Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This is an ode to those acts who, like me, can only visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a paid admission. I’ve been in the music collecting and selling business nearly my entire life and have no idea why the following cannot get elected while other lesser acts enjoy the spoils of having it on their resume. When I see acts like Billy Joel, Elvis Costello, the Police, Aerosmith or the Pretenders in there it just seems ridiculous. Ask yourself: what in music would be different if those acts had never come along? Answer: nothing. A few record labels would have a few less dollars, but nothing else would have changed.

All that said, let me be the first to say that the place, like a lot of these shrines created just for revenue, has little credibility with me. But, people love awards and they love to keep score, so if that‘s the case then these acts deserved to be included. This is by no means a complete list, their ( the “hall”) sins go way beyond these six. These six inductions though would at least let the hall voters glimpse the road to credibility on the horizon.

After reading this list how many of these acts would you have sworn were already in the hall? Think about it.

MARC BOLAN / T. REX The hall preaches influence and if that is the case then here’s a guy who single handedly triggered a second British Invasion. With his infectious riffs, androgynous look and radio ready anthems he paved the way for many others and eventually even the punk scene. I was there and believe me it was the first time since the Beatles that something that big had happened in the music industry. The impact was not quite as great here in the states, but there was no escaping that something exciting this way came.

NEIL DIAMOND The only thing I can surmise is that the voters are penalizing him for some of his late seventies and entire eighties and beyond output. That makes no sense when very few could touch his sixties and early seventies catalog. That and the fact that last year with his Rick Rubin produced “12 Songs” he showed that there was still some fresh ink left in his songwriters pen. That album, and his mid-seventies watershed “Beautiful Noise” should have been enough to wipe away some of the lazy years.

THE HOLLIES If just chart action and longevity were the tenets for induction then this band would have certainly been in line ahead of many others. Percy Sledge anyone? I’m not sure how oldies radio would sound without some of their numerous hits. This band belongs there as much as any other British Invasion band. Unlike many other groups personnel changes seemed to re-energize them and take them to new places with their music. And don’t be suckered into the argument that they were just a singles band. They recorded some classic albums and had several excellent UK only releases in the seventies that never made it to these shores. There’s got to be more to this story than we’re getting.

THE MONKEES Don’t get all excited here. This band’s music has endured while many others came and went. Their influence reaches beyond their “barrel full” of hits. Their television show let our parents come to understand that the musicians who played and sang rock weren’t bad kids at all. They were mostly just kids with musical instruments instead of basketballs and ball gloves. They turned the tide in my house. The musical segments ushered in once and for all the marriage of music and film to the masses. And on a final note here if I’m in a rock band and have a nice voice during the sixties, trust me it’s ok if most of my records are written by Boyce & Hart, Neil Diamond, Goffin & King, etc.. And anytime the best session guys in the country want to play on them and have Jeff Berry produce it‘s fine by me too. Wake up people.

MOODY BLUES I’ll admit, I’m not their biggest fan these days, but fair is fair. In an era of hit singles and self indulgent junk (Yes, ELP, etc.) this band quietly turned out some of the most fully realized albums of their generation. From “Days Of Future Passed” through “”Seventh Sojourn” they consistently crafted ethereal, melancholy and melodic works that don’t sound nearly as dated today as things from just say ten years ago. They spawned very few imitators owing to their unique sound. Like the Beatles and Who before them, and the Electric Light Orchestra later, they were able to pull stand alone gems from concept recordings for singles. They weren’t into padding their albums with long meandering tracks. Isn’t life strange indeed?

LEON RUSSELL If congress truly wants to launch a meaningful investigation then they can report back to me how this guy is still on the outside looking in. Even the large space this blog affords me doesn’t have room to mention all the reasons for this guy being inducted. This borders on criminal. I have never heard a single disparaging word about him and he’s had as many “hits” as some others currently receiving mail at the hall. Throw in songwriting, producing, session work and you have a true renaissance man. His omission leaves an ozone layer type hole that must be repaired before I visit.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


When this time of year arrives and the leaves start to fall it means that the end of the year is just around the corner. Go down to the end of that corner and turn left on Christmas Tree Lane, and like the Twilight Zone, it‘s straight up ahead. (Insert weird music here)

Instead of focusing on the holiday tunes that will dominate the airwaves for the next couple of months my thoughts instead turn to Autumn. It’s an overlooked season if there ever was one. It plays host to an unofficial holiday with Halloween, and a legal one with Thanksgiving.

Very few songs deal directly with the season, but that doesn’t mean there’s not music that was made for it. Face it, some songs, movies and activities just go better with those swirling leaves and hollow pumpkins than others. After Labor Day those Beach Boys albums must be relegated to the back of the stack until spring. You get the idea.

Below is a short list of some music that goes better with the shorter days. It’s just a random list, by no means complete. I’m just going with the ones that come back like the leaves from year to year. Also, these are the ones that I listen to late in the evening, not during the day while chopping wood or cleaning gutters.

Leonard Cohen - Anything from his first few albums on Columbia will do the trick here. His voice enters the room like the ghost of Autumn past and lingers like the smell of smoke from a neighbor’s burning leaves. When he speaks time doesn’t so much stand still, as it seems irrelevant. He wears his heart on his sleeve, but knows the attraction that can be to women. His unconditional love of them is both his endearing strength and eternal weakness.

Bob Dylan - “Blood On The Tracks” This one takes the prize. You only need a chilly autumn night that lets your frozen breath announce your arrival at a local pub to set the mood for these tales. You slip off your jacket and nod to a few of the regulars that make eye contact. “Poor Side Of Town” drifts from the jukebox. She’s gone and as far as you’re concerned your whole life hinged on what was and wasn’t said in the heat of that one moment. That moment was some time ago. “Beauty walks a razor’s edge” indeed. If she ever returns that night will be a line of demarcation for both of you. Right now though you’re alone and the well drink special and the off work cashier drinking alone in the tattered corner booth look like the best bet. Tomorrow, it will be two more bad decisions made in the heat of the moment.

Billie Holiday - Everyone has their favorite sides from her numerous sessions. For me though nothing beats her end of the line sessions for Verve Records in the fifties. Every song and take feels like it is her last performance. When you hear what she could bring to a song and then think about some of today’s singers and what they bring it’s really sad. She gave her life to sing these songs. If pain were measured in quarter notes then she would be a symphony. A sad, but sweet one.

Van Morrison - “Astral Weeks” No one had ever made an album like this before. Since then almost everyone has tried to make it. They never come close. It is without a doubt one of the most timeless pieces of music ever conceived. Where these songs came from is anyone’s guess and I’m sure we’d be wrong. Only Dylan could understand where music like this begins. There is very little that’s conventional about the songs or the instrumentation, but they come together like a dream that you drift in and out of over the course of an autumn night. I can still conjure up the night I was listening to the radio and heard “Madame George” for the first time. I bought the album the next day. I’d give anything to relive that experience again.

Simon & Garfunkel - A no brainer if there ever was one. Pretty much anything of theirs conjures up scenes of steam from manhole covers, fireplaces, staring from frosting windows, drinking wine alone, brisk Sunday walks downtown and hot chocolate from street venders. If you need to narrow it down to one album go for “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme.” It works the upper side of Manhattan like a veteran cabbie. We have very little in common with these people and their tangled lives, but at the core they are all looking for love just like the rest of us.

Frank Sinatra - Most of his Capitol sides and some of the mid-sixties Reprise recordings will yield a seasoned oak woodpile of essential songs. You’ll need to wait until really late in the evening to play these though. They work best in the dead of the night when it’s all been decided and the bottle in your hand is half full. The ones on the counter are empty though.

Happy raking!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The title, "September Of My Years," and the song selection pretty much tells the story here. The cover drawing shows Frank gazing, arms folded looking to the side, if not over his shoulder. The heat was on him in musical terms, but you still had to come across cool no matter the temperature. He’s dressed for dinner and the cuff links let you know that he didn’t just grab something out of the closet. Folding money says he won’t be gassing up and driving his own car either. But dinner is only the appetizer for this evening. It’s a special event, tonight is a milestone that he wants to tackle head on. He wants to get there first. This day won’t end until the wee small hours of the next one.

It was 1965, Frank was hitting fifty and wanted an album of songs to reflect if not celebrate it. Some of the songs were newly written for the project, others had been around a bit. He chose them all like he was filling out an all star ballot. There would be no DH, everyone had to pull their load. He was no stranger to the concept album. He essentially invented it in the fifties with his Capitol recordings. These songs had autumn, melancholy, scotch, Camel cigarettes and sadness soaking each groove of the vinyl. What words didn’t say Gordon Jenkins did with his remarkable arrangements. Often using only a single instrument to mimic the passing of years or watching a lover disappear in one song only to re-emerge in another. Nelson Riddle gets most of the ink, but Jenkins was no less a master.

Staring down fifty and still the Chairman of the board. Half a century in the books. The bottle was still half full, plus it came off of the top shelf at Jilly’s. So far it had been his century as much as anyone’s. Forty years ago fifty was a lot older than it is now. He had lived a large and full life up to that point. His musical contributions weren’t done yet. However they would be less innovative in a market that had seen it all. He would be on the charts several more times with some sizable hits, but he would be there alone. There would be no Dean, Bing, Judy or Sammy a few rungs above or below him to make it all look like they still had the world on a string. The others had become performers, no longer artists, content to take a victory lap for an era that had shrunk to the stages of Vegas and television. They belonged to another generation in the public’s mind. Frank had spawned his own generation and wanted a piece of the current one. He felt he still had some very good years left.

Dean would resurface from time to time and even boast a successful television show. There he was content to impersonate the public’s perception of himself for one hour a week. Nice work if you can get it indeed. In death Dean would acquire all that Frank had in life. Dean never seemed to mind. Not when there were young girls outside of the dressing room, old whiskey on the makeup table and a private tee time waiting outside the limo. Dean preferred things that could be handled. Frank preferred to do the handing out. Dean was willing to look the other way and move on. Frank was willing to let a few bad years dominate his life to the point that he wouldn’t be happy until every slight was squared to his satisfaction. In each other they saw how they each could have turned out. Frank got his rewards here on earth, while Dean got his in heaven. That’s life.

At this point Frank was still an artist searching for meaningful material to plug the dam that rock and roll had breached. He couldn’t do it alone anymore, so he had to be content with pleasing his audience first and then hope that the kids found something they could connect with. An album of middle aged songs about a guy taking stock of his life wouldn’t do the trick this time. But it was something Frank had to do, he needed a dividing line. This nostalgic glance over his shoulder would scratch that itch until the real thing came along.

Classic versions of songs abound here. “September Song” stands with anyone’s version and fits this album without becoming a cliché. “Hello Young Lovers” tells the tale of I know what it’s like to be young and in love, but you don’t know what it’s like to be older and heartbroken on this night. It’s the sage advice that those in love never hear when it’s being said to their faces. Of course the title track gets the evening off to a stirring start like that first drink. The one that makes you think they are all going to go down this easy.

The centerpiece of the album is his rendition of “It Was A Very Good Year.” It showcases his vocal ability as well as anything from his Capitol era. The phrasing used to introduce each age as though he is repeating the question and then losing himself in his remembrances borders on perfection. He treats the song as though it were a chance to validate his world. When the decadence of his lifestyle confronts him by age thirty five it’s as though the song has now become a cautionary parable. By the time he reaches the last verse though his voice is commanding and the tinges of regret each verse brought are cast aside while he finishes the last sips of a vanished youth. That glass is empty, but the bottle, like the night, is still within reach.

“But now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of the year,
And I think of my life as vintage wine, from fine old kegs,
From the brim to the dregs, it poured sweet and clear,
It was a very good year.”

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Three great albums you’ve probably never heard

All three albums under this topic are by female artists. I didn’t plan it this way, but there is probably something at work here. I’m guessing that it has to do with emotions. Guys seem more concerned about getting a riff out there than expressing some deeply felt emotion. These gals view the world as a bigger place and want their feelings known. Set to these tunes and rhymes, I’m all ears when it comes to these albums.


This was Browne’s fourth, and most recent solo album. Recorded in 2001 she decided to shake loose of expectations and go her own way with this one. She had made other solo albums that were pleasant and her stint with Asleep At The Wheel took her to places she might never have been invited. But something was in the air when it came time for this one. Perhaps inspired by what Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams other female artists were producing she took the reins and didn’t stray from the path so much as forge her own.

If a single song is worth whatever someone is charging for the entire disc then the title track here is one of them. The perception and skill to which she spins the yarn of a former lover and what exactly separates them borders on jaw dropping. This is a five minute life lesson that you can have for the price a disc instead of expensive counseling. The gritty delivery also lets you know that the message is one that she’s been contemplating.

Putting this disc out on her own with no major label backing doomed this one as far as substantial sales. But, if you measure success by satisfaction with the finished product then this one is headed for the hall of fame.


In a perfect world (the one where Scarlett Johansson greets me at the door with a cocktail as I arrive home from work) this 1989 album would have done for Nelson what Sheryl Crow’s and Norah Jones’ debuts did for them. Instead of having her floors reinforced to hold all of her Grammy’s Nelson gets to watch the market value of this out print disc hover in the one cent range on Amazon. Ain’t life grand. Crow and Jones continue to make interesting music and may even have another classic in them. Nelson has never made another recording that I’m aware of.

She was just a bit early for the alt-country, hard folk scene that rages today. And way too early for no frills, genre hopping debuts for female singer songwriters. I would venture a guess that if this album were to come out today it would find an audience. The strange thing to me is how much was behind this recording for it to fail so spectacularly. It was on Warner Brothers Records, not exactly new to the business. Produced by David Kershenbaum and featuring such session luminaries as Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, and Dan Dugmore. These hired guns had been around the block a time or two. What’s not to like? I’m guessing that it all boils down to airplay. If they don’t hear it, they don’t buy it. It appears that no programmer thought enough of this recording to let the public hear it.

Her originals showed lots of promise and her cover choices were inspired. There is only one straight cover on the disc, the others are parts of other songs that she weaves in and out of the mix. It’s a novel concept that works really well. For those who collect cover versions you can’t do much better than her aching rendition of “To Sir With Love.” From what I’ve been able to gather over the years the album demos were financed by a fan from her home area of Milwaukee. Just speculating here, but the song could have been a thank you to him. If not, it’s a nice story and an essential cover of the song.

In a world where a cup of coffee can set you back five bucks, you couldn’t do much better than this one cent disc. Plus it gets better each time it pours out of your speakers.


They could have titled this one “No Two Alike” and no one would have argued. On their second disc they explore every style of music that you can imagine and come up with something totally original. Working with producer Lloyd Maines this 2000 album is about as close to perfection as you will hear. The sisters in question here Mizzy and Casey have a that special connection that only musical siblings seem to possess.

They penned most of the songs and throw themselves headfirst into the two covers. The songs cover divorce, garage sales, open mic night in a New Jersey bar, class reunions, religious relatives, the decline of the Western civilization and some lost keys. This one has it all. What it has more than anything though is heart. This duo knows just what they are trying to achieve in each song. While lost keys dominate one song, the loss of innocence as seen through a class reunion in the title track will leave you surveying your own landscape by the last chorus. They don’t simply sing the songs, they inhabit them.

They keep promising to release a follow up disc but as of this writing it hasn’t happened. This is one of those discs that leaves you wanting more when it ends. Lots more. I’m still waiting but passing the time with this one is about as good as it gets.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


In the spirit of George Harrison who wrote the book on this subject, I offer great debut albums by artists who had previously been part of a group. This will be an occasional series highlighting notable solo recordings. (Listed alphabetically)


Produced by T-Bone Burnett, who helped bring Case’s acoustic pop vision to fruition this one just gets better with age. I know there are unused selections and alternate versions from these sessions. This would be a great candidate for expanded treatment. Other than an ill advised cover of the Pogues’ “A Pair Of Brown Eyes” you couldn’t ask for a better initial offering. Unlike some others on this list he would go on to record other worthy material. (1986)


The title track alone is enough to land it on this list. Ferry decided to tackle all covers his first time out of the Roxy Music backyard. He bent the songs to his style rather than the other way around. The first time you hear it you’ll find it tough sledding. A couple of more listens and you’ll taking down-hills you never dreamed of trying. He would re-visit this theme a few more times, and while rewarding for the most part they lack the surprise element of this one. And did I mention that title track? It has been done dozens of ways in its long history, but never in a waltz tempo and never with a vocal cadence like this one. (1973)


She jumps styles on nearly every cut and conquers them all. One of the very few times that synth-pop worked for nearly an entire album. The songs that didn’t need it though like “Time After Time” soared on their own merits. It even moved Miles Davis to record a near note for note cover of it. In a rare turn her follow up album “True Colors” is almost as good, and that is unusual. (1984)


Total perfection from first note to last. Everything thought about or attempted works flawlessly on this first offering. The all star backing by Leon Russell and his assembled guests proved to be just what these songs needed. Hearing any of these songs today is still capable of taking you back to this place in time. Some songs have an almost carnival swirl to them. He would never come close again. (1970)


He had been a member of two very successful groups from two different countries. He had contributed signature songs to each of their catalogs. Like George Harrison he has a thin, but expressive voice. This album has worn well over the years, the sequencing is pleasant and the songs showcase a singer songwriter at the top of his game. You won’t find enough decent songs on all of the rest of his solo albums combined to top this one. (1971)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


A newsgroup that I’m in recently posed this question: What song would you use to illustrate what rock and roll is to someone who had never heard it or had no idea what it was? Great question with no wrong answers probably. My only criteria is that the song has to encompass the spirit and passion of rock and roll more than a 4/4 beat that you can dance to.

Well, today my answer is Bobby Fuller's version of "I Fought The Law." I know for a lot of people rock and roll only flows from Liverpool by way of Memphis and the airwaves of Cleveland, but I say it's everywhere. For me nothing compares to the time I was ten years old and saw my first live band at a roller rink. I've never recovered and I kept going back for the next few years each Saturday night that I could swing it. The Beatles only came to town once, but these bands playing their songs note for note were always around. To be honest, they were probably playing them better than the original bands after a while.

To bring this back around to Bobby Fuller, I love the photos and recordings of him and his band playing those West Coast clubs in the early and mid-sixties. The ones with the low stage, thick velvet curtain back drop and some radio station's call letters hung above the band. The clubs were just large lounges trying to cash in on all of this “long hair music the kids were going for.” The shows look like a scene from any number of Elvis movies. The guys all look like the early Beach Boys and the girls look like Nancy Sinatra. It’s every parents current nightmare, the kids feel a freedom they could have only dreamed of a few years earlier.

It’s California, the summer of 1966, the hottest day of July. Just look at him, he's young, he’s smiling, he owns a Corvette, he’s good looking and has a guitar in his hand. He’s every American kid that ever got a guitar for Christmas. He’ll be dead tomorrow, but the night is young, was made for lovers and has a thousand eyes. Between songs the girls all run over to him. He signs some 45’s for them. He spikes his coke, steps out back for a cigarette with the drummer, shares a joke with a DJ, and checks out some of the cars the kids have driven to the show. Twenty minutes later he's back up on that stage covering the Beatles or more Buddy Holly before closing with their "hit." The kids file out into the warm night air. Some still dancing. With their tops down they can smell the salted sea breeze as they drive home.

Seeing real, non cover bands in person was years away for me so these local fraternity / cover bands / no-hit wonders were what I grew up on. That will always be rock and roll to me. Even today I would have to say that they tried harder than some of the groups I’ve paid good money to see over the years.

Again, I'm drifting. This song has it all: a guy, a girl, a crime committed to keep the girl and a moral to please the parents. It has a great rolling fade in and the lyrics are married to the melody perfectly. It was an obscure Buddy Holly album cut written by Sonny Curtis. Until Fuller discovered it only Holly collectors knew it existed. Thanks to him it’s still one of the best reasons to own a radio forty years on. Each time I hear it I have to turn it up. It flies by like it's moving from one radio to another. I hope mine’s next.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


ROD STEWART - The Mercury Years Covers

This is my list of his ten best “covers” from his solo stint on the Mercury label. He would go on to record countless covers over the years, but none approach the sincerity and vocal delivery you’ll find on these early selections. I was there when each one came out and these have stood the test of time and ended up on countless mix tapes and discs of my own. All were recorded between 1969 and 1974. Over thirty years ago, or a lifetime ago depending on your perspective. All are presented in alphabetical order to keep it simple. And remember, I said my favorites, not necessarily the best.

Country Comforts
(Elton John-Bernie Taupin)

This recording proceeded Sir Elton’s into the marketplace by a few months. Rod adds and "s" to "comfort" that Elton doesn't use. He also drops the final verse, and there is an obvious lyric change in nearly every line for some reason. None of them change what‘s happening, but are evident nonetheless. This autumnal tale is offered in a affecting reading that can be found in most of his early ballad covers. He tackles this narrative of a young man fondly returning to the farm of his youth through new eyes like he means it. (Gasoline Alley)

Dirty Old Town
(Ewan MacColl)

This one has been done many times and will be done many more times. What drives this one is the restrained reading and his behind the music styled vocals. The music track nearly dominates the mix, but when Rod ventures out from behind the speakers he commands attention. No doubt Rod grew up hearing this song as a folk ballad. This sentiment of getting out of the town you grew up in has played itself out in countless songs over the centuries. This is easily one of the best. I would bet anything that John D. Loudermilk‘s “Tobacco Road” was based on him hearing this song at some point. (The Rod Stewart Album)

Handbags & Gladrags
(Mike D’Abo)

D’Abo was the vocalist for the late sixties incarnation of Manfred Mann when he wrote this. (He was also the co-writer of the Foundations international hit “Build Me Up Buttercup” ) Stewart, I’m guessing heard this from the Chris Farlowe recording a year or so earlier. This is one of Stewart’s most enduring vocals. Only his Dylan covers carry more weight. The vocal is so fragile at times that you wonder whether he’s up to finishing the song. For added effect D’Abo sits in on piano and nearly steals the show with his economical accompaniment. Gotta give drummer Mickey Waller some on this one too. (The Rod Stewart Album)

It’s All Over Now
(Bobby & Shirley Womack)

Although it didn’t feature all of them, this was the first indication of what the Faces would sound like with Rod and Ron at the helm. It offers the booze soaked delivery that would be their trademark and the loose performance of the group behind him sounds like they‘ll keep playing until someone says “that‘s enough.“ This was a time when artists were still free to make records that they liked also. No focus groups telling them to shorten it or to tune some of those instruments, etc.. (Gasoline Alley)

Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind
(Bob Dylan)

During his Mercury years nothing brought out the best in Roderick David Stewart like a Dylan cover. This take on an unreleased song is covered about as well as any Dylan song there is. He never rests or coasts on the lyric and sings every word to proper effect. The heartbreaking lyric tinged with a sliver of acceptance is one of Dylan’s best. Knowing a great song when he heard one he immediately re-wrote it as “You Wear It Well” for side two of the album. The use of violin and pedal steel serve to illustrate the importance the entire band placed on this recording. They nailed it. Any number of covers over the years have put more money in Dylan’s pocket, I doubt very many put as big a smile on his face. (Never A Dull Moment)

Mine For Me
(Paul & Linda McCartney)

Written especially for Rod by Paul, and apparently Linda, this cover offers one of Paul’s better “giveaways.” It fits what Rod was capable of doing vocally and represents an adult sentiment instead of the leering, wink-wink fodder from some of his own material. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that) He uses his voice as an extra instrument on this one. It works. (Smiler)

My Way Of Giving
(Steve Marriott & Ronnie Lane)

This was a good idea whoever’s idea it was. Covering a song from the Small Faces with Rod standing in for Marriott works quite well. The chorus really jumps out and you may find yourself singing along during the initial listen. I wonder if Rod ever thinks back to how easy it once was when you just had fun with the music and didn’t rely on watered down material and lame producers. (Gasoline Alley)

Only A Hobo
(Bob Dylan)

Even Dylan couldn’t have imagined the vocal possibilities of this song. This is Rod at his acoustic, poignant and understated best. The tragic lyric is brought to life in vivid detail. On paper this one reads like a short story that Steinbeck might have written. In the hands of Rod it becomes an indictment on a side of life that we hope we only encounter in songs and movies. The character in the song is a direct descendent of any number of nameless drifters from the songs of Jimmie Rodgers. (Gasoline Alley)

Seems Like A Long Time
(Ted Anderson)

Although I know the writer of this song I’ve never asked him how Rod got a hold of it. All I can figure is that he may have heard the Brewer & Shipley version, or maybe a publishing demo from Ted’s publisher. At the time the song had the Vietnam war as its default backdrop. Listening to it today you can imagine what is going through my mind. Rod takes the bare, but powerful lyric and gives the listener plenty to think about while listening and afterwards. If you find yourself repeating the chorus the next time you read the paper or watch the news you’re not alone. (Every Picture Tells A Story)

Street Fighting Man
(Mick Jagger-Keith Richards)

Give Rod props for taking this iconic song on so close to the Stones original. He even had the nerve to open his first solo album with it. That choice announced to the music loving public that he would make his mark by interpreting the works of others and supplement the albums with his own songs that he felt could stand along side them. As is the case with some of the others on this list his band really helps him realize his vision. At their best the recordings sound as though they were a group assembled in the alley behind your flat to perform for anyone passing by. That is a compliment because making it sound spontaneous is never easy. The charging acoustic guitars and uneven mix only add to the charm of the finished product. (The Rod Stewart Album)