From 1969 to 1974, Rod made a series of albums for Mercury that established him as one of rock's most distinctive voices. Rarities, out September 2nd via Mercury/UMe, features alternate versions, non-LP singles, B-sides, studio outtakes and BBC Radio One performances of music from his five albums, The Rod Stewart Album (1969), Gasoline Alley (1970), Every Picture Tells a Story (1971), Never a Dull Moment (1972) and Smiler (1974).
Included are covers of songs by The Who (Pinball Wizard), Bob Dylan (Girl from the North Country), Gerry Goffin and Carole King (Oh! No Not My Baby, the gender-bending [You Make Me Feel] Like a Natural Man with Jerry Wexler), Jimi Hendrix (Angel), Cole Porter (Every Time We Say Goodbye), Jerry Lee Lewis (What Made Milwaukee Famous [Has Made a Loser Out of Me]), Brewer & Shipley (Seems Like a Long Time) and Stealer’s Wheel (You Put Something Better Inside of Me).
The collection also spotlights alternative takes on such Stewart classics as Maggie May and Elton John/Bernie Taupin’s Country Comfort, recorded with the Faces’ guitarist Ron Wood, bassist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, live for BBC Radio One, both of which are previously unreleased.
Among the two-disc set’s other highlights are re-workings of Gasoline Alley’s Bobby Womack by way of Rolling Stones’ It’s All Over Now, in its leaner, edited version released as a single, and two separate versions of Every Picture Tells a Story’s #1 U.S./U.K. hit Maggie May, one an early rendition with completely different, unfinished lyrics, the other a September 1971 performance on BBC Radio One that is available for the first time on an official release. Offering a peak into Stewart’s future successful series of albums extolling the Great American Songbook is a cover of Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye, as well as a version of Jerry Lee Lewis’ weepy, honky-tonk lament, What Made Milwaukee Famous [Has Made a Loser Out of Me], originally the non-LP B-side of the single which featured Jimi Hendrix’s Angel. Rarities also includes both sides of the 1973 single — credited to Rod Stewart and the Faces — featuring the Goffin/King-penned Maxine Brown hit Oh! No Not My Baby and the Stewart/Wood/McLagan collaboration Jodie, co-produced by Stewart and Wood, with Rod backed by Wood, McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones.
As Scott Schinder’s Rarities liner notes put it, “For many serious fans, Stewart’s Mercury years represent his creative peak, and the music that he made during that period retains a special place in the hearts of his admirers.”
•It's All Over Now (Single Version)
•Country Comforts (BBC Radio 1 Performance)
•Maggie May (Early Version)
•Seems Like a Long Time (Alternate Version)
•Lost Paraguayos (Alternate Version)
•Italian Girls (Early Version)
•You Wear It Well (Early Version)
•I'd Rather Go Blind (Alternate Version)
•Angel (Alternate Version)
•What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)
•Pinball Wizard (From 'Tommy')
•Everytime We Say Goodbye (Summer 1973 Sessions)
•Oh! No Not My Baby
•Think I'll Pack My Bags (Early Version of Mystifies Me)
•Girl From The North County (Alternate Version)
•(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man (Alternate Version)
•Farewell (Early Version)
•So Tired (Early Version)
•You Put Something Better Inside Of Me
•Crying Laughing Loving Lying
•Maggie May (BBC Radio 1 Performance)