14 covers (10 on the normal version) and two original tunes, one penned in partnership with Jim Vallance and the other with Gretchen Peters ( this only on the Deluxe Edition) on this, the twelfth studio album from Canadian rocker Bryan Adams has tracks from writers such as Lennon and McCartney (Any Time At All), Bob Dylan (Lay Lady Lay), Chuck Berry (Rock and Roll Music) John Fogerty (Down on the Corner), Bobby Hebb (Sunny), Brian Wilson and Tony Asher (God Only Knows) plus a handful of others.

The album was recording took around three months over the course of two years and Adams says that selecting the songs took him a long time…and this shows. The album could have easily descended into a clichéd covers album but it’s varied enough in its scope to be appealing and entertaining. It’s certainly done pretty well in the Canadian charts where it sold 14000 copies in its first week and it’s charted in the US Billboard 200 too.

All the tunes are sung with Adams gritty and bluesy voice well to the fore and the playing and arrangements are sympathetically done and different enough from the originals to make this a really worthwhile album to own.

Highlights include God Only Knows which slows the tempo down a good deal to partner Adams with, for the most part just a piano…with slide guitar making a guest appearance too. It’s one of the tunes I love in its original form from The Beach Boys’  Pet Sounds album but here it is stripped bare and delivered with an emotionally charged vocal delivery. On the deluxe version this tune fades and we’re back into the bouncy rock and roll of You’ve Been A Friend To Me (Adams/Gretchen) and I’d suggest that its worth your while spending a little extra on this version as the supplementary tunes are really pretty good, with Adam’s rendition of Help Me Make It Through The Night (Kris Kristofferson) being an absolute belter of a bluesy/gospelly tune. C’Mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran) is an up tempo rock n roller before the penultimate track Many Rivers To Cross (Jimmy Cliff) brings back the blues… indeed Many Rivers is a really great, emotional version of what is already a fabulous tune and I’m surprised it wasn’t chosen for the normal length album.
The deluxe version finishes off with You Shook Me (Willie Dixon/ J B Lenoir) a plodding, overdriven blues number that is sure to please and would sound perfect in a Chicago blues club with a few beers.

All in all there’s a good deal to commend on Tracks Of My Years and very, very little to criticise. I’m not a fanboy in any way of Adams, with Summer Of ’69 being pretty much the only tune of his I’d be able to sing along to with, with any gusto, but I heartily recommend this record for anyone looking for a good time rock record that is at one immediately accessible given you’d be hard pressed not to know most of the tunes. This will sell well this Xmas!

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