Rod Stewart's new album, Time, isn't perfect, yet its folky pep certainly is a breath of fresh air after having to endure five volumes of his Great American Songbook series. I don't deny that Stewart can sing just about anything. Even when it's obvious he's mailing it in, his voice possesses an unpretentious charm that's nearly impossible to hate. But let's face it, the dude was born to be a rock 'n' roll singer, and (when he wants to be, of course) an utterly awesome one. Between the years 1968 and '74, Stewart was one of the best rockers on the planet. In addition to unleashing two folk-rock landmarks in Every Picture Tells a Story and Gasoline Alley, he helped invent heavy metal as a member of the short-lived Jeff Beck Group and also fronted the mighty Faces, the greatest British boogie outfit not called The Rolling Stones.
For most of the classic rock veterans out there, nothing I'm saying is late-breaking news. If, however, you're unfamiliar with all the fantastic music contained in this playlist, then do yourself a favor and take a long road trip with Every Picture Tells a Story as your soundtrack. It will make you laugh and cry and slap the steering wheel while shouting along to every damn word.