"This is by far his most unappreciated work, yet one of his best. A bridge between and rock of youth and the mellowness of American Songbooks. It is unique, it is honest and it is meaningful. The songs come from the heart and are best with a soulmate, a bottle of wine and quiet evening. I never fully appreciated Rod Stewart until I heard this."
Something for everyone!!
Kevin | United States | 07/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Rod Stewart's finest recordings in years. With the possible exception of "Unplugged ... and seated", this collection of tunes is the nearest Roderick has come to matching the artistry of his early efforts, like "Every Picture Tells a Story" and "Gasoline Alley".There is truly something for everyone on this record. If you are into hard rock, then check out "Delicious", Rod's compositional collaboration with ex-Duranie Andy Taylor (who previously teamed up with Rod to produce the fine "Out of Order"). Mr. Taylor also guests on "Soothe Me", the old Sam Cooke soul classic turned hard-rockin' guitar-fest. A slightly more bluesy guitar-driven big-band romp is to be had with "Hang on St. Christopher", something one can just tell Rod wanted to record, not because it has any potential whatsoever to be a hit single, but rather because it is simply a great, if somewhat radio-unfriendly, tune. Rounding out the up-tempo catagory, albeit in a slightly more mellow, acoustic vein, is "Leave Virginia Alone", a Tom Petty-penned gem that allows Rod to shine, just like he did in the old days.There are many ballads on this record, yet they do not repeat one another or sound even remotely alike. "This", a truly touching romantic number, is sharply contrasted with the likes of "Windy Town", a tune about touring, and "Sweetheart Like You", a remake of the Bob Dylan classic. On the latter tune in particular do we see Rod's ability to truly inhabit a song, becoming the protagonist completely, a man desperate to believe that his woman is far better than her surroundings, even though he knows that she is only slightly out of place.Be sure to check out the Rod-penned tune "Muddy, Sam and Otis", which give us an insight into the music that inspired Rod to dream of becoming a great soul singer (which he is, blue eyes and all). Not only does Rod show us how these great soul men inspired him, but the song also functions as a lament for an era of music that is clearly behind us now.Curiously, the album closes with a lovely ballad called "Purple Heather". Why do I say curiously? Because the song is credited as being a Rod Stewart composition, when anyone even remotely familiar with either Irish or Scottish folk music will realize that this tune has been around for quite some time. Even if the song isn't Rod's, the arrangement is, and this presentation works quite well.All in all, there is something for everyone on this album. Song for song, the quality is much better than "Vagabond Heart", which, although it had a few moments of strength, was a bit uneven in terms of compositional quality. Like the rest of Rod's better albums, this is a collection of Rod's originals, a few covers, and some great tunes penned by Rod's contemporaries. If you like Rod, you'll love "A Spanner in the Works"."
Straight from the heart
Tim Huguet | AMSTERDAM Holland | 10/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have all of Rod's albums and I can honestly say I think this is the one he always wanted to make. You can hear it in his voice: the magic is there, and he is feeling it.
Windy Town is among the more beautiful moments in Rod's career, as is Purple Heather.
Leave Virginia Alone....has he ever sounded in higher spirits than here.
And his re-working of Dylan's Sweetheart like you is the kind of stuff that makes the eyes moist.
Best listened to at night, as one is drifting off to sleep....."
One of his very best. A great C.D.
gerhalt | Bluefield, WV. | 11/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm listening to it as I type this. Rod has had a ton of great albums in the past and this is yet another. The album starts out with a great song called "Windy Town" and just keeps getting better. The highlight is a song that not only rivals Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"as the best all time love song,it destroys it. That song is "This." I dare anyone who likes a good love song to hear it and not agree. Just listen to it. I don't think there has ever been a better love song. If you don't have this record yet, get it. It's a masterpiece from a great artist."