Mott the dog: Rod Stewart – Tears of Hercules – 4 stars
At 77, Rod Stewart struts his stuff again as he takes us through his 31st solo album. ‘Tears of Hercules’ is a stormer and a return to the best of Rod the Mod.
Rod Stewart took many turns in his career, first getting noticed singing for Long John Baldry’s Steampacket in 1964, before moving on to Jeff Beck and then the Faces. In 1975 Stewart left the Faces and became a superstar as a solo artist. In the UK alone he has had ten number one albums. He came onto the scene as a spiky-haired roustabout singing with a raspy voice and mesmerizing ability as a leader, with an edgy fashion sense, belting out rumble and tumble rock songs and putting on plenty of pathos. in ballads.
Later, he went through a terrible, albeit very popular, disco era (Do You Think I’m Sexy?). As his popularity waned somewhat, he sat in a rocking chair with his slippers on and released volumes of the American Songbook which were very popular with the Women’s Institute but barely rock ‘n’ roll.
Then, in 2013, something stirred and after years in the music wilderness, the front pages of every celebrity magazine (three marriages and countless long-term relationships with some of the most beautiful women in the world), he came back to do what he does best. (with the exception of women) – write and perform rock music. There had already been three albums during this period, “Time” (2013), “Another Country” (2015) and “Blood Red Roses” (2018). Now he’s overcoming them with “Tears of Hercules,” an album that, aside from the weird bloop, might fit in with his seventies classics.
Along with longtime partner and musical director Kevin Savigar, they released over forty minutes of glorious rock ‘n’ roll.
Beginning with the aptly titled “One More Time”, Rod begins retracting stories to the beat as only he can, drawing references from old and new, scraping “The Devil Wears Prada” and later, “The Sex Was Huge”. That glint in his eye is still there with a small laugh in his throat.
There are nine Rod Stewart originals and three well-chosen cover versions. The gem that is “Some Kinda Wonderful”, by John Ellison and his band Soul Brother Six, but perhaps best known for the Grand Funk Railroad hit version, as well as the highly moving version of the title track written by American songwriters Jordon/Moccia, and “These Are My People” by Johnny Cash.
In ‘Born to Boogie’ there is a wonderful rock tribute to his old bugger, Marc Bolan. Then an amorous love song to his wife Penny Lancaster-Stewart, “I Can’t Imagine.” The album ends with a loving tribute to his father on “Touchline”. Most of the songs have an infectious rhythm running through them and would go down well at any gathering.
There are a few questionable moments, particularly in the drum machine antics of ‘Kookooamabama’ (dumb title too). But these can quickly be swept under the musical carpet.
The musicality of the album is superb and it’s really nice to hear electric guitar on a Rod Stewart album.
A much appreciated return to form.
Written by Mott the dog from his closet on the dark side of Pattaya.
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