Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 03:56PM
First a confession.
Prior to my July 1 trip to Montreal, I was in the library and happened upon a couple of Rod Stewart discs from his series, The Great American Songbook.
Sure, why not, I said to myself. Normally a fan of talk radio while I drive along, I realized that there are certain parts of western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont (and indeed of southern Quebec) which fall outside radio range (at least in the daytime).
So I checked out volumes two and three of the four volume series even though I wasn't at all sure I'd spend much time listening to Rod Stewart. No sooner had I gotten a few miles outside of Concord (doing my survey of cars breaking the speed limit) than I decided to give Rod a try.
I was hooked; I was captivated; I was bewitched immediately by the beauty, and I soon discovered that I preferred Rod Stewart to talk radio, at least much of the time.
Many of us fell for Rod back in the Maggie May days (I was at Plymouth State at the time; I remember doing sports at WPCR when the djs were playing the song constantly). Then there was the over the top Do You Think I'm Sexy? (I was living is Ashland, writing for a weekly newspaper at the time--yes we grew up with Rod Stewart). Of course, some punk friends of mine remember him from the Faces days.
The Killing of Georgie, in the mid-70s, about the gang slaying of a young gay man on the streets of New York, has become perhaps my favorite all time song, and I play it often on my TV show when I talk about gay marriage and other equality issues.
I've enjoyed Rod Stewart talking about his family, his voice problems and his love for soccer (he did a particularly great hour with Joy Behar before Headline News unwisely cancelled her show).
Thankfully, his voice is fine, as good--if not better than ever.
The Great American Songbook is, all things considered, not something rock and rollers will remember Rod Stewart for, but it's a tremendous accomplishment. This collection of quiet songs, mostly love songs from the big band era, is a rare treat, a precious find.
Four duets (with female singers) stand out by themselves. Hey, that's Cher I thought when I heard Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered. Sure enough, it was.
The duet with Dolly Parton for Baby, It's Cold Outside is especially delicious--cute might be too cute a word to describe it.
Then there's As Time Goes By with Queen Latifah and I'll Take Manhattan with Bette Midler.
These discs are due back at the library, but guess what--I think I'll break down and buy all four.
They're wonderful; they're marvelous (a song itself).
And they sure beat having to listen to Michael Savage screaming about how the Irish Mafia (Rupert Murdock, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity) has taken over Fox News. That's what I was listening to on the way back July 3 when I decided, "Enough talk radio. More Rod Stewart please."
My favorite track--Don't Get Around Much Any More. Lest I forget, while no one could ever match Louis Armstrong with What A Wonderful Word, Rod Stewart's version is outstanding with a strangely appealing harmonica background from Stevie Wonder.