musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

For many years Rod Stewart was rock and roll royalty, ranking right up there with the best recording artists of the 1970s. He cuts his teeth with the Jeff Beck Group and then became the lead singer of another influential band, the Faces. After releasing a series of excellent solo albums, the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle — not to mention a couple of high profile marriages and divorces — took its toll and the quality of his recordings became somewhat spotty. Those albums weren’t awful, but nothing remotely captured the magic of classic albums such as Every Picture Tells a Story and Never a Dull Moment, or even solid sets such as Atlantic Crossing and A Night on the Town. In recent years Rod has resorted to releasing a series of schlock-filled albums of “standards” to maintain his musical profile. Maybe those albums were of interest to somebody, but rock and roll they weren’t. So imagine the shock to hear his new album, Time, a very strong collection of rock and pop songs that evoke his magical 1970s heydays. Okay, so maybe Time won’t rank with his very best albums or conjure up flashbacks of “Lost Paraguayos”, but there are enough truly great songs on here, brimming with energy and melody (hey, it sounds like old Rod is having fun again!), that it will go a long way towards restoring Rod’s tarnished reputation.

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In the past year we’ve also seen the publication of Rod: The Autobiography. There has been an avalanche of rock memoirs in recent years, so many that one is tempted to roll the eyes and dismiss yet another “titillating” addition to the pile, but Rod’s book has garnered very favorable reviews and looks like it just might be worth reading. The blurb on the front cover of the new paperback edition calls it; “An entertaining romp through fifty years of bad behavior.” Can Rod Stewart become fashionable again? It may be too late for that, but at least it will be very enjoyable listening to his music once more.

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In addition to the new Rod Stewart, here are the other CDs that I’ve been playing frequently lately, rocking the floorboards and shaking the rafters at my ninth-floor hacienda:

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Various Artists – Hall of Fame: Rare and Unissued Gems from the Fame Vaults

Phoenix – Bankrupt

J. Tillman – Vacilando Territory Blues

Jeff Lynne – Armchair Theatre

Mike Viola – Electro De Perfecto

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Steve Forbert – Jackrabbit Slim/Alive on Arrival

Aimee Mann – Bachelor No. 2

Frank Zappa – Sheikyerbouti

Raspberries – Live on Sunset Strip

Steve Earle – The Low Highway

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Various Artists – Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label

Kim Richey – Thorn in My Heart

Richard Thompson – Electric

Phospherescent – Muchacho

Kurt Vile – Walkin’ On a Pretty Daze

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Tandyn Almer – Along Comes Tandyn

David Bowie – The Next Day

Sam Samdio – Hard and Heavy

Stanley Turrentine – Hustlin’

Tom Jans – Tom Jans/Take Heart (with Mimi Farina)

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Various Artists – Twinight’s Lunar Rotation

Humble Pie – The Very Best of: The Immediate Recordings

Jack McDuff & Kenny Burrell – Crash!

Jules Shear & Pal Shazar – Shear/Shazar

Jimmie Dale Gilmore – One Endless Night

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Various Artists – Those Shocking Shaking Days (1970s rock music from Indonesia)

Iain Archer – Flood the Tanks

Glenn Tilbrook – The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook

Outlaws – It’s About Pride

Jackie McLean – Demon’s Dance

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Lee Fields – Let’s Talk It Over

Dwight Twilley – Soundtrack

Waylon Jennings – The Complete MCA Recordings

Francis Dunnery – Man

Oliver Nelson – The Blues and the Abstract Truth

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A.J. Croce – That’s Me in the Bar

Kaleidoscope – Pulsating Dreams: The Epic Recordings

John Cale – Black Acetate

Los Lobos – Kiko Live

Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy

 

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