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Opening with an acoustic rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man", "The Rod Stewart Album" presented a raw combination of primarily acoustic folk, rock, blues and country which rocked harder than any other folk-rock or country-rock, and Stewart would continue in the same vein for another three albums which, along with this one, remain the best in his career ("Gasoline Alley", "Every Picture Tells A Story", and "Never A Dull Moment").
The sound is very good, and the musicianship is excellent all the way through.
Michael Waller pounds the drums. Ron Wood plays bass and guitar (including some excellent slide work) alongside guitarists Martin Pugh and longtime Stewart-ally Martin Quittenton. And another Faces member, the great Ian MacLagan, lends a hand (or two), adding his sublime piano playing to several songs.
It's hard to point out any particular highlights, because almost everything is great. With this album, Rod Stewart established that rock can sound as rich and timeless as folk, and that folk can be as vigorous as rock. And he did this not only as an interpreter, breathing new life into the traditional "Man Of Constant Sorrow", Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town", and Mike D'Abo's "Handbags And Gladrags", but also as a songwriter, penning the tough rockers "An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down" and "Cindy's Lament".