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The best Rod collection yet

Rod Stewart - The Definitive Rod Stewart
(Warner Bros.)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Nov. 10, 2008
Rod Stewart

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Searching for a proper Rod Stewart career compilation is a tricky task, especially when several pop up from his pre-radio days and others omit major singles from his latter years. Though The Definitive Rod Stewart isn't totally perfect, it comes pretty darn close across two CDs, thirty classic tracks and one previously unreleased tune culled from the Warner Brothers annals. No, this doesn't include his Great American Songbook era, and while those easy going projects put the rugged rocker back on the map in calmer contexts, they really aren't missed given the more aggressi"e nature of the set.

The first disc is by far the better if only for the more intense nature of Stewart's material, starting with the gloriously gravely "Maggie May," mo"ing on to the crunching guitars of "Every Picture Tells a Story" and the bawdy brawler "You Wear It Well." His time in Faces is represented with the iconic "Stay With Me," while the well preserved "The First Cut Is the Deepest" sounds just as fresh as Sheryl Crow's version three decades later. Rock purists could easily dismiss the disco decadence of "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?," but it was a major single and needs to be included for historical sake.

Disc two starts off a little bit dated with the 80s dance cut "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)" and a keyboard-infused cover of "Some Guys Have All the Luck." Thankfully it rebounds with the Tom Waits-penned classic "Downtown Train" and Stewart's own signature song "Forever Young. An unplugged take on "an Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" is also a key career cut, though his reunion with Ronnie Wood on the acoustic "Reason To Believe" is truly the highlight of the second half. The project ends with the unreleased track "Two Shades of Blue," an elegant ballad taken from 1998's When We Were the New Boys sessions that adds an extra incentive to this one stop shop of Rod the Mod's most memorable moments.

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Watch Rod Stewart - "You Wear It Well"

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