on 17 November 2003
My Dad is a Rod Stewart fan and I grew up listening to Handbags & Gladrags and the like. I got older and missed out his pretty-boy middle period. Then I was sitting watching Parky the other night and on came Rod and performed these fantastic versions of the standards. I bet every cabaret singer in the world has some of these in their repertoire. I think the Amazon reviewer misses the point - it is precisely Rod's detached and laconic style which makes these songs interesting listening. Listen to the orchestration and various instrumental solos. His voice is simply another instrument in the band and it works well.
I am sick of "Pop Idol" type pap that is being fed to us. It is great to hear somebody who can do it without being over-produced. Would any of those pop idols stand up and sing without need for overdubs, underdubs, scrubs and rubs?! I think not.
Great easy-listening, great in the car - although I do drive a Saab!
on 24 October 2003
No one can deny Rod Stewart is a survivor having weathered four decades of rock, disco, pop, and countless hits such as "Maggie May," "Hot Legs," "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" and even a couple misses such as "Baby Jane" and "Almost Illegal."
Yet, he took a chance last year; a gamble if you will with AMERICAN SONGBOOK and dazzled a whole new group of fans including my 73-year-old mom with age old classics ranging from: "You Go To My Head" and "The Way You Look Tonight."
Well, it obviously paid off; hence his latest effort.
In a word, this work is a gem; a true beauty proving not only to any and all critics of the spiky haired Scotsman he's certainly got what it takes; talent, and lots of it.
Take it from me, a faithful fan of over twenty-five years, SONGBOOK VOLUME II is a seamless compilation that demands a listen, or two, or three, with the possible exception of the last track, "My Favorite Things," this is a true musical masterpiece.
Stewart's soulful sound perfectly suits these age old beauties particularly "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," a sultry, seductive duet with Cher, playfully crooning about forbidden love, not to mention, the title track, "As Time Goes By," proves another perfect fit with rapper/actress Queen Latifah. "Where or When," is equally flawless with haunting lyrics and a splash of longing wistfulness.
Enough said, listen for yourself...
Take a bow, Rod. By the way, I smell a Grammy...
on 12 November 2003
I've never been a Rod Stewart fan but saw him on the Parkinson Show. Nearly switched channels but hung on to hear a couple of numbers from this CD. Just had to buy it but expected to hate the other tracks. I was blown away, it's superb. The duet with Cher is a classic. If you like songs that have words and music you can listen to instead of the usual racket we get deluged with, then get this CD pronto. Mr S has shot up a few rungs on my popularity ladder.
on 24 March 2016
Rod Stewart was born Roderick Stewart on January 10, 1945 in Highgate, London, England. He initially started as folk singer in Europe in the early 1960s. He later joined Jeff Beck Group (1967-1969), Faces (1969-1975), plus solo recordings during this time. He left Faces in December 1975, and since then had an illustrious solo career. He has 57 charted entries on Billboard Hot 100 (from 1970 to 1999), with 4 No. 1 singles (Maggie May 1(5)/1971, Tonight’s the Night (1(8)/1976), Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? (1(4)/1978) and All For Love (duet with Bryan Adams)(1(3)/1993). He has 42 charted albums on Billboard 200, with the most recent release Time peaking at No. 7 in 2013.
His album releases in the late 1990s were getting a little stagnant, he switched label to J Records, and rejuvenated a new peak in his recording career by recording the Great American Songbook series. Here, he used his raspy voice and gave his interpretations to those old standards. In other words, you get a new feel to those beloved oldies from the 30s and 40s. There are 5 volumes, and they were all selling well:
Volume 1: It Had To Be You (4/2002)(J Records 20039)
Volume 2: As Time Goes By (2/2003)(J Records 55710)
Volume 3: Stardust (1/2004)(J Records 62182)
Volume 4: Thanks For The Memory (2/2005)(J Records 69286)
Volume 5: Fly Me To The Moon (4/2010)(J Records 76609)
Plus two similar releases: Still The Same…Great Rock Classics Of Our Time (1/2006) and Soulbook (4/2009).
As Time Goes By: the Great American Songbook Volume 2 has 14 songs. Although the song listing is in the website, I have added information about original versions (artist, chart position and year), plus personal comments. I personally have created a separate series called Great American Songbook Collection (original versions), with songs chosen by Rod Stewart in his Songbook series, but featuring the original artists who made those old standards popular. To truly appreciate those old standards, one really has to listen to them…a wonderful enjoyable experience:
01 Time After Time (original version: Frank Sinatra)(16/1947)
02 I’m In The Mood For Love (original version: Little Jack Little & His Orchestra)(1(3)/1935)*Other charted versions include those by Louis Armstrong and Frances Langford; my personal favourite is the version by Enoch Light & the Light Brigade in his Persuasive Percussion Volume 1.
03 Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (original version: Inkspots)(2(3)/1943)
04 Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered (original version: Doris Day)(9/1950)
05 Till There Was You (original version: Shirley Jones)(1962)*featured in the musical The Music Man; this song was also done by the Beatles.
06 Until The Real Thing Comes Along (original version: Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy)(1(2)/1936)*other charted versions include Fats Waller, Jan Garber, and Inkspots.
07 Where Or When (original version: Hal Kemp & His Orchestra, vocal: Bob Allen)(1/1937)*other versions include Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, Dion & Belmonts and the Lettermen.
08 Smile (original version: Nat King Cole)(10/1954)*written by Charlie Chaplin for the 1936’s film “Modern Times”
09 My Heart Stood Still (original version: Artie Shaw & His Orchestra)(1939)*written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the musical The Connecticut Yankee.
10 Someone To Watch Over Me (original version: George Olsen & His Orchestra)(3/1927)*written by George and Ira Gershwin; other pop versions include that by Sarah Vaughan, Margaret Whiting, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra
11 As Time Goes By (original version: Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees)(15/1931 & 1(4)/1943)*of course, Dooley Wilson’s version in the movie Casablanca was also a standard, but did not chart. My own favourite version is that by Johnny Nash (43/1959)
12 I Only Have Eyes For You (original version: Ben Selvin & His Orchestra)(2/1934)*other charted versions include Eddy Duchin, later by the Flamingos, Lettermen and Art Garfunkel.
13 Crazy She Calls Me (original version: Billie Holiday)(1949)
14 Our Love Is Here To Stay (original version: Larry Clinton & His Orchestra, vocal: Bea Wain)(15/1938)*Dinah Washington also charted (89/1962)
The remastered sound is fantastic, clean, clear and concise, with Rod’s voice smacked in the middle. All the different instruments in the orchestra are clearly defined. The final result is warm and vibrant sound. The credits should go to producers Phil Ramone and Richard Perry. His duets with Cher in Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered, and Queen Latifah in As Time Goes By, are simply outstanding. There is also a 16-page booklet, containing essay and lyrics.
One familiar feature in each of the 5 volumes of the American Songbook series is the inclusion of Prologue or Intro' to these familiar songs, whenever available, and with no fail. I really appreciate this gesture, giving a more complete review of that song. Wonderful idea!
This second volume when it was first released in 2003 was very well received. Rod Stewart did a fantastic job in giving us his interpretation of these old standards. The sound is wonderful, giving these songs a fresh finished layer. When you listen to Rod’s versions, I urge you to listen to the original versions too. You will have a new deeper appreciation to these old standards. If you like Rod Stewart and also old standards, this second volume is highly recommended.
on 8 July 2010
of the two "great american songbook" albums the second is slightly more attractive than the first. But both bring back happy memories, are very listenable-to, and have some great backing from saxophone and other instruments. You probably benefit more if you actually remember the songs and their lyrics from an earlier part of your life, but they make good, restful backing to conversation or cooking.
on 12 February 2012
Rod Stewart continues his success from his first songbook here. If you liked the first one, you will like this one. Nice repertoire and he sings them well. Nice for sitting back and listening, or as background music to create a relaxed, upbeat and pleasant mood for your favorite dinner guests, lover or while doing household chores. This is not rock music, but American songs from the era of the great songwriters. He does a great duet with Cher, whose rich, full voice almost overpowers him but is a great contrast and complement to his raspy voice. There is a second duet with Queen Latifah, which is also good but not outstanding like the one with Cher. He does well on duets; I wish he would do more. Recommended purchase.