Sound — 9
On this miraculous 4 disc box set are 64 tracks that have managed to with stand twenty years of time. The sound quality is excellent and Rod Stewart classic croon rings out on every song like he is in the room with you. On some songs ("Reason To Believe" more noticeably) the guitar playing does seem a little distant but there are only a few minor discrepancies like this through out the entire box set. There is a huge blues feel to the songs on this album which helps to create a feel of serenity yet almost optimism despite the bitterness of some of the lyrics when compared to the instruments.
Lyrics — 8
If you listen to every song on this you will recognise more than you realise. The lyrics are sublime covering a range of down and out smut: "send me a naked picture by the US mail, to heart warming ballads of deceit". The latter can be best expressed with the classic line from "Reason To Believe" "If I listened long enough to you, I'd find a way to believe that it's all true". The lyrics compliance with the music is near perfect although there are a few moments when you wonder if the lyrics would be best set against a lighter background. Furthermore the cover of "Pinball Wizard", originally done by The Who, is a little lack luster. Rod definitely is talented singer and even though his attempts at reaching the high notes are almost pitiful he does have a voice that pulls you in.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is a magnificent Box Set and I would definitely buy it again if I lost it. The lyrics are memorable and the rifts are catchy. Surprising considering the most memorable parts are actually played on Mandolins or Violins. Some of the songs do feel like they drag but this is made up by the sheer power of the lyrics in songs such as "I Don't Want To Talk About It" and "Handbags And Gladrags". And I've made no secret of this but the best song all around is easily: "I Don't Want To Talk About It". Buy it and you'll appreciate it.