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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Rod Stewart – Atlantic Crossing + A Night On The Town (Warner Bros. Records CD Sets)

Rod Stewart – Atlantic Crossing + A Night On The Town (Warner Bros. Records CD Sets)


Sound: B-/B     Music: B-



I miss the real Rod Stewart.  Not that someone is going around impersonating him recently covering music he should never sing, but the real human that is Rod Stewart no longer wants to sing the Rock & Pop that made him a star.  Of course, he started repeating himself in odd ways with the Unplugged concert, which you can read more about at this link:





That has left us with hit sets to remind us of how much fun he used to be, including an expanded version of his Warner years called Definitive, even if it was missing some key songs on the DVD:





Now, Warner is issuing expanded versions of his first albums for the label and they are interesting to revisit, but remind us that even then, remakes and covers were always his shortcoming.  Atlantic Crossing (1975) and A Night On The Town (1976) made for an interesting trade-off that had Stewart leaving Mercury Records and the rich Rock like Maggie May and other hits that made him one of the greatest vocalists of his time for a fresh new dynamic sound that was a little more Pop oriented.  Fortunately, he was in the hands of the great Producer Tom Dowd.


Still on a roll when he switched labels, Crossing did not have any Top 40 hits, but was Top Ten album and his biggest in three years at a time when then-new FM radio was playing album cuts without singles.  It also sold on the strength of his name and became a fan favorite.  The new CD set includes the whole album, then adds a second CD with three outtakes and an entire alternate version of the album that is very interesting to hear on its own and compare to what was released.  Songs include:


1)     Three Times A Loser

2)     Alright For An Hour

3)     All In The Name Of Rock ‘N’ Roll

4)     Drift Away

5)     Stone Cold Sober

6)     I Don’t Want To Talk About It

7)     It’s Not The Spotlight

8)     This Old Heart Of Mine

9)     Still Love You

10)  Sailing

11)  Skye Boat Song



The final song is here as a bonus track and repeated in the alternate section on CD 2, which opens with To Love Somebody, Holy Cow and Return To Sender with The MG’s.  With its great Glam Rock era cover art of a giant Stewart stepping (a gatefold album repeated here in the DigiPak and in the bonus booklet’s cover) over the ocean to the U.S., it is impressive how well Stewart and Dowd instantly clicked.  Though I do not have any one favorite song here, the new side that came out of Stewart was dynamic and then new in a way that stayed with him for the rest of his career.


A Night On The Town was an even huger commercial success, becoming his biggest album since the masterwork Every Picture Tells A Story and spawning the mega #1 hit Tonight’ The Night (Gonna Be Alright), putting Stewart and the album through the roof.  Tow more hits followed and the songs this time include:


1)     Tonight’ The Night (Gonna Be Alright)

2)     The First Cut is The Deepest

3)     Fool For You

4)     The Killing Of George (Part I & II)

5)     The Balltrap

6)     Pretty Flamingo

7)     Big Bayou

8)     The Wild Side Of Life

9)     Trade Winds

10)  Rosie



Again, the last song is a bonus track, repeated on CD 2 as part of a set of early version of all the songs originally released.  Tracks 2 and 4 were the other Pop hits (only making the Top 30) and Tonight remains the biggest of his 5 #1 hits.  A studio outtake (Share) and Beatles classic (Get Back) open and close CD 2.  Again, the sound was very dynamic for the time and ahead of its time, standing out among many increasingly clean-sounding recordings at a time when it took real musicians, producers, engineers and music lovers of talent to cut a record before everything became mechanical, recycled and standards plummeted.


Unfortunately, the only sound versions here are PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo that does not reveal how fine these recordings can be and the first CD of Crossing in particular is more compressed than expected.  The bonus songs on the second CDs sound really good.  Both have nicely illustrated booklets that include technical information and essays on the music and the people who made it.  Both sets are worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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