Remember them basement parties, your brother's karate....
Released July 1972
Recorded at Morgan Studios and Olympic Studios, London
Rod Stewart's fourth solo album follows the same excellent blues/folk/soul/rock path that was so successful on the previous year's "Every Picture Tells A Story". Once again, members of The Faces make large contributions so the album is, once again, very much like a Faces album.
2. Lost Paraguayos
3. Mama You Been On My Mind
4. Italian Girls
7. You Wear It Well
8. I'd Rather Go Blind
9. Twistin' The Night Away
"True Blue" is a fabulous rocking opener - great riffs, drums, blues rock vocals from Stewart and another one of those "Stay With Me" rocking instrumental (with added vocals) endings that end things on such a high note. "Lost Paraguayos" is one of those mandolin-drive folky rock workouts like "Reason To Believe" and "Mandolin Wind". Again, excellent, thumping drum backing from Kenney Jones and top notch work from the whole band. The quality continues into another impressive, steel guitar-dominated Dylan cover, "Mama You Been On My Mind". As mentioned in the review of the previous album, Stewart rarely, if ever, gets his Dylan covers wrong.
The massive hit single, "You Wear It Well", is almost the match of "Maggie May". It gets as much radio play, even now, and is up there in Rod's top five. It is another "character" song about a woman, in the "Maggie May" mould. Its intriguing lyrics certainly are worn well in the song. "I've been meaning to phone yah, but from Minnesot-agh..." has Stewart showing off his vocal affectations to the max.
Stewart's tribute to the recently-deceased Jimi Hendrix, "Angel" is soulful and beautiful. A worthy dedication to a great, departed genius. "Italian Girls" is a pure Faces rocker, dominated by Ronnie Wood's guitar and yet another convincing Stewart vocal.
"I Would Rather Go Blind" sees Stewart impressively taking on the Etta James soul classic, rather in the fashion he attacked The Temptations' "I Know I'm Losing You", full of grit, blues energy and balls. Rod could cover soul, make no mistake about that. Once again, The Faces and the other musicians are outstanding on this. Then, to finish, Stewart covers a song from another of his heroes, Sam Cooke. "Twistin' The Night Away" is a true delight, fast, rocking, full of soulful vigour and marvellously catchy. Oh, and there is that great drum rat-a-tat bit near the end.
Only four original tracks - "True Blue", "Lost Paraguayos", "Italian Girls" and "You Wear It Well". No matter, the covers are of such a high quality that it still makes for a excellent album. The original 8-track cartridge release apparently included the country-rock hit single "What Made Milwaukee Famous", which was ok, but somewhat lightweight and certainly is not missed here.