It is one thing to hear one of these tunes occasionally on an adult contemporary radio station. Whenever I did my reaction was usually "Well, isn't that interesting!" It is quite another thing to listen to an entire album of this stuff. Given the dismal vocal performances on "As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Volume 2" I'm afraid I would have to classify this latest offering from Rod Stewart to be just short of awful. Just whose idea was this anyway?
When I see heavy hitters like Richard Perry, Clive Davis and Phil Ramone producing this album I would certainly expect better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these arrangements. The raspy and at times annoying voice of Rod Stewart simply does not cut it. Why in the world would anyone want to listen to Rod Stewart mess around with "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" when you could just as easily enjoy the great Al Hibbler belting this one out with the Duke Ellington Orchestra? And Stewart's rendition of "Smile" certainly makes one yearn for the soothing tones of the late Nat King Cole. This CD proves that new is not always necessarily better. I also found Rod's version of the Flamingos classic "I Only Have Eyes For You" to be just plain atrocious!! If there is a highlight on this disc it would have to be his duet with Queen Latifah. "Someone To Watch Over Me" is clearly Stewart's best vocal performance on this disc and Queen Latifah proves that she is more than capable of singing this kind of material.
At the end of the day if you are in the mood to hear some classics from "The Great American Songbook" go find yourself some of the originals. And as for Rod Stewart what's next? Classic country? Highly annoying!
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Great American Songbook: Volume II finds the ace vocalist returning to the good old good ones, luminous standards from the golden age of popular songwriting. Taking up where his first foray into the genre, the hit album It Had to Be You, left off, Stewart luxuriates in the durable grandeur of his such gems as "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Smile," "Til' There Was You," and "Until the Real Thing Comes Along." To sweeten the pot, there are duets with Cher on Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," and Queen Latifah on "As Time Goes By." He may be a rock icon, but with projects such as this Stewart is laying claim to be considered a classic crooner. Barnes & Noble
As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook, Part II