Saturday, July 21, 2012

40 Year Itch: Madame Onassis Got Nothing On You

                         Never gonna own a race horse 
                       Or a fast-back mid-engine Porsche

It may have been the most magical record release day of 1972. Both The Slider, T. Rex's seventh album, and Never a Dull Moment, Rod Stewart's fourth solo album, came out July 21, 1972. Rod Stewart won the week. His album went to #1 in the UK. The Slider (which I will write about tomorrow) only hit #4. Never a Dull Moment also won the NME Pop poll for best album of 1972.

Never a Dull Moment does have some great tunes but I can't help thinking Stewart is trying to recreate his classic #1 album Every Picture Tells A Story. For both albums he had The Faces back him up so the arrangements and even the songs sound familiar. Really familiar. Every Picture Tells A Story has a Temptations cover "(I Know) I'm Losing You". Never A Dull Moment has a Sam Cooke cover ("Twisting The Night Away"). Every Picture Tells A Story's Bob Dylan cover is "Tomorrow Is A Long Time". Dull Moment's is "Mama You Been On My Mind"."Italian Girls" has the same drum fills as the title cut of "Every Picture Tells A Story" and relates another MILF done him wrong story.

 The "Maggie May" of Never a Dull Moment, the  UK#1 "You Wear It Well",  shares the same arrangement and most of the same chords. It also has a short acoustic preamble: "Interludings" (not unlike "Henry's Tune" from EPTAS). By the way there's a live 1977 Rod Stewart show featuring "You Wear It Well" on the terrific ROIO blog. 

Our deep cut is "Los Paraguayos". Rod Stewart needs some of that South American sun but he can't take his teenage lover because he might get thrown in a Mexican jail.

Both Bob Christgau and Rolling Stone's Stephen Davis said Never A Dull Moment was the best of Stewart's albums so far :

 Rod Stewart and his merrie men rock on, with the image of a happy-go-lucky tippler-musician managing to spread cheer, style and common sense through miserable times. Never A Dull Moment -- I guess the title is its own best review. 

 The good reviews would not last. After a best of collection, Sing It Again Rod, Stewart released Smiler in 1974. By then critics had caught on to his "MILF adventure, Interlude, Bob Dylan cover, Sam Cooke cover" formula and called him on it.

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