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Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)

April 7, 2013

[Album 166/1001]220px-EveryPictureTellsaStory

Sometimes you can tell if you’re going to enjoy an album within the first few seconds.  Every Picture Tells a Story (the song + the record) begins with a 12-string guitar walk-down, culminating in a nice drop D chord as Rod howls the opening lyric.  Clearly this was going to be just fine.

For all the highlights, this record was a tale of two mandolin features:

1) Mandolin Wind – A pleasant tune, but strangely its instrument namesake is the least effective part.  When it makes its grand entry at 2:37, the double-tracking is dizzying.  It improves somewhat with a pattern change at 3:02, but it was tough to shake the image of the Flight of the Conchords digital guitar/electric mandolin setting (at 1:05 of the clip): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT5AQIlmM0I

2) Maggie May – I had forgotten the mandolin doesn’t appear until the outro (at 4:27).  What an appearance though!  This is the definitive pop mandolin feature and if I were asked to compile a High Fidelity-esque ‘Top 5 Song Outros,’ it would consistently make the cut.

One would think such a prominent performance would lead to instant worldwide recognition as a Mandolin Virtuoso.  Alas, apparently at the time, Rod didn’t think learning the guest mandolin player’s name was essential.  The somewhat flippant sleeve credit: “The mandolin was played by the mandolin player in Lindisfarne. The name slips my mind.”

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From → 1970s

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