Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rock of Ages: Faces - "Stay With Me" (1971)

Fact: I hate Rod Stewart's solo music. Almost with a feverish passion.

Fact: I love the Faces. With a feverish passion

I don't really get why, but something about the cocky bar blues rock of the Faces and the swagger of Rod Stewart work well together. The boogie organ sounds, the swarthy vocalizations and the mean guitar rock that drive the Faces is something to rock to. Driving down to the shore, relaxing on a summer day or just partying in your apartment is greatly enhanced by their sound. Their 1971 album A Nod is As Good As A Wink... to a Blind Horse may be a long title, but is a masterpiece of bar band music. The Faces magnum opus, "Stay With Me" is the epitome of rock and roll. A fast intro gives way to a bluesy riff and lyrics of sexual abandon... literally. Rod Stewart begs his woman to "stay with me" but only to use her and let her walk away the next day. "You best be gone when I wake up" is one of the most rock and roll things ever sung into the mic. Stewart's unabashed rasp demands attention.

The real kicker for this song is for the intense pace the Faces keep up with each other. Blasting forth at the beginning and end with crazy rock speed just electrifies the song. Ron Wood, who would later join The Stones shows off big time his ability as a rock guitarist. Ronnie Lane's bass fireworks also showcase some of the most intriguing rhythm elements, complimented by the drumming of Kenney Jones. Rod Stewart soars with the Faces and its enough to make me love him just enough, even if I hate pretty much everything else he's ever done. I like real rock and roll and "Stay With Me" is one of those rock songs that just oozes honesty, even if the subject matter is a little harsh to the woman at the brunt of the rock star ethos that lies within.

Up Next: Deep Purple blisters down the highway

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