Like the proverbial curate’s egg, this sometimes bewildering compilation of Rod’s early material (R&B standards, a handful of Quiet Melon tunes) and 10 covers of his better-known hits, is good in parts. Seemingly prompted by Rod’s knighthood, it all hangs together like a badly stitched suit.
Admittedly there are some near-transcendent moments on disc one: Rod crooning Little Miss Understood, and cutting a rug with Ain’t That Loving You Baby, though he’s no vintage Tom Jones when it comes to a white man singing the blues. And as welcome as the Hammond-soaked groove of Sparky Rides (Donkey Rides A Penny A Glass) is, Rod’s little more than a backing vocalist in that song’s tumult.
That said, the first half of this set is like manna from heaven compared to the collection of covers bringing up the rear. There are moments when it feels like a wedding reception band jamming their way through Rod’s greatest hits just before a fight breaks out. Steve Overland’s Maggie May is harmless enough, as is Nicky Moore’s anaemic reworking of Tonight’s The Night, but by the time Paul Di’Anno gets hold of Hot Legs you simply want to run and hide.