There is a Rod Stewart collection for every type of fan. Despite its lazy title, the 19-track Seventies Collection contains some of Stewart's finest country-tinged, pre-overproduced moments, including "Man of Constant Sorrow," "Mandolin Wind," "You Wear It Well," "Maggie Mae," and "Handbags & Gladrags." There are better, more comprehensive anthologies of the era out there like Reason to Believe: The Complete Mercury Studio Recordings, but for someone just looking for a little road trip fix, you would be hard-pressed to beat this little morsel. Listeners who came into the Stewart fold in reverse through his Great American Songbook albums won't know what hit them.
A two-disc anthology of Rod Stewart's early Mercury recordings, which, in conjunction with the albums he recorded with the Faces, are inarguably his finest (nothing from the Faces records is included). Most of the highlights of his terrific first four albums are here – "Maggie May," "You Wear It Well," "Handbags and Gladrags," "Gasoline Alley" – as well as selections from the lukewarm Smiler, a live album recorded with the Faces, and a couple of rare B-sides.
Mercury/Polygram began recycling their Rod Stewart recordings almost immediately after he left the label for Warner. Rebound's The Ballad Album and its companion, The Rock Album, are simply '90s versions of such compilations as Sing It Again Rod. And, like that record, it's enjoyable despite its haphazard collection simply because Stewart's Mercury records were so good. There are a couple of odd choices here – his take of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man)" is strangely misguided – but for the most part, the collection is quite enjoyable, thanks to such masterpieces as "Reason to Believe," "Mandolin Wind," "Angel," "Girl from the North Country," "Handbags and Gladrags," "Country Comforts," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time." The original albums are still preferable to budget-line compilations, but casual fans will certainly enjoy this disc without reservations.
The Story So Far: The Very Best of Rod Stewart is a 2001 Rod Stewart career-retrospective compilation album, which summarizes his solo work beginning with material from his 1971 breakthrough album Every Picture Tells a Story until his 2001 album Human. For contractual reasons, only two songs from his Mercury Records tenure ("Maggie May" and "You Wear It Well") were included (a third song from the Mercury era, "Reason to Believe", was included in a live acoustic version from the Warner Bros. album Unplugged…and Seated). The rest of the material is from different albums released under Warner Bros. Records…