Mercury/ Universal 2013
Review by David Bowling
Calling all Rod Stewart fans! A new two-disc CD titled Rarities has just been released. It probably will not appeal to the average music fan who only wants to hear his hits but for the hard-core fan of his music, it is nirvana as it fills in a lot of gaps in his catalogue of music.
His career has just passed the half-century mark. By the early 1970s he was a star with The Faces and as a solo artist. His breakthrough album was 1971’s Every Picture Tells A Story, which produced the huge hit “Maggie May.” That song appears in two very different versions. There is an early version with unfinished lyrics and a 1971 rendition from a BBC Radio Session, which presents the song as a polished classic. “You Wear It Well” is another well-known song that appears as a work in progress.
1974’s Smiler sessions yielded a number of tracks. The sad and somewhat gloomy “So Tired” and “Missed You,” plus a cover of Stealer’s Wheel “You Put Something Better Inside Of Me” did not make it onto the album. A very interesting track is “Think I’ll Pack My Bags,” which became the Ron Wood written “Mystifies Me.” Also of interest are alternate versions of Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” and his twist on Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” which he changes to Man.
A number of singles, with Faces and without, are also included. “Oh No Not My Baby,” “Jodie,” “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me),” “It’s All Over Now,” and “Pinball Wizard” are all good examples of his early career style and sound.
Rarities gather a number of odd and unusual tracks into one release. As such, it falls into the category of a niche release. If you are a Rod Stewart completest then this will be a valuable addition to your collection and if not, there are a lot of greatest hits compilations out there.