Rod Stewart's first album of original material in 20 years was prompted, he says, by writing his autobiography, and he wears his heart on his sleeve on wistful, nostalgic love songs (Brighton Beach) and thoughtful divorce laments (the single, It's Over).
Musically, it runs the gamut of Rod from classic rock (opener She Makes Me Happy and the Celtic-tinged, triumphal Can't Stop Me Now) to the Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? era (Sexual Religion, which boasts a dark disco beat, synths and a throaty sax solo); Finest Woman is the Stones' Start Me Up and Little T&A rolled into one libidinous bundle, while a cover of Tom Waits's Picture in a Frame reminds me – not for the first time – how much the latter-day Mick Hucknall owes to the Rodster. The title track mixes organ, crunchy guitar and sweet backing vocals for the perfect rock ballad.
Among three extra tracks on the deluxe edition are Bonnie Raitt's Love Has No Pride, with lovely harmonies on the chorus, and Corrina Corrina, which has bluesier harmonica than Dylan's version. His voice may be sounding a teeny bit thin these days (although he still has all the high notes) but if you like Rod Stewart, you will love this album; if not, there are high points which may win you over.
Music Exchange with Shay Byrne
This week, Shay Byrne from Risin' Time (Weekdays from 5.30-7am) Sunday nights at 9pm), brings us down his memory lane.
People talk about the Summer of Love as being 1967 but for me it was 1990. I'd just left school and a gang of us headed away on 'The Trip To Tipp'. Five girls, four boys, two guitars and a newfound sense of freedom and possibility. I was smitten with a red head from Kildare named Aisling. Late on the Saturday with the sun setting and Aisling sitting beside me on the pitch at Semple Stadium we sang along to the Hothouse Flowers 'It'll Be Easier In The Morning'. And at that moment all was right with the world.