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“Rod Stewart-“Never a Dull Moment” (Audio Fidelity Limited Gold Edition)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Audio Fidelity (www.audiofidelity.net)
Genre:
Music
Release Date:
11/17/09
Musicians & Producers: Rod Stewart-/Kenny Jones-Drums/Spike Heatley- Bass/Ronnie Lane-Bass/Ian McLagan-Piano, Organ/Ron Wood-Guitar/Pete Sears-Bass & Piano/Martin Quittenton-Guitar/Producer: Rod Stewart/ Engineer: Glyn Johns/Remastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes
Extras:

Limited edition gold CD features a miniature reproduction of the original tri-fold album artwork

Review:

Before Rod Stewart slid into the mediocrity of disco and middle-of-the-road horrors like “Body Wishes” and “Human” he was a GREAT rock ‘n’ roll singer. Stewart started his recording career as a member of the Jeff Beck Group recording two albums as seminal and more essential than the first two Led Zeppelin albums. ***

After leaving Jeff Beck Group Stewart struck out on his own and with fellow Beck refugee Ron Wood decided to join The Small Faces (which changed their name to Faces to reflect the change in personal)revitalizing that group and creating a series of punchy, catchy hit singles and albums. That was soon to change because by the time Stewart left the Faces his solo career began to overshadow that great band. Unfortunately by 1977 he was a spent force musically creating an occasionally good album but spending the bulk of his career gliding along on the momentum created with his first seven solo albums. ***

“Every Picture Tells a Story” and “Gasoline Alley” stand as his two greatest achievements as a solo artist but the 1972 release “Never a Dull Moment” was a close third. Lighter on new original material than his first two solo albums “Never a Dull Moment” still finds Stewart in top form musically creating a memorable rock album that is the flip side of the folksier “Every Picture Tells a Story”. Using members of the Faces as well as those musicians that appeared on his first two solo albums, Stewart creates a hard rocking classic album that has aged remarkably well. Even the covers are close to definitive with Stewart’s cover of his idol Sam Cooke’s “Twisting the Night Away” a highlight of the album. ---

Sound:

Kevin Gray has done a remarkable job of remastering this terrific album. Admittedly, I don’t think any version that has been released to date has been bad but Dennis Drake’s original mastering of this album was the definitive version until this release. Benefiting from the advancements in digital mastering since the initial release on CD, Gray uses tube based equipment wherever possible until the stage where the album is transferred to the glass master used for reproduction of the gold CDs. ***

Gray’s master sounds warm with nice, sharp detail and clarity particularly in the midrange where Stewart’s vocals dominate. ---

Extras:

While there are no bonus tracks here we do get a miniature reproduction of the original album tri-fold vinyl packaging. If you choose you can put the CD in the beautifully reproduced packaging but it also comes with a slim CD case with credits on it as well should you choose to store it separately. Audio Fidelity has done a beautiful job with this reissue and kudos to all involved. ***

I should point out that this is also HD encoded so those who have HDCD players will be able to enjoy the higher definition transfer included as part of the encoding. ---

Final Words:

After a number of recent problems with their CD releases, Audio Fidelity strikes back with a great one-two punch in the form of “Bluesbreakers” and Stewart’s “Never a Dull Moment”. The reproduced artwork is beautifully rendered and the album itself sounds marvelous. ***

After this album Stewart's career would increasingly become uneven and erratic with occasional brilliant work sandwiched with poorly written albums that couldn't hold a candle to his best work with Jeff Beck Group, Faces or his first three solo albums. It's a pity because while he remains a fine singer he lacks the ability to produce music as memorable as he did in his prime. ***

A minor quibble but it would have been nice to have the single tracks “What’s made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)” and “Oh No, Not My Baby” included here as well (although they are available on “The Mercury Chronicles” a two disc set released in 1992 in fine sounding form). I realize that including bonus tracks can drive up the cost of these releases but one would hope that the definitive version would because it includes everything recorded around the time of the album. This is a minor point and it doesn’t detract from the terrific work that Gray and Audio Fidelity have done here. There might be those that prefer the tone or the EQ of the Drake (which is a fine sounding remaster)but I personally prefer the work that Kevin Gray has done here and, in my mind, THIS is the definitive version of this album.

 

 
 
 
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