Rod Stewart

Original Face

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In accordance with other Magnum Music Group releases, the packaging here is terrible, but the music isn't bad at all, particularly if you're interested in Stewart's shadowy pre-Jeff Beck history. This gathers 15 tracks from the mid-'60s that Stewart cut on his own, with the Hoochie Coochie Men, or with Steampacket. Most were unreleased at the time, although some did emerge as singles on Columbia and Immediate. Stewart's vocals are already good, but he's in search of a style, or more particularly some truly gripping material. He tries on blues standards by Jimmy Reed, soul by Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, and even slickly produced pop (the surprisingly fine "Day Will Come," twhich was a 1965 single on Columbia). This material's been around in a variety of guises, but this is a good condensation of his earliest recorded work. It's not quite all-inclusive; his 1964 Decca debut solo 45 is missing, as is "So Much to Say," the B-side of his 1967 release on Immediate, "Little Miss Understood."

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