Classic Rock Review

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The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge (1994)

images (1)From sputnikmusic.com

With the CD wallpapering the racks during the previous four years or so, it was only going to be natural that Voodoo Lounge became the Stones’ longest recording. In the moment it was also their most successful in terms of grossing revenue from a supporting world tour. It’s true, one of the world oldest continuing bands still, at this point, had plenty of firepower and generational gravity to bolster its success, whether or not it came from one of their less memorable releases.

And with a tasty bite sized opener like “Love is Strong”, why would you question any of this? After all, any album this group releases will mostly like chart-top following the weeks after its offering, even if a third of its listening populace take a few months to grapple new-coming technologies. Despite having such a commercial sensation, the album falls short of their magnum opuses of previous decades. Not necessarily musically, but mainly through its bothersome conceptuality and lack of definitive direction.

After bassist Bill Wyman’s departure following 1989’s Steel Wheels, the band were left little more than his melting rubber. And while they’d (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in particular) force themselves not to admit it, the effects to a degree, overshadow the album’s nude, back-to-basics approach.

There’s most likely more instrumentation here then other records, even its successors, but it’s as sparse as the fifteen tracks could lop back — an attempt perhaps to fill a missing member’s square hole with a round peg? Still, the roots-rock doesn’t fail them on many occasions such as “Love is Strong”, “You Got Me Rocking” and “Sparks Will Fly” — three upbeat embellishments which open the album as if were meant to be a late 70s classic. Afterward, the feel diminishes and is only revisited via the exits of “New Faces’” acoustic prettiness, Out of Tears’” reflective mourning piano, and “I Go Wild’s” boisterous eccentricity.

“Thru and Thru” is the final shimmer and thankfully a track that leaves a few resounding moments of value at penultimate fourteen. Cutting the fat there would have sufficed, though so could the negating at least four other unnecessary tracks; take your pick really. Possibly out of a desire to make amends of apparent loss in colour after the 80s tension, the band finds themselves tinkering with musical assortment until they’re ironically mixed into dull shades of grey.

The familiar faces of the accordion/organ/saxophone/trumpet all leave their marks between the weaving rock & roll of Richards’ and Ronnie Wood’s chordal guitar licks — somehow a tin whistle managed to make the cut this time — Jagger mingles with his raspy throat while having his usual percussive (tambourine/maracas) flourishes shake his can. It sounds well enough to be everything rolling alongside the Stones, but in fact it’s merely the erosion catching you off guard.

You’ll be left listening waiting for a possible moment of clever clamouring, but instead all you’re left are a few groovy well-rounded tracks, another few that they’ve done before more vigorously in the previous thirty years, and finally a whole lot more that are just too overly self-indulgent for their own good.

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March 21, 2013 Posted by | The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Listen! Listen! Listen To Me! (Boston, September 1971)

lz_bostonev037From collectorsmusicreviews.com

Boston Garden, Boston, MA – September 6th 1971

Disc 1 (71:10): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s The Way, Going To California, What Is And What Should Never Be

Disc 2 (38:31): Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Organ Solo – Thank You, Rock And Roll

Two separate tape fragments exist for Led Zeppelin’s September 6th, 1971 show in Boston. The first was released by Tarantura in the mid-nineties on Listen To Me (Tarantura BOS-1,2) and it was later released on Boston Garden Party (Magnificent Disc MD-7101A/B).

This tape runs from “Immigrant Song” to “Stairway To Heaven,” and from the very end of the “Whole Lotta Love” medley through the three encores. This is very good sounding with nice dynamics which captures the atmosphere of the show perfectly.

The second fragment surfaced several years ago and is merely fair to good sounding but contains a section on the show not covered by the first, running from “Celebration Day” through the first three minutes of “Moby Dick.”

The only silver title to feature this source is Wreckage In Boston, a box set also containing Led Zeppelin’s 1970 and 1973 Boston appearances. Unfortunately Tarantura utilized only the second tape source and didn’t edit it with the first for a more complete show making the 1971 show the weak link in an otherwise solid set.

Listen! Listen! Listen To Me on Empress Valley is a good edit of the two sources for the first time and presents the most complete document of the show.

The concert begins with the second tape source for the opening introduction by the mc who says, “This Saturday night Laurence Welk will be here. Give a Boston welcome to Led Zeppelin!” The first tape source fades in before”Immigrant Song” in a flawless edit.

After a wild “Heartbreaker” and one of the heaviest “Since I’ve Been Loving You” from the seventh tour, Plant greets the audience, saying “Where have you been for a year? We’re gonna finally after pissing out get out next album out.” Plant complains about Atlantic records before introducing the first new song in the set “Black Dog” in which Plage get almost carried away in the solo.

“Remember the Tea Party” Plant says as the band is playing the opening note of ”Dazed & Confused.” The song is cut at 18:42 right when Page is getting into the “Mars, Bringer Of War” section, at 18:59 and a minute later at 19:58.

Before playing “Stairway To Heaven” Plant has to say, “Listen, we got to get one thing straight. We had a bit of trouble in New York the other day when so many people got on the stage it fell apart.” A fire cracker explosion in the opening minutes seems to un-nerve Plant and he forgets a verse and the tape unfortunately cuts out in the middle of the guitar solo.

The second tape source picks up with a forty second fragment of “Celebration Day” containing the guitar solo and part of the third verse. After another cut Plant is talking about doing an acoustic set and about thirty seconds of “That’s The Way” is present.

After another cut Plant is hushing the crowd for “Going To California.” It picks up in the second verse (“Took my chances on a big jet plane / never let them tell you they’re all the same.”) and is cut at 1:33, but at two and a half minutes total is more complete than the preceding two songs. ”What Is And What Should Never Be” is almost complete.

Only a fragment of “Moby Dick” remains, the first four and a half minutes and the final theme. “Whole Lotta Love” is cut massively. The opening verse, theremin solo and most of the medley is missing. The tape picks up at the final song, “Killing Floor.”

This song appears in various medleys since the first tour, but his is perhaps the most well developed version. Thankfully the encores are complete and Zeppelin reward Boston with three including an organ solo that sounds like Garth Hudson of The Band.

This title is packaged in a thick cardcoard sleeve by Empress Valley, and even though the tapes are fragmentary this is a good release and the most complete of this great show.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Listen! Listen! Listen To Me! | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Fresh Garbage (Fillmore West, January 1969)

zepFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Disc 1, January 10th: The Train Kept A Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You, As Long As I Have You (inc. Fresh Garbage, Shake), Dazed And Confused, How Many More Times (inc. Dream Lover, The Hunter)

Disc 2: White Summer – Black Mountain Side, Killing Floor, You Shook Me, Pat’s Delight, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, For Your Love

Disc 3, January 11th: Intro, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown. Bonus track, January 9th: The Train Kept a Rollin’

Disc 4, January 12th: As Long As I Have You (inc. Mockingbird, Fresh Garbage), I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, You Shook Me

Disc 5: White Summer – Black Mountain Side, The Train Kept A Rollin’, Pat’s Delight, How Many More Times (inc. The Hunter), Killing Floor

Fresh Garbage collects together all of the relevant documents from Led Zeppelin’s legendary four night set at the Fillmore West on their first tour. All of the main Led Zeppelin biographies state how important these series of gigs were for the success of the group with the public and their acceptance by the music industry. On the same bill with Taj Mahal and headliners Country Joe And The Fish, the initial scheduled called for two sets on January 9th, 10th, and the 11th but a final night was added on. The opening show coincided with Jimmy Page’s 25th birthday and the final night was when their debut album Led Zeppelin was released in the US. The tapes from these shows began to surface back in the days of vinyl but Scorpio is the first to present them in one cohesive set. The audience recordings are fair to good but given the historic importance, are more than acceptable and reveal a fascinating chapter in the band’s live history.

The first two discs cover the two sets of the January 10th show, the second of the four evenings. This tape was first released in the eighties on the vinyl For Your Love (Rock Solid Records RSR 238) and was also included in RSR’s The Final Option. One of the earliest compact disc releases was East/West (Digger Productions DP 2677-2678) which was missing most of the “For Your Love” encore. For Your Love (Silver Rarities SIRA 134/135) is one of the most important releases in that label’s history and features the complete encore but runs too slow. Subsequent releases include Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03), For Your Love (Empress Valley EVSD 414/415), and Syonen Zep(Akashic AKA-2). Live Adventure At the Fillmore West (Wendy Records WECD-25/26) was released several years ago with a complete “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and with greatly amplified sound, but there was an inexplicable cut and repeat in “How Many More Times” on both this and the Empress Valley.

The Scorpio has several advantages over the other titles. Isn’t as loud as Wendy and is very easy to listen to. ”Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is complete, and the second cut in “How Many More Times” is handled much better. There is no repeat and the edit is much smoother. Thus in addition to the small cuts between numbers there are cut at 2:09 in “Dazed And Confused,” at 5:30 and at 10:16 in ”How Many More Times,” and 6:42 in “Pat’s Delight.” The show begins with the “Train Kept A-Rollin’” segue into “I Can’t Quit You” which they would use for most of the year. “Thank you very much and good evening from Led Zeppelin. It’s great to be back. We’re gonna do something that goes a little faster. This comes from a great singer named Garnett Mimms…it’s called ‘As Long As I Have You.’”

Three long early epics are are played consecutively in the first set. The Mimms cover is ten minutes long and contains references to ”Spirit” and “Fresh Garbage,” two tunes familiar to the audience. “Dazed And Confused” is a bit longer than it studio counterpart and afterwards Plant says, ”On behalf of Led Zeppelin we’d like to finish this set off with a thing on the album as well and the album will be out in about three weeks called Led Zeppelin…this is a thing called ‘How Many More Times.’” Like the studio version this also contains a violin bow episode, something that would be dropped. During the long improvisation Plant sings snatches of Bobby Darin’s 1959 hit “Dream Lover” and the traditional “The Riddle Song.” The second set begins with Plant introducing Page, saying “we’re gonna do what we did last night. We’re gonna feature Jimmy Page. This is a thing called ‘White Summer.’ Jimmy Page.”

The second set isn’t exactly mellow, but is much less frenzied than the first. “You Shook Me,” reaching eight minutes and the drum solo “Pat’s Delight” reaching nine are the highlights. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” sounds dramatic in this recording and Plant refers to Joan Baez at the end. The encore is introduced by Plant saying, “It will be out pleasure to do a thing Keith Relf had something to do with. You remember him?” For a long time this was the only version of Zeppelin covering the Yardbirds’ biggest hit until the surfacing of the Whisky A Go-Go tape revealed an earlier one played less than a week here. Over the course of the seven minute song Page in particular squeezes out all of the late sixties psychedelia he can out of his guitar trying hard to impress the crowd.

Disc three contains the two fragmentary recordings beginning with the January 11th soundboard recording. This tape first surfaced in the early nineties on Birth of the Gods (Balboa BP-0001) and contained the introduction, “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed and Confused,” “You Shook Me,” and the first four minutes of “How Many More Times.” Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03) is the only other silver release with the truncated tape and curiously the short version was posted on Wolfgang’s Vault. “You Shook Me” can be found on Fillmore East (Mud Dogs-007) and “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed And Confused,” and “You Shook Me” are on Hampton Kicks (House Of Elrond MG6471/2).

The longer source with the second half of “How Many More Times” and “Communication Breakdown” first surfaced on Syonen Zep Zokango (Akashic AKA-2) followed in quick succession by Pb+ (Wild Card 1/69-3/70), Psycho A Go-Go! (Led Note LCD 1504) and Anybody Got a Les Paul? (Equinox EX 00 020-0). How Many More Years (Empress Valley EVSD-430) was issued several years ago as part of their Legendary Fillmore series. This tape sounded much better than the older one even though another band’s music can be heard during the softer part between songs. Fresh Garbage sounds hissy but excellent and well balanced.

The tape documents the first set of the evening and comes in after Page broke a string during the first song. Plant chats with the audience while they are all waiting. “The next one on the agenda is a thing…Otis Rush number. It’s on this album Led Zeppelin coming out in a couple of weeks” There is a long pause before Plant asks, “are you warm enough tonight? Are you really warm? It’s so warm in here. That’s the word, hot. Nearly there.” John Paul Jones practices his bass while they are waiting. “It’s a good job at doing two spots.” After another long pause Plant asks, “has anybody got a Les Paul? No? Jeff who? Tell him to bring it here then.” Page finally tunes the guitar before they play “I Can’t Quit You,” the second song of the night.

Plant tells the audience that “we’ve decided, this is about the third night, and the way everything’s going we want to live here because you’re so nice.” After some babbling about the police they carry on “without any cough mixture” to play “You Shook Me.” Still the cut at 4:18 in “How Many More Times” right in the middle of Page’s guitar solo. “Tell you what. There is nothing we can say except for thank you.” The audience is very wild in demanding and encore and Plant has to shout “hang about” to get their attention. “You sort of shown us that we should do another one. But listen, if we do another one then there won’t be enough time to do another set afterwards because everything is running late.” Off mic he is told they can do an encore. “Oh, we can. Thanks. I wasn’t sure but thanks very much.”

“Train Kept A Rollin’” is said to be from the first show in San Francisco on January 9th. It can also be found on Twinight (Immigrant IM-002~3) and Whole Lotta For Your Love (Pirate Records SCLE 003/03). The sound quality is fair to good but distorted. It is a shame only one song is present on the tape. The origin of the song is also not determined either since the first thing audible on the tape is Plant saying twice how nice it is to come back for a second time. There is a long discussion on the Led Zeppelin Database website reviewing all of the clues, but the conclusion that its provenance won’t be known conclusively until more information surfaces is accurate.

The final two discs are the most interesting of the set. Containing the fourth and final night, the only other silver release of this show was many year ago on California ’69 (Lemon Song LS-7206/7). Its neglect is puzzling because the sound quality is not too bad at all and the performance is really good. The Sunday night crowd were the most quiet of the four nights with very little of the screaming and shouting found in the other shows. There are cuts between all of the tracks so a lot of the dialogue is missing. The tape begins with Bill Graham saying, “let’s welcome Led Zeppelin” and the Garnett Mimms medley “As Long As I Have You” is used as a set opener as it was in the final night in Los Angeles the preceeding week. “Communication Breakdown” is the set closer and a seven minute version of “You Shook Me” is employed as the encore.

The second set begins right at the beginning of “White Summer,” the song which normally opened the second set. the chord that Page plays at the beginning of “White Summer” is identical to that used by The Doors for “The End.” The highlight of the second set is a seventeen minute version of “How Many More Times” which, during the violin bow part, includes Plant’s ad-libs from the LP: “I was a young boy I couldn’t resist…” A three minute version of “Killing Floor” closes the show and Zeppelin’s first foray in San Francisco. Sets like Fresh Garbage are a double edged sword. If one of the tapes is not as good as it could be then it can ruin the entire set. But when it all comes together like on this one it is a phenomenal piece to have. Not only does it make it easy to obtain the tapes, but it provides an historic scope and context that single releases can’t achieve. This is easily one of the best Zeppelin releases on the Scorpio label and is worth having.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Fresh Garbage | , | Leave a comment

The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup (1973)

tumblr_m8ynj71DbS1rc22qso1_1280From sputnikmusic.com

Goats Head Soup was released in the peak years of classic rock, but its predecessors (Beggar’s Banquet/Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main Street) are better known as rock’s essential albums. The Stones were well into their career without original guitarist Brian Jones, and were established rockers. This album was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, a few other songs that were recorded at the same sessions re-surfaced in later Rolling Stones albums. Goats Head Soup would basically be their last success, critically and commercially for a while. They regained popularity with 1981’s Tattoo You. The Stones continued experimenting sounds on this record, combining jazzed based influences with their classic rock signature.

Dancing with Mr. D: This intro song gives off a sleazy vibe that the Stones are famous for, with a funky bassline, honky-tonk piano and Jagger’s snarling vocals. The chorus is pretty straightforward, but the layering of quirky instruments keeps the song interesting throughout. Overall a great intro 4/5

100 years ago: This song starts as a melancholic ballad, with jagger singing about old times. The clavinet and piano add an old fashion feel, with an electric guitar jamming along with wah effect. About halfway the song slows down to a lonelier tone, then quickly speeds up a again for a great wah wah guitar solo and funky outro 4/5

Coming down again: this song is very laidback, like a tame version of 100 years ago. Here the piano takes a calmer tone, same with the wah laden guitars. The song is based on Jagger and some soothing backing vocals singing ‘coming down again’. There’s a nice sax solo but I never really got into this song 2.5/5

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker): The Stones keep up the R&B/Soul/Funk feel here, but it’s also a great rocker. The chorus reminds me of ‘Acid Queen’ from the Who’s Tommy, and the horn arrangements remind me of some funky musical. One of my favorite songs on here 5/5

Angie: I don’t know if this is true but I heard that Mick wrote this song as an apology to his girlfriend/wife at the time for sleeping with David Bowie :S… whether it’s about Mick fooling around with Bowie or not, it’s a great ballad type song. The funkiness departs on this track, the track driven by an acoustic guitar, a piano, and some string arrangements adding to the emotion. Mick’s vocals are very fitting for this song, sounding like some sort of abused furry animal whimpering for sympathy… maybe that’s a bad example, but oh well, this is a great song 5/5

Silver Train: Silver Train seems to be based on a cowboy movie theme song. It’s more country sounding than previous funky songs. It’s a pretty straightforward song, not as much variation as the last tracks, with a harmonica and a whimsy guitar solo. I usually skip this song, probably one of the weakest on here 2/5

Hide Your Love: A bluesy song, one of the more ‘classic rock’ songs on Goats Head Soup. It’s based on a catchy piano riff (are they called riffs for pianos?). Like Silver Train and Angie, this song cuts down on the groovyiness. Although it’s better than Silver Train, it’s a bit too straightforward compared to the other songs 3/5

Winter: This is also a sad, ballad type song like Angie, but more rocking and continues the newly established blues sound of the second-half of the record. There are some really beautiful string arrangements here too. Although Angie is generally more popular, I find this song to be more sentimental. Winter has a nice, warm sounding guitar solo, which fits the overall feel of the song perfectly. This is another highlight of the album 5/5

Can You Hear the Music: Here’s a surprise, a return to funkiness. But this track is downright psychedelic, not just funky. It sounds like Angie or Winter on acid. Jagger’s vocals are over layered with strange effects; the organ and guitar are stuffed with wah, reverb, and flangers. The weirdest song on Goats Head Soup, and placed at an unexpected place in the album. A good refreshing song after Winter 4/5

Star Star: Originally titled Starf**ker, and had controversial lyrics (I’m not sure if the CD release of GHS has those lyrics), both the US and UK censored Star Star. This is probably the closest to ‘classic rock’ you’ll get on Goats Head Soup. It starts out slow, but builds up to an energetic chorus (‘Star***er star***er star***er star’) and great guitar solo. Star Star ends in an upbeat jam, a great closer to Goats Head Soup 4/5

Goats Head Soup is a great rock record, with various musical influences that keeps it interesting and standing out more than typical rock albums. While it may not have been as great as its predecessors to many, Goats Head Soup is an essential Rolling Stones album.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Dallas Triumphant Return (May 1973)

lz_dallastrumphantreturnFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, TX – May 18th, 1973

Disc 1 (62:45): Introduction, Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2 (67:36): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven. Bonus tracks: Denver Coliseum, Denver, CO – May 25th, 1973: Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

The Led Zeppelin Dallas soundboard is among the many that first surfaced in the late eighties which Jimmy Page claims is the result of theft by an employee. The first releases of this tape can be found on vinyl on Fractured Ribs (Toasted Recordworks TRW 1969) and “Stairway To Heaven” from this tape can be found on Hiawatha Express (Stash 2304).

On compact disc it appears on Fractured Ribs / Heart Attack (Toasted/Condor 1996), Thunder Rock (Great Dane GDR CD 9004), Discover American(Tarantura T3CD-10) and Four For Texas (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin Vol. 60) issued in 1997. The Wendy is very clear and full-bodied and is an improvement over the TDOLZ. The label also addressed some of the issues on other releases, so there is no sixteen second gap in “Dazed & Confused” as on the TDOLZ and the tape garbles in “Celebration Day” and “The Rain Song” have been smoothed over.

Led Zeppelin played four shows in Texas on this tour: May 16 at Sam Houston Arena in Houston, May 18 at Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, May 19 at Convention Center in Fort Worth, and May 22 at Hemisphere Arena in San Antonio. All but the last exist on tape and the other three have partial soundboard recordings.

Dallas runs from the introduction through “Stairway To Heaven” and like many of the other eighth tour soundboards is a bit flat and clinical sounding. And whereas Houston and Fort Worth are amazing performances, Dallas shows the band fighting some PA issues and Page delivers a sloppy performance rendering it substandard compared to the others. John Paul Jones also has fractured ribs, according to Plant, but he delivers a fine show.

Page slips up in the “Rock And Roll” solo and botches the one in “Celebration Day.” He tests a heavy riff in the second guitar solo which is incongruent to the joy of the piece and the results sound strange.

After “Black Dog” Plant says, “John Paul Jones has got two fractured ribs and he’s still managing to stand. I think that’s fantastic! That’s not really fun at all … we thought he’d got the clap.” The first Houses Of The Holy track “Over The Hills And Far Away” sounds much better. After the song Plant continues speaking about Jones, saying, “We’d like to say welcome back to Dallas. I don’t know where you’ve been for the last…how long’s it been? A year, that’s right. Last time we come here I was at the doctor’s. This time poor old John. And he ain’t in good shape either. If we pack up after about ten minutes I hope you understand. Well you must understand.”

After ”Since I’ve Been Loving You” three more new songs are played including “No Quarter.” This had been added to the set specifically for this tour replacing “Dancing Days.” The version is Dallas is interesting because they attempt to play an almost exact duplicate of the studio track with no live elaboration. Thus Jones uses vibrato on the organ, Page and Bonham play the same breaks, and even Plant attempts to copy his vocal intonations throughout the piece.

All that is missing is the piano melody during the solo. Before “Dazed And Confused” Plant gushes: “That wasn’t Woody Herman, folks, it was John Paul ones…This is a song we made before we ever came to the United States of ahhhh America. It’s asong that we made a long time ago. In fact, it’s almost an oldies but goodies.” A twenty-nine minute rendition of the piece follows that is quite effective.

Wendy include the half hour Denver fragment as bonus tracks. This soundboard surfaced at the same time as the May 16th Houston soundboard fragment in the fall of 2001. Both were given almost simultaneous releases in time for Christmas.

The nicely packaged Going Down (Watch Tower WT 2001039/40) was first followed a week later by Two Nights In May (Celebration SOBO-021/22). The Celebration was remastered so loud that it had the annoying metallic swoosh completely ruining the tape. This was an unmitigated disaster which pretty much single handily sank a once promising label.

Compared to the Dallas board, Denver sounds a bit more lively with more audible audience interaction. All that exists is the “Heartbreaker” and “Whole Lotta Love” finale to the show. There is several minutes of audience cheering before the only encore ”Communication Breakdown.”

Plant’s cryptic closing remark is “Thank you very much. And without oxygen we’re gonna go to bed. Goodnight.” Collectors hoped that more of this show would surface but nothing has come out in the past seven years. Overall this is a solid release by Wendy. Dallas isn’t the best show but it has its moments and the Denver is good but frustratingly incomplete. For Zeppelin collectors this is worth having.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Dallas Triumphant Return | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Going Down Slow (Munich, May 1973)

zep_goingslow160From collectorsmusicreviews.com

Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany – March 17th, 1973

Disc 1 (57:18): Introduction, Rock And Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2 (75:05): Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker

Led Zeppelin’s Munich show on their 1973 tour was never pressed on vinyl but received circulation in the mid nineties on titles such as Lunatics In Munich (Holy Grail HGCD 102/3) and Olympiahalle 1973 (Immigrant IM-022~23). The last two titles to feature this tape were released several weeks apart in late 1999, Pure Percy (Flagge) and Storm Und Drang (LedNote LCD-1503A/B). Both of these were upgrades over the older titles.

Tarantura is the first silver release of this show since and is a slight upgrade over LedNote. The sound quality is very clear but slightly distant with the emphasis upon the high frequencies with a very thin bass and no hiss. Tarantura increased the volume slightly compared to LedNote making the tape slightly more clear and enjoyable. There are small cuts in the introduction, after “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp,” “Dazed And Confused” and at 5:58 in “Heartbreaker” with very little music lost.

The European shows are notable for a uniformity in sound which is different from other eras of their live history. Jimmy Page’s guitar tone is much dirtier than before and the drums, which are normally very loud and boomy, sound much flatter.

Bonham spends a lot of time throwing wild fills at every opportunity and it is probably his attempt to assert himself in the mix to make some sort of impression. Playing in the Olympia Halle, which was built for the previous year’s Olympic games, they were one of the first rock acts to play the venue and before one of the biggest audiences of the tour. The tape begins with the house announcer listing all of the upcoming acts to play in Munich including Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who receive a loud cheer.

The opening “Rock And Roll” and “Over The Hills And Far Away” are played briskly before Plant addresses the audience inter German, “Danke Schöne.” He makes rather cryptic remarks, saying, ”We’re gonna endeavour to have a good time here. Last time I saw this place there was a lady from Russia doing some very good things, remember?” Their previous appearance in Munich was at the Circus Krone Bau on March 8th, 1970 but what exactly he is referring to isn’t clear. “Black Dog” is about a ”creature who couldn’t stop boogieing” but there is a short delay before he lets out a shout and the band kick into the song.

After “Since I’ve Been Loving You” Plant says, ”Here is a song off the fifth LP, from an album called Houses of the Holy, which I suppose this is one of them. There’s at least four of us anyway. It’s about our affection for young girls. It’s called ‘Dancing Days.’”

After a chaotic version of the new song Plant thanks the “happy people” and speaks about the next song as “a son about another dog. This dog’s got a little bit more life left in him.” The band almost get lost in the middle of this song. Many collectors praise the “technical proficiency” of the band, and Page in particular, as a strength on this tour but it isn’t exactly the case. Page botches his solo in “Dancing Days” and the band almost get lost in “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.’”

After a cut the tape fades back in with Plant saying, “…this requires your attention, as opposed to the noise. It’s a number by Bobby V. It’s called ‘The Song Remains the Same.’” They deliver a tentative but effective version of the complicated song and things get much better with a tight and gorgeous version of “The Rain Song” captured beautifully in this recording.

“Dazed & Confused” is one of the main points of interest in these shows. The beginning is very soft but as they hit the first fast section Plant lets out some elongated groans. The ”San Francisco” section comes in quite early. Bonham wants to play “The Crunge” but Page and Jones don’t go along. It doesn’t matter to Bonzo though as he just keeps playing “The Crunge.” Then Page plays a delicate melody as Jones and Bonham play a smooth jazz rhythm.

“Whole Lotta Love” is close to a half hour long. After the theremin battle they play “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” as an introduction to “Boogie Chillun’.” Plant comes in too early for “(You’re So Square) I Don’t Care” and sings over Page’s boogie.

“I Can’t Quit You” is the slow blues number played towards the end and they included “Going Down Slow.” They play the Howlin’ Wolf arrangement from 1962 with Plant beginning with the Willie Dixon spoken portion: “Now looka here… / I did not say I was a millionaire… / But I said I have spent more money than a millionaire! / Cause if I had’ve kept all my money that I’d already spent, / I would’ve been a millionaire a looong time ago…”

This was a regularly played as the final song of the medley in 1972, rarely on the UK tour in 1973, and only once in Europe. Munich represents the final recorded time they played this song. The only encore of the night is “Heartbreaker.”

Going Down Slow is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with several rare amateur photographs from this how decorating the artwork.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Going Down Slow | , | Leave a comment

Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full (2007)

Paul-McCartney-Memory-Almost-FullFrom sputnikmusic.com

You’ve gotta feel sorry for Sir James Paul McCartney (MBE). He hasn’t had the best couple of years recently. After a plethora of bad press from allegations made by his ex-wife, Heather Mills, and a nasty divorce in the media spotlight, Paul just wants to get back to doing what he loves- writing, recording and releasing pop music. He’s been doing it since he was a teenager, and has provided us with countless pop hits in his illustrious career. Which brings us to his latest – Memory Almost Full. This is an album that manages to encompass absolutely everything that is great (and everything that is not so great) in record time. It is a smorgasbord of pop and “classic” rock with plenty of twists and charming lyricism.

Never one to go stale, Sir Paul initially throws the listener off guard with the folksy stomp of opening track and lead single “Dance Tonight”. Here, Paul’s boppy basslines are replaced with a wonderful sounding mandolin, an instrument that is a force to be reckoned with in pop music (see “Losing My Religion” for all the proof you need of this). Over the simple instrumentation of a stomp box and the aforementioned mandolin, the lyrics are kept short, sweet and simple- “Everybody gonna dance tonight!”, Paul carelessly sings. “Everybody gonna feel alright!”. Okay, so it’s no “Maybe I’m Amazed”, but it’s a lovely little song that isn’t too demanding and will worm its way into your head, slowly but successfully.

The album is a “back to basics” approach to the McCartney musical style with mixed results, going from songs that sound like they are from The Beatles cutting room floor to songs that could have potentially been hit singles for McCartney’s former band, Wings. The “Back In The U.S.S.R” meets “Jet” rock out track of “Only Mama Knows” is an example of retro done right (it seems to help if you were actually there when the music being paid tribute to now was being made). In addition, “Ever Present Past” and “That Was Me” stand out as two of the best songs Paul has written in the past decade. They are retrospective, but not in that really sad, pathetic way that Ringo Starr has been doing on his past couple of albums (even McCartney’s “Pipes of Peace” is better than Starr’s latest, Liverpool 8). More, they are in quiet awe of the life that he has lead, and how quickly it’s all gone – “It went by, it flew by, in a flash”, Sir Paul muses on “Ever Present Past”. On this track, he also confesses that, with “too much on his plate”, he doesn’t “have time to be a decent lover”. You don’t want to think it, but you can’t help but wonder if Heather knew anything about this.
“That Was Me” gives us Sir Paul looking back at the little things in his life, remembering doing things like “playing conkers at the bus stop” and “Merseybeatin’ with the band”. It amazes him to think that the person that is in all those photographs, all those memories, even all those songs, was “the same me that stands here today”. A simple idea executed terrifically well.

Of course, mixed results obviously aren’t going to be entirely positive. Songs such as “See Your Sunshine” and “Gratitude” represent the much lamer, daggier McCartney of the mid-to-late 80s, featuring cheesy lyrics, grating harmonies and several cringeworthy moments. It’s best to only listen to these tracks once or twice to get what I mean; or better still, skipped entirely.
Then, there’s “Mr. Bellamy”. No, it’s not about the guitar wizard that fronts Muse. Mr. Bellamy is actually a cat, or so we are lead to believe, of whom McCartney sings from the perspective of. Over an erratic piano loop that you can’t help but think sounds a little like “Chocolate Rain”, Paul sings loudly and proudly about how he’s “not coming down” (from a tree, we would believe) and that he “likes it up here”. In a lower key, he sings from the perspective of the firefighters trying to get said cat out of said tree. It’s all very silly, but at the same time sticks out as a highlight of the album being adventurous and genuinely interesting in both song structure and musicianship.

Memory Almost Full really does have something for everyone, from the passing McCartney fan to the McCartney fanatics. It’s an album that can go seamlessly from the beautiful piano ballad “The End Of The End” to the rocking Queen-meets-“Kashmir” stomp of closer “Nod Your Head” without throwing you completely. With the release of 2005’s Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard and now this, it seems that Sir Paul has nothing to prove and is free to make just the kind of music he wants to. He may be turning 65 this year, but this album especially show signs of a possible Johnny Cash-style final run of great albums.
One can only hope. Watch this space.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full | | Leave a comment

The Who Who’s Next (1971)

98zfFrom sputnikmusic.com

It is my absolute pleasure to take the time to review what is simply put, one of the greatest albums in the history of rock n roll. My name isn’t Entwistle for no good reason. The Who are my biggest influence and I’m proud to say that I was thoroughly amazed at the songwriting on this album. That’s the beauty of this band. They don’t need to put their chops in perspective in order to write great songs. They just make it happen with a flow unlike anyone I’ve heard (with the exception of VERY few other bands). Pete, John and Roger had met in Grammar school as teenagers. After John and Pete had played in Jazz band together, they joined a band where at the time, Roger was on guitar. After making the switch to vocals, Roger invited the two, as well as recruiting Keith Moon to play the drums. After a year together, the band had finally settled on a name; The Who. Enough of me preaching how good The Who are. Let’s get to the review of the album.

So, Who’s Next?

The album shifts into gear with one of its more memorable tracks. Baba O’Reilly is unlike anything I’ve heard from the band, but it’s not a bad thing at all. A toy-like synthesizer tracking let’s you know that this song stays true to its folk roots. The three note bass riff that makes this song famous follows the synths. Three notes have never been so catchy. After the ridiculously catchy bass hook, Keith’s drums and Roger’s powerful voice comes booming in. “Out here in the fields I fight for my meals. I get my back into my living.” This epic was dedicated to Pete Townshend’s spiritual advisor at the time. The powerful drum beats and fills give way to a sudden break in the music where Pete gracefully chants the lyric that everyone will hum after this song. “Don’t cry, don’t brace your eye. It’s only teenage wasteland.” At this point, the synth melody has changed to a more upbeat, major key. The hook goes on until a pretty little guitar interlude gives way to a jittery violin solo. (Live, Roger solos note for note on harmonica.) Until the tempo builds up to end the song. This was one folk masterpiece.

The CD doesn’t let up on you afterwards. We’re in for another hit off the album, Bargain is probably the lyrics that everyone knows. It starts with a mellow acoustic guitar riff until the crazy drum fill kicks into a rockin guitar and great vocals. The verses are quite short, but the choruses are what catches peoples ears. “I call it a bargain, the best I ever had.” The drums are quite nice here and the bass is wonderful. About 2 minutes in Pete starts to sing with John playing a wonderful little lick behind him and Keith pounding with his signature out of place crazy fills. The verse comes back in along with the high energy choruses. The guitar takes a tiny solo afterwards until the dynamics of the verse riff build up to release into the acoustic riff outro.

The next track, Love Aint For Keeping is a shorter, blues oriented song with a lighter feel to the acoustic/electric guitar combination. Roger’s voice is much lighter and heartier than previously. Another song that has out of control drums, and some nice guitar riffage. The length of the song kinda turns me off though. It’s too short and could’ve opened up into a great song if they had worked on it a bit more. But, it’s still okay while it lasts.

This next track is unique from all the others in the fact that the entire song was written by none other than the Ox himself. Correct, Entwistle wrote the catchy number entitled My Wife . Surprisingly, the song isn’t bass driven. It features a cool bassline, but nowhere near bass driven. The hook of the song is probably the brass showcase and the jokey lyrics of adultery. This was another good song that was cut off by time. But the brass was awesome as well as the vocal performance. Okay song, nothing too spectacular.

A drastic change of pace follows. The Song is Over seems almost like an Elton John ballad in the beginning, with the piano and Pete’s mellow voice. But after a minute and a half, Keith and Roger come thundering in, with soaring voices and wild drumming, with a deep bassline. The Elton John persona comes back after a bit, changing back and forth between tempos here and there, with Roger and Pete trade off the spotlight. The bassline is almost percussive, at how well it works with the melodies. The first lyric of the song ends this different, yet cool track.

The next recording, Getting In Tune , is very cool with mellower drumming than the other tracks and very strong voices from Mr. Daltrey. The lyrics are a bit darker and much more heartfelt. The heavier feel of the song is done very tastefully and features a great guitar performance and a counter-melody bassline. The drumming, as a result of being more grounded, keeps the groove there the entire time, which is a reason why I like the song so much. The groove doesn’t let up at all. They combination of drum fills, guitar soloing, and keyboard winding is very cool while Roger wails the title. Awesome song.

Another bluesy song, Going Mobile follows up. This song features Pete singing all the way through and a nice clean electric/acoustic guitar blend of riffing patterns during the verses. It also features some experimenting with effects on guitar in some parts. You can hear the wah and filters buzzing during the quiet interludes. This song seems to have gotten it’s origin from the do-whop era in the late 50’s and the classic oldies. Another thing you may notice is how the drumming is relentless. It’s kinda weird. Calm song, crazy drumming. However, it seems to work well. Another cool, diverse song.

These next two songs are probably the best, as well as most famous songs on the album, beginning with this hit single, Behind Blue Eyes . If you haven’t heard this song, you were most likely born yesterday. It was a great song that was torn to shreds, and you can thank Limp Bizkit for their horrid cover of this. It starts with a light acoustic guitar melody and some emotional lyrics that everyone knows the words to. The chorus lyrics are gut wrenchingly heartfelt, with phrases like ‘And these dreams, they are as empty as my conscience seems to be.” Yeah, it’s a pretty song. About midway through, the tempo picks up with a bridge that just plain out rocks. Roger’s voice is on top form here until they quietly shift back into the final verse to fade out one of the anthems of the 70’s.

The final track on the album is definitely my favorite, and possibly my favorite song of all time. The song is none other than Won’t Get Fooled Again . This is 8 minutes of musical orgasms. It begins with a hyper synth tracking, up until the guitar and bass whistfully pull off a grand riff, roaring and thickly defining Roger’s wailing voice. You can’t exactly hear it, but you can certainly feel the bassline. If you ever get a chance to hear the bass by itself in this song, you will be in awe. I still wonder how John’s hands could’ve moved that fast. The drumming isn’t balls out at all, keeping the entire band sounding excellent. The choruses are energetic with some less serious lyrics and overall just fun feel. Don’t mention that counter melody bass. It’s just too good. There is an ambient section in this song, but don’t be turned off by it, it’ll just sooth you out until the band thunders back in with a rocket propelled performance. This is the Who at their finest. I simply can’t put it any better.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | The Who Who's Next | | Leave a comment

David Bowie The Next Day (2013)

MI0003483266From huffingtonpost.com

At 66, David Bowie is about eight years younger than Yeats was when he wrote “Politics.” If Bowie’s not old yet, he’s getting there, and “The Next Day” is his first album in 10 years. We’re told he made it because “today he definitely has something to say.” Since Bowie claims he will never give another interview, it’s up to us to ask, What is he trying to say? How well is he saying it? Are we obliged to care?

To answer those questions, we can compare “old Bowie” to the “young Bowie” who burst onto the scene with the hit single “Space Oddity,” in 1969, and went on to create the defining album of 1970s rock, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” But we may also wish to compare “old Bowie” to his fellow aging legends — “old Dylan,” “old Cash,” “old McCartney,” “old Jagger.”

“The Next Day,” after all, is filled with references to Bowie’s catalogue — there are sonic and lyrical echoes of everything from “Life on Mars” to “Heroes,” to “Let’s Dance” — but it also contains a song about celebrities and a Dylan tribute (one that’s arguably better than 1971’s “Song For Bob Dylan”) alongside the expected meditations on mortality and the follies of youth.

Let’s start with the first thing you’ll notice: Bowie’s voice isn’t what it used to be. It’s been decades since he’s been able to produce the giddy elastic yelp of “Hunky Dory” or “Ziggy Stardust,” but even the sexy growl familiar from “Let’s Dance” has crumbled a bit. At times, Bowie sounds ageless; other times, he sounds like what he is: a sexagenarian who hasn’t really toured since having a heart attack nine years ago.

Does it matter? Not really. Unlike the two Pauls (McCartney and Simon), Bowie cannot claim vocal immortality, but he’s got about as much left as Mick Jagger, whose throaty lower register disappeared somewhere along the way. “Old Bowie” isn’t afraid to reach for a high note, and he does a lot of shout-y belting, but he’s most successful when he settles into a comfortable range and lets the years show.

So what is he saying? For one thing, that he still lives in the same world as the rest of us. This isn’t Neil Young emerging from the cellar with a jar of moonshine or Bob Dylan visiting from some wagon train in the 1800s. Bowie is keenly aware of his own celebrity, but it’s not some foreign, alienating imposition: he worked hard to be this notorious.

In “Where Are We Now?,” he sings, over “Life on Mars”-y piano chords, “Had to get the train / from Potsdamer Platz / You never knew that I could do that / Just walk in the day.” Add the sight of Bowie tooling around Berlin on foot to his existing gallery of enduring images — the astronaut so awed by the beauty of Earth that he decides not to return (“Space Oddity”), the city dwellers struggling to digest the news of impending armageddon (“Five Years”), the kids listening to alien transmissions over the radio (“Starman”).

Notice anything about those indelible visions? They’re all sci-fi fantasies involving celestial bodies, aliens and the great beyond, and Bowie continues the tradition on “The Next Day.” “Dancing Out in Space” is a meaningless but bouncy number that would have sounded great between Blur and Pulp singles on a dance floor in 1997, and “The Stars Are Out Tonight” is a joke that’s funnier if you know how orbitally obsessed Bowie has always been: at first, you think the names he recites — “Brigitte, Jack and Kate and Brad” — must belong to little kids looking at the stars, until it becomes clear they are the stars, the celebrities, who “burn you with their radiant stares and trap you with their beautiful eyes.”

Bowie isn’t just taking the train with us; he’s ogling celebrities with us, too, never mind that he is — or was — one of the biggest around. On the title track, Bowie sings, “First they give you everything that you want / Then they take back everything you had.” Has Bowie had his A-list all-access pass revoked? Not likely, but after all these years of reclusiveness, it’s possible the invitations have begun to dry up.

You get the sense, from the music but also from this video with Tilda Swinton, that Bowie has ambivalent feelings about his distance from the cultural tide. There was a time when he defined it, followed by a long period when he tried but perhaps failed to steer it in more esoteric directions; now all he can do is remind us how much he did to shape it — and impart a few lessons to those traveling in his wake.

On “Love Is Lost,” which begins like an old Squeeze song before veering into darker terrain, he addresses what sounds like a 22-year-old fashion model suffering through her first heartbreak: “Your maid is new and your accent too, but your fear is as old as the world.” Listen to Bowie, kid — he’s been there! And on “I’d Rather Be High,” a poppy ode to youthful indifference that doubles as a sly anti-war anthem, he puts himself in the shoes of a truant soldier and sings, “I stumble to the graveyard / and I lay down by my parents / whisper, ‘Just remember, duckies, / everybody gets got.'”

Like so many aging artists before him, it seems, Bowie has learned the Big Lesson: no matter how much money you make, how many sex partners you corral, or even how many masterpieces you produce, we’re all riding a one-way conveyor belt into the furnace of oblivion. Does that mean everything we’ve done is meaningless? Not really, Bowie seems to suggest on “Where Are We Now?,” “as long as there’s sun / as long as there’s rain / as long as there’s fire / as long as there’s me / as long as there’s you.”

In 1994, Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin made “American Recordings.” Its message? Cash’s genius was a whole lot bigger than the Country Western genre that has encased it for too long. In 1997, Dylan made the Grammy-winning album “Time Out of Mind.” His message? I may sing like a dying toad, but my journey is far from over. In 2008, the Rolling Stones made the concert film “Shine a Light.” Their message? We may be old, but we can rock as hard as anybody, anywhere.

Now it’s 2013, and David Bowie has just released “The Next Day,” and I think I know what he’s trying to say: he’s still here, and he hasn’t given up on us yet. Or, to quote the seventh song on the album, “If you can see me, I can see you.”

March 21, 2013 Posted by | David Bowie The Next Day | | Leave a comment

The Who Who Are You (1978)

who are youFrom sputnikmusic.com

It had been three years since The Who realeased their last album, and the amount of tours they were doing were dwindling each year. Keith Moon, rock ‘n roll madman, had lived such a rock ‘n roll lifestyle that it was taking a toll on him: mentally, physically, and even in his playing. However, one more album had to be made, and it was made.

This album was very different than other Who material (described during the song by song breakdown). It is also the last Who album that has Keith Moon behind the drumset. Around the time of the album’s release, Moon died by an overdose of drugs that would help in cope with his alchoholism. In yet another irony, on the album cover of Who Are You, Moon is sitting on a chair that reads “Not to be taken away.”

This is Moon’s farewell album, yet he doesn’t shine anywhere near like he used to, until the final track where he gives it his all. However, in this CD issue, there are numerous bonus tracks that follow the title song, which on the original vinyl release was the last song.

New Song
This song reminds me of a 70s TV show theme song at some parts. Synthesizers dominate the track, and even though Entwistle does lay a nifty bass track, the guitar and drum work seems mediocre compared to regular Who standards. A good song to open the album, considering what the rest of the album is like. The half-time sections are highlights of this sub-par tune.

2/5

Had Enough
Even though it maintains the 70s synthesizer feel of New Song, this song has more of The Who feel to it. It feels more intense, has better playing by Moon, but still seems cheezy and dated. The middle section between verses again feels like a TV show theme song, probably reinforced by the strings.

2.5/5

905
Finally there’s some synthesizer action that sounds cool. An Entwistle tune, this song completly overshadows its predescors, and has a cool rock ‘n roll feel lacking in the previous two songs. ven though its more simplistic instrumentally, the overall feel just makes me bob my head constantly. The vocals (which sound like Entwistle’s) are better then what Daltry has provided thus far on the album.

4/5

Sister Disco
The Who + Disco = Somewhat okay, but should never be done. Even though its still better then many other songs of the era, it just isn’t good material in comparison to past albums. Synthesizers and strings completly dominate this tune over Who instrumentation. The bass and drums feel flat in this song, but Daltry does provide some good vocal work.

2/5

Music Must Change
A cool bluesy groove is established at the beginning, reinforced by some smooth vocals. Synthesizers don’t come in for quite some time, and don’t distract. Despite not being as powerful as earlier songs on this album, its an overall decent tune.

2.5/5

Trick of the Light
Probably the most out of place song on the album, and that’s a good thing. Trick of the Light is easily the best song on the album, and I believe one of the greatest Who songs of all time. Its driving, energetic, has awesome guitar, drum, bass, and vocal work, and features Entwistle playing a distorted 8 string bass that provides the sweet riff that appears throughout the song. Odd how the two best songs on the album are Entwistle’s compositions.

5/5

Guitar and Pen
A very smooth melodic introduction transfers into an upbeat verse. For once Townshend does some guitar work that actually stands out. Not as much synthesizer as in other songs; the instrumentation is emphasized more on piano and guitar. Even though the beginning seems sub-par to me, as well as the chorus, the rest of the song is actually pretty decent.

2.5/5

Love is Coming Down
I believe that complex string orchestration and The Who shouldn’t really mix. The intro and verse has good chord changes and outstanding Daltry vocals, but the strings distract me from the rest of the song.

3/5

Who Are You
The title track of this mediocre album is in no way medicore. You might have heard this song on Gateway commercials about 5 years ago, or as the theme song for the original CSI. Finally Townshend has done something right on this album, and I believe this is one of the better Who songs in their entire discography. Its well composed, has multiple, differing sections, good balance of synthesizer and guitar work, and one of the best Moon drum tracks of all time. Great vocal work by all 3 singers, but my only beef is that Entwistle doesn’t shine as much as he should on a song of this calibre. But otherwise great song.

4/5

No Road Romance
A ballad emphasizing on piano and what I think are Townshend’s vocals. Not typical Who material, but decent nevertheless. Virtually non-existant drums, some kinda cool bass slides, but no special contributions from the other members. In fact, I just read the booklet, and its pretty much a Townshend demo with his overdubs.

2.5/5

Empty Glass
This is another Townshend demo (later recorded for his solo albums) with overdubs by Moon and Entwistle. Townshend’s vocals are pretty weak on this song, and other than the bass guitar work throughout, including the harmonics in the intro, this is another weak song.

2/5

Guitar and Pen (alternate mix)
Practically the same song as before, but with much more prominent guitar work. Sometimes the guitar seems to be overbearing on the vocals, but I think that the added boost in the guitar track makes this mix a better version.

3/5

Love is Coming Down (early mix)
A cut made early in the mixing process. Slight differences here and there, but nothing of substantial difference to the rest of the song.

2.5/5

Who Are You (different 2nd verse)
The same exact song with a different 2nd verse. Frankly it doesn’t make a difference to me, so I won’t rate this version.

OVERALL: Who Are You has not aged well. Even the older mod era Who of the mid 60s sounds more modern than most the material on this record. For a fan of that 70s disco, synthesizer-laced sound, this is probably the best record you can have in your collection. For your typical classic rock fan, you might not get into it at all, but at least there are some rocking songs on here that would suit your tastes. A definite album for any avid Who fan, but you should probably pick up their earlier albums first before you invest your money in this. If you want to get into The Who, this is not a good gateway album.

PROS:
Some really rocking tracks (Trick of the Light, Who Are You, 905)
Entwistle really shines as a composer
Very different sound, not regurgetated Who material

CONS:
New Song
The bonus track demos are weak
Very dated sound
Almost over-produced with strings, horns, and synthesizers
Moon’s performance is very substandard throughout (with the exception of the title track)

March 21, 2013 Posted by | The Who Who Are You | | Leave a comment