Mott the Dog: Rod Stewart – Tears of Hercules – 4 Stars

‘Tears of Hercules’ album cover.

At the age of 77, Rod Stewart struts out again as he leads us through his 31st solo album. ‘Tears of Hercules’ is a stormer and a return to Rod the Mod’s best.

Rod Stewart has taken many turns in his career, first coming to prominence singing for Long John Baldry’s Steampacket in 1964, before moving on to Jeff Beck and then the Faces. In 1975, Stewart left the Faces and went onto superstardom as a solo artist. In the United Kingdom alone he has had ten number one albums. He came onto the scene as a spiky-haired roustabout singing with a rasping voice and a mesmerizing ability as a frontman, with trendsetting fashion sense, belting out rumble and tumble rock songs and putting loads of pathos into the ballads.

He later went through a dreadful, although very popular, disco era (Do You Think I’m Sexy?). As his popularity waned somewhat, he sat in a rocking chair with his slippers and put out volumes of the American Songbook that were very popular with the Women’s Institute but hardly rock ’n’ roll.

Then, in 2013, something stirred and after years in the music wilderness, front pages of all the celebrity magazines (three marriages and countless long term relationships with some of the most beautiful women in the world) he came back to doing what he does best (apart from the women) – writing and performing rock music. There had already been three albums in this period, ‘Time’ (2013), ‘Another Country’ (2015), and ‘Blood Red Roses’ (2018). Now he tops these with ‘Tears of Hercules,’ an album that, apart from the odd bloop, could fit in with his classics from the seventies.

With his long time songwriting partner and musical director Kevin Savigar, they have released over forty minutes of glorious party rock ’n’ roll.

At 77, Rod Stewart is still the pinup star gazing out at the girls.

Kicking off with the aptly titled ‘One More Time,’ Rod starts to recant stories to the beat as only he can, pulling in references from old and new, rasping “The Devil Wears Prada” and later, “The Sex Was Immense.” That gleam in his eye is still there with a chuckle in his throat.

There are nine Rod Stewart originals and three well-chosen cover versions. The gem that is ‘Some Kinda Wonderful,’ by John Ellison and his band Soul Brother Six, but perhaps better known for the hit version by Grand Funk Railroad, plus the highly emotional take on the title track written by American Songwriters Jordon / Moccia, and Johnny Cash’s ‘These Are My People.’

In ‘Born to Boogie,’ there is a wonderful rockin tribute to his old mucker, Marc Bolan. Then an amorous love song to his wife Penny Lancaster-Stewart, ‘I Can’t Imagine.’ The album closes with a loving tribute to his father on ‘Touchline.’ Most of the songs have an infectious beat running through them and would go down well at any gathering.

Rod Stewart, the Casa Nova of his era, growing into his eighth decade with roguish charm. Haircut still intact.

There are a couple of dodgy moments, especially in the drum machine antics of ‘Kookooamabama’ (stupid title too). But these can quickly be swept under the musical carpet.

The musicianship over the album is superb and it’s really nice to hear some rocking electric guitar on a Rod Stewart album.

A very welcome return to form.

Written by Mott the Dog from his closet on Pattaya’s Darkside.

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Rod Stewart in the 70’s leading the charge out front with the Faces, playing to the masses at another enormodome.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – APRIL 28: Rod Stewart performs during the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 28, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)