Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rod Stewart: Gasoline Alley [Mercury, 1970]
I suspected Stewart of folkie leanings the first time I saw him do his broken-down bluesman imitation with Jeff Beck at the Fillmore. But his solo debut proved such a landmark that when he opened this one with a title tune about the slums featuring only mandolin and acoustic guitar I didn't even snicker. Much all-around excellence here--Stewart writes songs with almost as much imagination as he picks them, and his band is as (dare I say it?) sensitive as his voice. Nothing as revelatory as "Handbags and Gladrags" or "An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down," though. A-