Monday, 18 October 2010

Confessions of a Sunday newspaper reader

I HAVE a confession. For the first time I chose my Sunday newspaper yesterday on the basis of an advertisement for a free CD offer.
My preferred option is The Sunday Times, which has cleverly adopted the slogan “THE Sunday newspapers” and indeed has the most comprehensive and intelligent coverage of politics, sport, culture and all other subjects which interest me.
I occasionally replace it with a joint purchase of the Mail on Sunday and Independent on Sunday, partly because they give a different insight and partly as they are my best customers as a freelance journalist. Interestingly the Sunday Times has recently raised its cover price to £2.20p, which has confused customers and newsagents, but is still incredible value for money.
The Mail shouts it is 70p less expensive than the Sunday Times but this wasn’t why I chose my other selection. The reason I opted for the alternative was that The Mail on Sunday gave away a CD of Atlantic Crossing by Rod Stewart, my favourite singer. I have a vinyl version of this album but the CD would be good to have for the car.
My only reservation was that the Mail over-egged its promotion by saying it was Rod the Mod’s “Greatest Album.”
It should have been as he travelled to all the great studios in America to record it, using icons of American popular music, such as the remnants of Booker T and the MGs, including guitarist Steve Cropper, and The Memphis Horns.
But unfortunately the songs were bland, commercial and poor compared with the great tunes and interpretations of Rod’s previous masterpieces: An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down; Every Picture Tells a Story; and Never a Dull Moment.
There was a run of compositions by Rod which put him up there with the greatest. Raincoat had the premier version of Handbags and Gladrags, copied so successfully by Stereophonics decades later. Just listen to the title track of Every Picture, especially the duet with Maggie Bell from Stone the Crows, or Mandolin Wind or Maggie May. Or examine the popular poetic brilliance of You Wear It Well, off Never a Dull Moment.
In comparison Atlantic Crossing is a pale shadow. The track everyone has heard of is Sailing, which is a poor attempt to create a football crowd pleasing Anthem. A rock classic worthy of an acolyte of Sam Cooke it isn’t.
Still, I suppose “Rod Stewart’s fourth or fifth best album” wouldn’t have had the same promotional appeal.

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