Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish – these vintage Vertigo UK pressings are ridiculously hard to find in this kind of shape with top quality sound
  • These early sides are rich, smooth and Tubey Magical yet still relatively clean, clear and spacious
  • 5 stars: “Of course, being a rocker at heart, Stewart doesn’t let these songs become limp acoustic numbers — these rock harder than any fuzz-guitar workout. The drums crash and bang, the acoustic guitars are pounded with a vengeance — it’s a wild, careening sound that is positively joyous with its abandon.”

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 8 light ticks at the end of Track 4, My Way Of Giving. On side two, a mark makes 6 light ticks at the beginning of Track 4, Jo’s Lament.

Hard to find them quieter than this!

This early Vertigo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of Gasoline Alley Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Gasoline Alley

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Gasoline Alley
It’s All Over Now
Only A Hobo
My Way Of Giving

Side Two

Country Comfort
Cut Across Shorty
Lady Day
Jo’s Lament
I Don’t Want To Discuss It

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

Gasoline Alley follows the same formula of Rod Stewart’s first album, intercutting contemporary covers with slightly older rock & roll and folk classics and originals written in the same vein. The difference is in execution. Stewart sounds more confident, claiming Elton John’s “Country Comfort,” the Small Faces’ “My Way of Giving,” and the Rolling Stones’ version of “It’s All Over Now” with a ragged, laddish charm. Like its predecessor, nearly all of Gasoline Alley is played on acoustic instruments — Stewart treats rock & roll songs like folk songs, reinterpreting them in individual, unpredictable ways…

Of course, being a rocker at heart, Stewart doesn’t let these songs become limp acoustic numbers — these rock harder than any fuzz-guitar workout. The drums crash and bang, the acoustic guitars are pounded with a vengeance — it’s a wild, careening sound that is positively joyous with its abandon. And on the slow songs, Stewart is nuanced and affecting — his interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Only a Hobo” is one of the finest Dylan covers, while the original title track is a vivid, loving tribute to his adolescence. And that spirit is carried throughout Gasoline Alley. It’s an album that celebrates tradition while moving it into the present and never once does it disown the past.