Gasoline Alley – Rod Stewart (1970)

Album no. 195/1001

Rodney Stewpot arrives on the list under his own name! No more singing with Jeff Beck, Rod’s grown up and gotten sexy – if you’re into guys with feathery hair and a croaky voice (not for me, thanks).

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: I honestly didn’t know Rod Stewart was a legitimate artist. I thought he was a bit of a joke with his Christmas albums and his ‘jazz standards’. And the hair obviously.

NK: Well, to be fair, he is a bit of a joke with those. The great american songbook and all that. Just getting those easy listening sales figures. However, this is more of a next step from when he was singing with the Jeff Beck Group and Faces (what remained when the Small Faces split up). I have heard this before.

Standout track

CL: And this is exactly what I was expecting. Middle of the road, mediocre rock rubbish.

NK: He’s not very edgy, that’s for sure. ‘Gasoline Alley’ is my pick here. It’s a weird song, there’s just Rod, an acoustic guitar and two electrics. It sounds like a demo version of a rocker, before they had the bass and drums recorded. 

CL: I don’t like anything off of this. Sorry. No primo picks for me. If I never have to hear Rod Stewart again it will be too soon.

NK: Rod only wrote a couple of the songs on this, ‘Gasoline Alley’, ‘Lady Day’ and ‘Jo’s Lament’. There’s a Dylan cover, a Shirley and Bobby Womack song that The Stones made famous, and even a track (‘Country Comfort’) by the John/Taupin songwriting team. We’ll be hearing more from them later. Interestingly, all the songs Rod wrote have a similar sound. The minimal acoustic with occasional electric guitar, no drums. Even for the time I think this would have been pretty middle of the road.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: See above. Don’t bother.

NK: If you want to be one of the cool kids but you know mum won’t approve of those Rolling Stones boys and their trendy haircuts. Mums can get around Rod Stewart.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: As you’ve already pointed out, there always has to be something available for the folk with very little edge. This is the album for that group. 

NK: Ok so I sort of feel like this is a mainstream step. It’s similar to what the stones were doing, it’s got the trappings of rock and roll, but it’s packaged in a more acceptable fashion. There’s a bit in the britpop documentary Live Forever when somebody (I THINK it was Justine Frischmann from Elastica) talks about the Robbie Williams song ‘Angels’. They say something along the lines of

“You sort of knew that this was going to be the new force. Robbie Williams making music kind of like Oasis. Once he was doing it, you knew it was over, that was the moment it was finished.”

That’s probably a bit unkind to Rod, but I certainly don’t feel like he’s pushing in a more alternative direction, put it that way.

CL: Um, I LOVE that documentary. Introduced me to the Stone bloody Roses! But anyway, that’s exactly what this is. Rod’s come in and ruined everything.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Nope. Once was enough for me.

NK: I’ll wait for Every Picture Tells A Story I reckon.

CL: Goody. Only 6 weeks to wait.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Gasoline Alley on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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