling, Mideastern violin instead of a rockabilly riff. Of course, being a rocker at heart, Stewart doesn’t let these songs become limp acoustic numbers — these rock harder than any fuzz-guitar workout. The drums crash and bang, the acoustic guitars are pounded with a vengeance — it’s a wild, careening sound that is positively joyous with its abandon. And on the slow songs, Stewart is nuanced and affecting — his interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Only a Hobo” is one of the finest Dylan covers, while the original title track is a vivid, loving tribute to his adolescence. And that spirit is carried throughout Gasoline Alley. It’s an album that celebrates tradition while moving it into the present and never once does it disown the past. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Gasoline Alley” Stewart, Ronnie Wood 4:02
2. “It’s All Over Now” Bobby Womack, Shirley Jean Womack 6:22
3. “Only a Hobo” Bob Dylan 4:13
4. “My Way of Giving” Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott 3:55
5. “Country Comfort” Elton John, Bernie Taupin 4:42
6. “Cut Across Shorty” Wayne P. Walker, Marijohn Wilkin 6:28
7. “Lady Day” Stewart 3:57
8. “Jo’s Lament” Stewart 3:24
9. “You’re My Girl (I Don’t Want to Discuss It)” Dick Cooper, Beth Beatty, Ernie Shelby 4:27

 

 

Schill Score:  7.25/10

 

Listen to Album