Monday, 2 January 2017

"Who's next: Deluxe Edition" by THE WHO (April 2003 MCA/Chronicles 2CD Reissue and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Sing My Song Out To The Infinite Sea…"

I can remember as a teenager seeing the album cover to "Who's Next" in a record shop on Talbot Street in Dublin in the late summer of 1971. I laughed out loud. There was our favourite Rock Reprobates pissing up against a concrete monolith in the middle of some slag heap somewhere (only The Who!) I knew I had to own it. And like so many other fans of Seventies Classic Rock - I've been in love with this deceptively deep album for over 40 years - to a point where I've something like 7 different pressings of it on vinyl alone.

Which brings us by swift of shore and bend of bay to this fabulous 2CD DELUXE EDITION celebration of "Who's Next" - which only makes me want to wee-wee my initials on even bigger walls. So here are the new bosses, marital bargains and the Baba O'Riley behind those blue eyes...

UK released April 2003 - "Who's Next: Deluxe Edition" by THE WHO on MCA/Chronicles 088 113 056-2 (Barcode 008811305628) is a 2CD Reissue and Remaster that breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (79:30 minutes):
1. Baba O'Riley
2. Bargain
3. Love Ain't For Keeping
4. My Wife
5. The Song Is Over
6. Getting In Tune [Side 2]
7. Gong Mobile
8. Behind Blue Eyes
9. Won't Get Fooled Again
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Who's Next" - their 6th album released August 1971 in the UK on Track Records 2408 102 and Decca DL 79182 in the USA (CD Disc 1 uses the Track logo while Disc 2 uses Decca)
10. Baby Don't You Do It
A band fave - a cover version of Marvin Gaye's Tamla Hit recorded 16 March 1971 with LESLIE WEST of MOUNTAIN guesting on Guitar - runs to 8:20 minutes
11. Getting in Tune [Previously Unreleased Alternate Version]
12. Pure And Easy
The 'Original Version' recorded 17 and 18 March 1971. A later different version turned up on the 1974 compilation LP "Odds And Sods"
13. Love Ain't For Keeping [Alternate Version recorded 17 March 1971. First appearance was on the extended CD of "Odds And Sods" in 1998
14. Behind Blue Eyes - this 'Original Version' recorded 17 and 18 March 1971 features AL KOOPER on Organ
15. Won't Get Fooled Again [Previously Unreleased] - an early version of the full album version at 8:46 minutes - it features a different synth pattern to the released version

Disc 2 (74:51 minutes):
1. Love Ain't For Keeping
2. Pure And Easy
3. Young Man Blues
4. Time Is Passing
5. Behind Blue Eyes
6. I Don't Even Know Myself
7. Too Much Of Anything
8. Getting in Tune
9. Bargain
10. Water
11. My Generation
12. Road Runner
13. Naked Eye
14. Won't Get Fooled Again
Tracks 1 to 14 are all PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED except for "Naked Eye" which appeared on the 1974 compilation LP "Odds And Sods". All tracks were recorded live 26 April 1971 in front of an invited audience at The Young Vic Theatre in South London. "Young Man Blues" and "Road Runner" are Mose Allison and Bo Diddley cover versions. "I Don't Even Know Myself" turned up in studio form as the non-album B-side to the UK and US 7" single edit of "Won't Get Fooled Again". A studio version of "Water" was eventually released as the non-album B-side to the "Quadrophenia" single "5:15".

The oversized 28-page booklet has an introduction from Pete Townshend about his beloved "Lifehouse" project that eventually became the album, a poster from their concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, period photos of the band in full on-stage flight, an in-depth history by Who expert JOHN ATKINS, track-by-track details and even a photo of KEITH MOON in ladies underwear (an alternate album cover). ANDY MacPHERSON and JON ASTLEY have carried out the remixes and remasters at Close To The Edge and they rock - full of muscle - perfectly capturing the sheer sonic power of the band. Two examples of where this is most evident is the amazing rocking work outs of "Baby Don't You Do It" on Disc 1 and "Water (Live)" on Disc 2 - wow!

While plaudits always go to the cool "Baba O'Riley" opener on Side 1 bookended by the monster Who anthem "Won't Get Fooled Again" playing out Side 2 - I've always loved those album tracks in-between. "Love Ain't For Keeping" and "The Song Is Over" both showed the depth of Townshend's writing and Roger Daltrey's raspy vocals. That same Rock soulfulness permeates both "Getting In Tune" and the ache/anger that runs through "Behind Blue Eyes". And the brass break in John Entwistle's acidic "My Wife" still kicks you in the teeth. Can't really resist the "beep beep!" and brilliant treated guitar on "Going Mobile" either - what an album.

The Live Disc opens with an incendiary take of "Love Ain't For Keeping" with the band sounding confident - ripping into great new material. I like the plaintive "Too Much Of Anything" which features NICKY HOPKINS on piano and the jangly "Naked Eye". It ends on a barnstorming "Won't Get Fooled Again" with the audience left in shock and awe.

"I sing my heart out to the infinite sea..." - Roger Daltrey wails on "The Song Is Over". There's a scene in "The Greater Fool" - Episode 10 in Series One of Aaron Sorkin's brilliant TV Show "The Newsroom". I wrote about it in a book of poems I put out this year called "My Broken Heart (75 Days In The NHS)" about a Quad Bypass I had that took a tad longer than I would have liked. The News Anchorman Will McAvoy (played brilliantly by Jeff Daniels) has tried to commit suicide after a public drubbing and a series of bad events - and he's laid low in a hospital. But his crew from the TV station are with him trying to talk him back to work to report on a story of the Democrats shafting elderly voters out of their voting rights by using 'voter fraud' as an excuse. The opening chords and riff of "Baba O'Riley" by THE WHO begins to play in the background - Will leaps out bed - gotta go back to work - gotta report on this...he's back. I cried my sappy Irish eyes out in my own side room in Whipps Cross Hospital. What other band can elicit this? When you're back's against the wall - can you always rely on The Who?

What is it about this Rock Band that makes so many of us weak at the knees? The sheer British balls-to-the-wall of it all - the life force coursing through their tunes - or is it the uplifting centre that brings you back - again and again. I don't know - but God bless 'em anyway. And here's to 40 more years of naughty boys whizzing all over public structures in our politically correct straightjacket world...

PS: you should buy this reissue...

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