Review: “Soulbook,” Rod Stewart
OK, enough is enough. Yeah, I know Rod Stewart has been selling a shitload of records with his “Songbook” series. And I realize that boomer nostalgia is golden and it makes those cash registers ring. And really, an album full of Rod Stewart covering mostly Motown songs is probably a good thing to sell at Starbucks and Wal-Mart around Christmastime. But man, I listened to this a couple of times and really got a miserable feeling.
Because despite the title, nothing here even remotely resembles “soul.” When songs like “My Cherie Amour” and “Tracks Of My Tears” were big hits, nobody really considered them “soul” songs – they were more like “pop” songs, you know? Rod also covers a few Sam Cooke tunes and duets with people like Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson but this is all pretty cold stuff. Aside from a few high spots – his cover of Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night In Georgia” comes close to being interesting and his version of the O’ Jays’ “Love Train” is peppy – everything here is pretty slick and overplanned.
Maybe Rod could have picked some lesser-known tunes, maybe he could have played them more “live” with less slickness. But he didn’t. So we have Soulbook – all cleaned up for the “American Idol” crowd and pretty soulless. “It’s The Same Old Song,” indeed.
YouTube: Soulbook photo session – this is what it’s all about, I suppose.