I seem to prefer debut albums (over later efforts) of most artists – maybe it’s the lack of polish allowing a glimpse of authenticity, or maybe it’s the innocent passion, or simply the visibility of human foibles and flaws.
Rod Stewart’s 1969 debut album stands out for me – head and shoulders above everything his solo career has produced – in fact everything he’s done except, perhaps, for the debut album of The Jeff Beck Group – Truth. (I must admit, though, I really stopped listening after his 1974 album, Smiler.)
In fact, Stewart’s debut album for me is right up there with the very best of the era and genre. The album is called An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down (In America it was simply called The Rod Stewart Album).
It is certainly not polished.
Blind Prayer is the 3rd track. It’s more a lament than a prayer. HIs pleading carries the rawness, simplicity, and even the reluctance you’d expect from a rough and ready streetwise character like Stewart:
I never knew how much love could hurt me
Good God it ain’t never come my way before
Oh but, but you know what I’m trying to say
Really what I’m trying to say is
God please don’t take her away from me!
Blind Prayer & Black Girl are connected by …
Long John Baldry gave Rod Stewart a kick-start in his career and continued to encourage him. Here is what Stewart said of LJB in 2004:
Long John Baldry launched me on my musical career. I was 18 and playing harmonica and singing a Muddy Waters song in a railway station, when Long John Baldry ran over to me from the other side of the tracks. I had just been to see him play at a club; he was one of the top Bluesmen in England. But John didn’t sing Muddy Waters songs – he knew Muddy Waters, had performed with him and with Ramblin‘ Jack Elliott too. And now he was asking, ” Would you like to join the band?” For me, just shaking his hand – knowing all the great musicians whose hand he’d shaken before – was mind-blowing. (Reader’s Digest Dec 2004)
Other Stuff You Might Enjoy.
* BBC Imagine – Rod Stewart: Can’t Stop Me Now (1h 23m). A really good portrayal of Stewart and some great material from his early days with Long John Baldry, Jeff Beck etc.
North: Black Girl is that way.
East: Stone by Small Faces
South: Country Comfort by Elton John
West: I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James