Album Review: “‘Every Picture Tells a Story'” By Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart live in 1993 - Rod Stewart / Youtube
Every Picture Tells A Story shows how Rod Stewart can inject his own narrative into the works of others, as this catalog only contains four originals, with the rest being renditions. He also had the support of the Faces in this record, with Ronnie Wood and Ian McLagan being more prominent than the others. It features a cornucopia of influences like folk, rock, country, funk, and blues, making it quite the mix even for Stewart himself.
Starting with the title track, the Stewart-Wood song is indulgent in every way, making it a great opener for the catalog. “Seems Like A Long Time” is a good piano ballad with roomy vocals filling the runs, while “That’s All Right” is bluesy and carried by a piano progression, unique from Elvis’ own version. The standard spiritual hymn “Amazing Grace” is given the blues treatment and is mostly instrument-laden, while Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow is A Long Time” has Stewart trying his hardest to copy Dylan’s delivery.
The second side opens with “Henry”, which is followed up by one of his greatest singles, “Maggie May”, his infamous story of losing his V-card to an older woman and wrapped in a rich and vibrant arrangement. “Mandolin Wind” increases in intensity as it switches from acoustic to electric, while “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by the Temptations is given a funk groove for good measure. Everything is wrapped up by Tim Hardin’s “Reason To Believe”, which Stewart reorchestrated into a full pop record successfully.
Every Picture Tells A Story was just the beginning of things to come for the then-starting Rod Stewart but quickly became a timeless classic as the rocker pushed further onto his career.