111 of 125 people found the following review helpful
A soon to be classic CD by a classic voice...,
This review is from: It Had to Be You... The Great American Songbook (Audio CD)
Initially, I cringed when I first learned Rod Stewart was to release a CD of "standards". How could Rock-n-Roll's most unique voice opt for this particular venue? Rod is a rocker, not a Sinatra or a Bennett! Surely it would be a travesty for rock, as well as a slap in the face to all the legendary performers who had originally introduced these timeless standards. Admittedly, as a lover of both genres, I was skeptical; now, I'm happy to say I was wrong. In retrospect, it is only appropriate that he now explore this type of music as an artist.
Over a career that spans almost 40 years, Rod has sang rock, blues, R&B, soul, ballads, pop and most recently, hip-hop. Now we are offered Rod Stewart as crooner. The transition has been a long time coming. After hearing "Songbook", one has to admit it is also long overdue. Originally, some, like myself, may be erroneously tempted to confine Rod to a specific genre. Unfortunately, when one often thinks of Stewart, visions of the "rock star"...the loud clothes, spiked hair and raucous onstage antics immediately come to mind. In fact, it is these very perceptions that have overshadowed his career and misled so many, particularly Stewart's critics over the years. The image has for so long obscured Rod's true talent, his uniquely amazing voice, which has always been his greatest asset.
On "The Great American Songbook", it's ALL about the voice. Rod Stewart's voice is now truly showcased as never before. The familiar raspiness is still there, yet refined, mature and smooth as silk. When listening to this new release, one would almost think that these songs were originally written with Rod in mind. His delivery is passionately sincere and hauntingly valid. It would have been easy for Stewart to simply "cover" these classics, as many other artists have done in the past and, I might add, failed miserably at it. This is not the case with "Songbook". Instead, Rod has interpreted these songs as only he can do, making them his own while reinventing and defining them for an entirely new generation to appreciate and savor. While remaining true to the original musical arrangements, Stewart adds a soulful, modern twist to the vocals. Think Sam Cooke and Billie Holiday being channeled at the same time.
Whether one likes Rod Stewart or not, whether one is a diehard rock fan or a lover of these classic standards, this CD is a must have and deserves a listen. Like the timeless classics showcased in this release, Rod Stewart's voice also stands the test of time. With the release of "Songbook", it is only fitting that he now be included on the exclusive list of legendary vocalists. Rod has earned that.
Young, old, or in between, "Songbook" speaks to us all. It appeals to a much wider audience than anything Rod has ever done in his long career and should be greatly received. It's definitely a refreshing change to some of the material currently being released today in music. For those who thought Rod was a "has been", think again! For those who would pigeon hole Rod into one specific category, I dare you to think outside the box. Personally, I hear a Grammy nod in the not so distant future...