It’s a little hard to take Rod Stewart seriously when, on the first track of this third installment in his Great American Songbook series, he sings ruefully about his love life being ˝lean˝ (˝Embraceable You˝).
But otherwise, Stardust...Volume III is as note-for-note solid as its predecessors--a cozy-up-to-the-fire treat that’s also a pleasant reminder of these songs’ staying power.
˝S’Wonderful˝ settles on the ears winningly, and Stewart’s scratchathon voice scalpels the cobwebs off of ˝Isn’t It Romantic˝ in a way that compels the average listener to reconsider thinking it dopey.
In addition, the parade of high-wattage pals recruited to pitch in continues here, resulting in a couple of must-hear combinations. Eric Clapton delivers a rather un-Clapton-like guitar solo on ˝Blue Moon˝ and Stevie Wonder blows harp like he means it on ˝What a Wonderful World,˝ but it is the duets--˝Baby It’s Cold Outside˝ with the unsinkable Dolly Parton and ˝Manhattan˝ with the indomitable Bette Midler--that the dazzle most.