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    Rod Stewart

    Atlantic Crossing 7 ( 1975 )
    Three Time Loser / Alright for an Hour / All in the Name of Rock 'n' Roll / Drift Away / Stone Cold Sober / I Don't Want to Talk About It / It's Not the Spotlight / This Old Heart of Mine / Still Love You / Sailing

    The common consensus is that 1975 was the worst year for music in pop history. Well, that didn't stop Rod Stewart from having one of his biggest selling albums, an album that splits the Rod fan-base due to inclusion of one particular hit, that windy wet ballad 'Sailing'. Tucked away at the end of a 'slow half' 'Sailing' isn't really enough of a reason to actively dislike 'Atlantic Crossing'. 1975 actually was something of a crossroads for Stewart too, pun inexcusable, as he'd moved to America, The Faces were about to split and he had split from long-term writing partner, the amusingly named Martin Quittenton. So, together with producer Tom Dowd, Rod streamlined his sound, ditching the folkier elements that had touched each of his previous five solo albums. The musicians here included the MGs, with which Stewart taped some tunes which have recently emerged as out-takes on a double-edition of 'Atlantic Crossing'. On the album proper you've also got some of the Mgs guys as well as a whole host of top American musicians. As a result 'Atlantic Crossing' is tight without losing the energy of the best work Stewart had recorded thus far as a solo artist and as singer with The Faces. The Stewart penned 'All In The Name Of Rock n Roll' is a good example of how these musicians transform the material. With worse musicians, this would be dodgy pub-rock yet with these musicians there is much to savour, at least musically. Lyrically any song titled 'All In The Name Of Rock n Roll' is hardly going to be Shakespeare, is it?

    The slow side of the album begins strongly with Stewart claiming Danny Whitten's (Crazy Horse/Neil Young) 'I Don't Want To Talk About It' as his own. Loathe or tolerate Stewart, you'd be a cold-hearted person not to admit Stewart puts in a superlative vocal peformance here. The sole Stewart original of the slow half of the album arrives with 'Still Love You', the nearest to old folkie Stewart we get, at least until the big Tom Dowd production comes in. That just leaves 'Sailing' to close, a song you'll hate until you are at least in your forties, I should think. Me? I'm thirty-five at the time of writing. Think i've a few more years to wait, then. Well, i'm old enough you see to remember this song all over British radio and television seemingly forever, even though I was only a year old when it first came out.

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    Readers Comments

    Klass Riga
    n fact I agree with you on this. but as someone growing up in this absurd soviet empire where 'sailing' was one of the few western pop hits you could hear time to time, i have a bit different feeling regarding this particular track - even if it's based just on personal sentiments (and i never trust anything based somewhere else). so everything depends... neverthelss it's not 'maggie mae' or 'mandolin wind' or even 'you're in my heart', that's for sure./tr>

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    A Night On The Town 6 ( 1976 )
    Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) / The First Cut Is the Deepest / Fool for You / The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II) / The Balltrap / Pretty Flamingo / Big Bayou / The Wild Side of Life / Trade Winds

    This was Rod's second album for Warner Brothers and follows the formula of his first LP for that label almost exactly, apart from switching around the slow and fast sides so here we have a slow side to start rather than end. Four Stewart originals join five covers and many of the same musicians are involved throughout 'A Night On The Town' and Tom Dowd again produces. Put these two albums together and you'd have one hell of a double album but as it is, well, we don't. We do have a perfectly acceptable commercial mid-tempo ballad to open the album that's ruined by some French lady whispering at the end. We do have Stewart covering Cat Stevens and proving again what a good interpreter of material he is by taking 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' into the charts. Stewarts 'The Killing Of Georgie' wraps up the first half of the album, the slow half, and hopefully you haven't fallen asleep. The songs on this slow-half aren't as good as the slow half of 'Atlantic Crossing' - it's as simple as that. Well, you can view 'A Night On The Town' itself as either a continuation of 'A Night On The Town' or less charitably, as a 'b-side' to the superior 'Atlantic Crossing'.

    The rock side of 'A Night On The Town' is where the majority of the covers are contained this time out. 'The Balltrap' is reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, pleasingly so. 'The Wild Side Of Life' is also decent enough yet between these tracks, 'A Night On The Town' struggles again to maintain interest and momentum. 'Trade Winds' even manages to ruin the conceptual flow, being a big, bad power ballad that's utterly trying the patience of me right this very minute. It even makes 'Sailing' look like a masterpiece of pop music, an all time great to rival The Beatles 'Let It Be'. Hmmm, i'm dissapointed with 'A Night On The Town', although fans will no doubt want to snap up the two-disc collectors edition released in 2009, that's if they haven't done so already. The best song on the original album is the one you'll most likely have heard, 'Tonight's The Night'.

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    top of page this page last updated 23/08/09

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