Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rod Stewart 4: Never A Dull Moment

One wonders how the superstars of the ‘70s could create so much music before cocaine became such a thing, but sure enough, Rod Stewart managed to pull together another solo album in between Faces albums and tours. Never A Dull Moment follows the pattern of his previous albums, taking a particular nod from Every Picture Tells A Story, relying mostly on acoustic instruments and covers from a wide range of sources. Somehow, however, it seems pale in comparison, and hindsight suggests this might be his turning point.
Again, the ingredients are there: “True Blue” is a strong Faces performance; “Lost Paraguayos” has that wandering bassline and verses that refuse to rhyme; “Mama You Been On My Mind” is an inspired arrangement of a then-unreleased Dylan song; “Italian Girls” a cross between “True Blue” and “Lost Paraguayos” that seems to predict the Stones’ “Silver Train” until the lovely slowdown. And that’s just side one.
Side two is nearly a mirror, with three covers and just one original. First there’s Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel”, which concentrates on the song rather than the pyrotechnics, though we could do without the bongos. “Interludings” is a 40-second guitar piece supposedly written by Ron Wood’s brother Art, and serves as an intro to “You Wear It Well”, otherwise known as that song that sounds exactly like “Maggie May”. “I’d Rather Go Blind” was a B-side a few years earlier by Etta James, and thankfully gets more exposure here. Sam Cooke’s “Twistin’ The Night Away” provides a nice “party” ending, as opposed to a soft benediction.
We don’t want to say Never A Dull Moment is an oxymoronic description of the contents, but perhaps the pressure of following two strong albums was too much. It’s not like he was trying to make some kind of art statement anyway—except in the cover design, which always seems upside down and inside out.

Rod Stewart Never A Dull Moment (1972)—3

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