Pazz and Jop 1971 – #3

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story

I’ve never really thought of Rod Stewart as a covers artist, at least not until his Great American Songbook phase, because his biggest hits have been (mostly) his own compositions. But looking through his catalog, he’s always put a lot of other people’s songs on his albums. I would take his version of “That’s All Right” over Elvis’ (which I’ve always found cheesy), he kills it on Dylan’s “Tomorrow is a Long Time”, he’s the rare artist who can cover a Temptations hit without embarrassing himself (god, “(I Know) I’m Losing You” is fire, especially the drum solo), and, of course, there’s “Reason to Believe”. But the best song on here might be the original, “Mandolin Wind”. Almost unbearably poignant, and my heart raced when he sped up at around the 4:45 mark. Songs like this are why I decided to do this exercise – because I’d rather live in a world where I know about “Mandolin Wind” than one where I don’t. I have no idea what made this the third best album of 1971 – I only know what I like about it. Which is sort of how we all react to music.

UPDATE: So I just replayed “Mandolin Wind” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You” while writing this. Yep, they’re bloody brilliant.

(Originally posted on Facebook, February 28, 2021)