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The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998
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Warner Bros. goes deep into the vaults to reveal the secret studio history of this very public performer with a boxed set of unreleased recordings chosen from sessions spanning 1971-1998. Encompassing more than 25 years, this collection's 63 songs, outtakes, and ephemera provide extraordinary insight into the studio work of one of rock's legendary figures and paints a picture of what might have been. Many of these performances are more stripped-down and intimate than their released counterparts, so the set becomes an illustration and a showcase of Rod's creative process.
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The "Rod Stewart Sessions" covers Stewart's career over 27 years and four discs capturing the best outtakes, previously unreleased tracks and rarities that any Stewart fan would want. The first disc remains the strongest but there are gems from even the weakes part of Stewart's career varying from a recording made to yank the chain of record company executives to jumping into the blues material that influenced Stewart early on but that he had largely abadoned in favor of more mainstream styles and material.
The handsome book included with the set covers the material included here but also puts them within the context of the albums he was making at the time.
The mastering is very good for this set keeping the dynamics largely intact for the original recordings. Dan Hersch and Dave Schultz do an exceptionally good job here (some will quibble with their choices but it's all down to personal taste I suppose). The project was spearheaded by Andy Zax and Cheryl Pawelski (who went on to found her own reissue label) and they should be recognized for the hard work it took to comb through the various session recordings for this boxed set.
The later material on the third and fourth disc has its highs (Stewart's cover of "Let The Day Begin" originally recorded by The Call and written by the late Michael Been) and lows (I'm not much of a fan of "Sweet Surrender") and isn't quite as consistent as the first two in my humble opinion but each has its merit.
This set has such a wealth of unreleased tracks that any fan of Faces or Stewart wll find it essential.
I made my living for quite a while as a photographer and shot Rod many, many times onstage and backstage. Since those ancient times I've dealt with many graphic designers, ad agencies, etc... so I'm hyper critical about good design versus bad.
All this to tell you that... this is simply the most beautifully designed box set I've ever held in my hands. It's just exquisitely done. It's a jaw dropper.
Whoever did this design understands Rod, understands Rod's most serious fans, and understands the fine craft of Art Deco. Imagine some Busby Berkeley 30's movie with huge deco apartments high above Manhattan... and rich folks flitting about in tails and silk dresses... think of those amazing sets from those old black and white films and it's as if whoever designed those designed this box set.
Highly, highly recommended, fellow Rod fans, you'll be thrilled.
If they give a Grammy for box set design, I nominate this one.
Anyway, back to 'The Sessions' set; an excellent compilation and most beautifully packaged - and definitely a MUST-HAVE for anyone who has followed the career of Rod Stewart, now in its fifth decade and showing no sign of waining. Indeed, his latest album 'SOULBOOK' reveals that Rod's unique voice is as good as ever, and proves beyond all doubt that he posseses the excellent skill and ability of turning his hand to any classic song and making it all his very own.
Geoff Garoghan. ©
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I was just on a music blog & folks were discussing how incredible this is.
I purchased it right here from Amazon back in 2009.Read more