THE WHO – FIRST ALBUM COMPLETED by John Emery
The Who—the group you either "Love Or Hate!"
The group who put presentation first and music second, and whose off-beat stage act and ideas in dynamics have attracted just what they wanted, something that is vital in show business these days, publicity.
"I Can't Explain" or "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" haven't hit the high spots but they have certainly established The Who—and aroused interest in their first long player.
There is no definite release date for it yet, but it has been completed, although the actual titles and running order have still to be sorted out by Brunswick.
SHEL Talmy, who also records The Kinks, A and R'd the album which was entirely recorded at the I.B.C. Studios in Portland Place, W.I, and was assisted by engineer Glyn Johns.
Shel played me an acetate of nine of the tracks, but before I even heard them, one thing hit me slap in the face just looking at the titles—the lack of originality in choice of material.
Of the nine songs, eight were revived American items, originally recorded by such artists as James Brown, Martha and the Vandellas and Bo Diddley.
True, they are given that distinctive Who treatment but that might not be enough if they want to make a big impression with the album.
Their sound was supplemented throughout by piano, played by session man Nick Hopkins, who once played with Screamin' Lord Sutch.
ANOTHER interesting point is the fact that they have not used their electronic effects as extensively as one might have expected. The only track in which this "sound" really stands out is on "I'M A MAN", a Bo Diddley number that is given a completely original Who treatment.
The Bo Diddley version tends to become monotonous, but The Who have worked out certain climaxes at different points. This number lasts all of ten minutes when they perform it on stage but they had to trim it down for their album to just under half that time.
They make a good job of Martha and the Vandellas' "HEATWAVE", a number attempted by few groups. It is similar to the original and has some very notable vocal backings from Peter Townsend and bass player John Entwistle.
JAMES BROWN NUMBER
I DON'T MIND" might be chosen to open side one. It's a James Brown number sung well by Roger Daltrey, and a song that might well be popularised by this LP, as was "Walking The Dog" and "Route 66" by The Rolling Stones.
"LUBIE", another American item, has a persistent beat with chants of "Lubie Come Back Home" from Peter and John in the background.
Climax is used again in this one with a pause in the middle of the song where Roger slows the number down with spoken lyrics—then it is built up again to a crescendo.
"LUBIE" is a particularly long track, stretching to about four minutes.
"YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW ME" was written by Peter Townsend and is opened with guitar strumming and bursts into an up-tempo raver. There is some feedback used here.
"PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE" is another James Brown song and is recognised among the deeper R & B groups as a "Standard". The Who perform this well, and Peter Townsend stands out with a catchy solo.
ONE OF THE BEST
"LEAVING HERE" in my opinion, is one of the best tracks. It is an American number recorded a short time ago as a single by The Birds. Drummers should listen closely to this one— Keith Moon uses some great bass pedal work.
"MOTORING" is on the flipside of Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere To Run" and has to be heard several times before it is appreciated.