Friday, October 24, 2014


If the Stones could do it and The Beach Boys could do it, I guess Pete Townshend figured he had to do something to honour fifty years of The Who.  Roger Daltry no doubt had little problem with it, he seems happy to give fans old and new something to enjoy each year.  So a tour is coming, along with this collection, yet another in a very long list of best-of's, boxes and re-packages.  As the group has done in the past, a new song is included to tempt the fans who must have it all, and this boasts tracks from every period.  That isn't a great boast of course, as it means including newer stuff at the expense of classics.  It's hard to find anything to like about It's Hard, for instance, but the title cut is dutifully included.  That means we only get two songs from Quadrophenia, and three from Tommy.   And once again the dire Eminence Front is chosen for a best-of, another It's Hard cut that the group has long pretended was popular.  I get that the compilers were trying to include all the singles, but they left off Long Live Rock, a song ten times better.

Still, most everything is here, and if you need a best-of, the two-disc version of this is as good as any they've released.  I'd go with that over the single disc, as there are some interesting cuts included that are rarely heard.  Postcard comes from Odds and Sods (like Long Live Rock), and unless you don't have that set, it's a fun little number sung by John Entwistle that barely sounds like the band.  Join Together and Relay were singles released between Who's Next and Quadrophenia, neither of them big hits and never played on radio these days.  Then there's the obscure 1968 single Dogs, basically about people who like greyhound racing, including some spoken-word stuff, very odd and not a hit.  It slows down the hit-after-hit pace, but it's fun to have something different to hear from the band.

The new cut here, Be Lucky, is supposed to be the first taste of an upcoming album, to be released sometime in 2015.  It has some great Daltry vocals in the verses, but an annoying chorus, and has something to do with the band AC/DC.  It's a bit of a meandering mess really, totally Townshend's fault, Roger's doing his job.  Doesn't bode well for anything new.  As for everything else here, well, it's one of the great canons in rock, ain't it?  Call it a bargain.

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