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The Who Tales From The Who

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A sell-out crowd of 19,500 packed the Spectrum for a gross of $135,000. The show was recorded for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, as was the following night in Largo, Maryland. It was an edited version of this night’s concert that was aired on March 31, 1974.

After a lengthy version of ‘My Wife’ follower by a superbly fast and hard performance of ‘My Generation’, which maintained its energy through seven minutes and some brilliant guitar soloing from Townshend, the Quadrophenia section of the show was less impressive. Pete said “The better part of an album what we wrote about ourselves being Mods, when we were little. The story about the Mod kid and we call it Quadrophenia… Being Mod meant a lot more in England I think than it ever did in America. I think you think of it being a Carnaby street thing… And it’s not just a looking back, it’s a kind of bringing up to date. Quadrophenia’s about where we all are today, maybe you too.

The story is set on a rock in the middle of a stormy sea. In Quadrophonic, as well!” Pete started playing a bit a little too soon before the tape of ‘I Am The Sea’ had finished. Explaining ‘I’m One’, Pete said: “The next song is called ‘I’m One’, what I sing and it’s about the way I felt, ’cause I wrote it. When I was a nipper I always used to feel that the guitar was all I had… I wasn’t tough enough to be in a gang, I wasn’t good looking enough to be with the birds, not clever enough to make it at school, not good enough on my feet to be a good football player, I was a fucking loser. I think everyone feels that way at some point. And somehow being a Mod – even though I was too old to be a Mod really – I wrote this song with that in mind. Jimmy, the hero of the story, is kinda thinking he hasn’t got much going for himself but at least he’s one.”

‘Sea And Sand’ slowed down into a single guitar riff and built up again as Daltrey sang ‘I’m The Face’, and ‘Drowned’ featured some fine ensemble playing. ‘Bell Boy’ sounded rather clumsy but Keith Moon enlivened the song with his funny amendment of the lyric to “remember the place in Canada that we smashed.” The average quality of the Quadrophenia performances was more than compensated for by ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, a fine ‘See Me, Feel Me’ and ‘Pinball Wizard’. Townshend introduced the latter as ‘Pineball Blizzard’. The radio broadcast omitted ‘My Wife’, ‘Punk And The Godfather’, ‘5:15’, and ‘Love Reign O’er Me’. The remaining show had the four letter words in the announcements edited out, as well as from ‘Dr. Jimmy’, although Daltrey had slipped a “fucking” into the last verse of ‘My Generation’ which seemingly was broadcast unnoticed!

The 16-track master tapes of the show (and Largo, MD, the two night later) have been carefully preserved by King Biscuit Flower Hour for future use, but The Who have always considered them unsuitable for release.

February 20, 2013 Posted by | The Who Tales From The Who | | Leave a comment

The Who – Tales From The Who


One of the most famous bootlegs in recorded history, Tales from the Who came from the King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast of a Long Beach concert taped following the release of Quadrophenia.

The Who, as usual, rely on taped backup for all keyboards and any other instruments except guitar, bass, and drums. Roger Daltrey is in great voice as the band revisits “Can’t Explain,” “Summertime Blues,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and “My Generation.” Likewise, Pete Townsend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon are in good form and please the crowd with their performances.

Over half of this two-record set is devoted to selections from the then-new Quadrophenia, and there’s an amusing story about this recording. Normally when the King Biscuit producers put out live concerts for commercial broadcasts, they carefully bleeped out any obscenities, but in this case they overlooked some.

The New Orleans radio station that aired this program was unaware, like the show’s producers, that “Dr. Jimmy” contained a four-letter word, and it was duly broadcast. However, whichever station provided the broadcast that served as the source material for this bootleg had a station manager or program director familiar with the song, so they duly dubbed the KBFH disc to reel-to-reel tape and spliced out the offending word prior to airing the program (producing the bizarre line “Her fella’s gonna kill me/Aww, f-ill he”), but even they missed another one slipped into “My Generation.”

The bootleg label’s claim that this is a quadraphonic release was a bit laughable, because it couldn’t been taped off the radio in quadraphonic, and trying to convert it after the fact would have had all the success of the pseudo-stereo records of the 1960s. According to William Stout, who designed the colorful cover that was a knockoff of classic horror comic book covers, only 120 copies of this two-record set were released, as the operators of TMOQ knew that the FBI was on their trail and, in a fit of panic, they destroyed all other copies of the release (as quoted in Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry by Clinton Heylin).

Like most King Biscuit broadcasts, the sound isn’t quite as good as typical commercial live rock records, but this collectable is far better-sounding than any other bootlegs featuring the Who, and its extreme rarity makes it a very valuable recording to own, superseded only by the original King Biscuit Flower Hour LPs distributed to the network radio stations for the broadcast.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | The Who Tales From The Who | , | Leave a comment