Rod Stewart

The Ballad Album

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Mercury/Polygram began recycling their Rod Stewart recordings almost immediately after he left the label for Warner. Rebound's The Ballad Album and its companion, The Rock Album, are simply '90s versions of such compilations as Sing It Again Rod. And, like that record, it's enjoyable despite its haphazard collection simply because Stewart's Mercury records were so good. There are a couple of odd choices here -- his take of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man)" is strangely misguided -- but for the most part, the collection is quite enjoyable, thanks to such masterpieces as "Reason to Believe," "Mandolin Wind," "Angel," "Girl from the North Country," "Handbags and Gladrags," "Country Comforts," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time." The original albums are still preferable to budget-line compilations, but casual fans will certainly enjoy this disc without reservations.

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