Rod Stewart

Angel: The Love Collection

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Angel is a collection of Rod Stewart's "love" songs from his Mercury years. As such, there are a number of tunes here that don't quite fit under the aegis of romantic love, but they all do signify something about the man's ability as a singer -- in his heyday, of course -- to bring the listener's heart first to the songs. The Mercury recordings are magical and almost ageless in their depth and breadth. These 18 cuts feature some of his readings of classic numbers like Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe," Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" and "Mama You Been on My Mind," Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Country Comforts" (which blows the original away), and Mike d'Abo's "Handbags and Gladrags." Inarguably Stewart's versions are among the best if not definitive ones. His treatment of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel," for which the collection is named, may not be definitive, but it is at least unique. Stewart's own tunes stack up quite well in this collection: "Mandolin Wind," "Man of Constant Sorrow," "You Wear It Well," "Jodie" (written with mates Ron Wood and Ian McLagan), to name a few. If you've got the Mercury stuff, then there is nothing new here for you, but if you haven't, this is a decent introduction to Stewart when he was still hungry and chasing songs rather than money.

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