Rod Stewart - When We Were The New Boys
Here's a riddle: What do you call a useless South African fisherman? Answer: Rodney. That's also what you would call an elderly, bottle-blonde, spiky-haired would-be Scottish footballer who had to settle for being the oldest bagel on the rock block; but you can call him Rod.
On this, his first self-produced album in over two decades, Rod Stewart has attempted to emulate the live sound and quality content of his early Seventies classic 'Every Picture Tells A Story'. On that album, as with 'When We Were The New Boys', Rod hauled his favourite musicians into a studio and had a great time turning out cover versions of songs written by Tim Hardin ('Reason To Believe') and Bob Dylan ('Tomorrow Is A Long Time') among others. That album's massive hit, 'Maggie May' was written by Rod himself. 'Every Picture Tells A Story' has aged gracefully and is still generally preferred over Rod's other big record, 'Atlantic Crossing'.
The 'When We Were The New Bafanas' album adheres to the 'Every Picture' formula. The songs on this CD are a mixture of sentimental ballads and mike-swinging high-octane rockers.
For the covers, Rod has decided to take on the "Young Turks", as he once described them in a hit single, and wraps his Frosties-coated larynx around Oasis's 'Cigarettes And Alcohol', Primal Scream's 'Rocks', Skunk Anansie's 'Weak' and (the slightly older) Graham Parker's 'Hotel Chambermaid'. These strutting, kick-ass versions add extra dimensions to the originals except for 'Weak' where Rod's voice battles to reach the high notes and then just quits, er, weakly
He gets all yearning and soppy on Mike (ex-Waterboys) Scott's 'What Do You Want Me To Do?', Superstar's 'Superstar' and 'Secret Heart', the Ron Sexsmith song that will hopefully have fans rushing off to search out the two essential albums by this new artist. The title track was written specially for this album by Rod and is as laddish and nostalgic as it sounds.
Stewart then sums up his entire career with his wonderful redo of the Faces' hit 'Ooh La La', a song he wrote with Ronnie Wood but which he did not sing on the original version. The rousing chorus of this song: "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger", is moving but not really accurate as Rod has had a great time actualising his rock star fantasies these past years and even if he had known then what he knows now, he probably wouldn't have done it any different at all.
This is the best album he's made in years.
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman
others in the REVIEWS
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