It might be hard to believe in 2013, but at one point music made or sang by Rod Stewart was interesting. The proof is on the two-CD, 24-track “Rarities.” The young Brit’s Mercury albums between 1969 and 1974 — which include one of the best rock albums ever, “Every Picture Tells a Story" — were full of rootsy, soulful songs that leaned on the folk and blues idioms of America, and he was never better at interpreting songs with that distinctive, raw, gravelly voice. “Rarities” highlights both the best songs of that bountiful period, as well as rarities that include revelatory alternate versions as well as revealing covers of songs by The Who, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Cole Porter. The double-album is a look inside the education, influences and maturing of a superstar, and the only sad thing is that Stewart didn’t continue on the same path for the rest of his ultimately disappointing career that became so uninteresting. The first cuts were the deepest.
This will be released Sept. 3.