Combining the two rarities albums "Who's Missing", "Two's Missing" is a smart move since it gathers the bulk of the songs that haven't appeared on The Who's respective albums. What's different here than the previously issued 12 track versions of those albums are the addition of stray singles that either never ended up on a compilation, are only available on the boxed set The Who: 30 Years Of Maximum R&B Live or are available inferior transfers to CD/vinyl.
We get the original "Who's Missing" and "Two's Missing" remastered from the original analog mastertapes using the DSD higher definition transfer process. While these are still 16 bit CDs the clarity is improved for most of the tracks ("Under My Thumb" is an exception--it sounds muddy compared to the original CD/vinyl version. It sounds like the tape head was slightly out of alignment. It's still listenable just not as good as it could be) they are on the Super High Material (SHM) CD format.
SHM uses a special polycarbonate plastic. SHM-CDs feature improved transparency on the data side of the disc, allowing for more accurate reading of CD data by the CD player laser head. SHM-CD format CDs are fully compatible with standard CD players. Now, some people believe that SHM makes a big difference and some do not regardless of which boat you fall into what makes this set essential are the additional tracks along with the fact that it puts back into print TWO CDs that have been out of print for some time.
Aside from "Under My Thumb" the introduction to the live tracks are a bit longer than the original CD versions.
Astley has been criticized by some Who fans for his remixes and mastering but he does an exceptional job on this set along with the other CDs in this reissue SHM-CD series.
As mentioned the tracks are as follows:
The bonus tracks seem to include the Japanese only "Then & Now" bonus CD+
1. Shout And Shimmy (Mono)
2. Leaving Here
3. Anytime You Want Me (Mono)
4. Lubie (Come Back Home)
5. Barbara Ann (Mono)
6. I'm A Boy (Mono)
7. Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (Original version) (Mono)
8. Heaven And Hell (This is the BBC Live track from the bonus disc that was issued with Best Buy but faded out before the "Thank You" although it's from a superior source tape)
9. Here For More
10. I Don't Even Know Myself
11. When I Was a Boy
12. Bargain (Live in San Francisco 1971)
13. Doctor, Doctor (Bonus Track) (Mono)
14. Someone's Coming (US single version) (Bonus Track) (Mono)
15. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (UK single version) (Bonus Track) (Mono)
16. Postcard (Cancelled EP version) (Bonus Track)
17. Baby Don't You Do It (Live in San Francisco 1971) (Bonus Track)
1. Bald-Headed Woman (Mono)
2. Under My Thumb (Mono)(This version sounds like the tape heads were either misaligned or a stereo deck was used to play back the mono tape diminishing the sound quality of the transfer).
3. My Wife (Live in San Francisco 1971)
4. I'm A Man
5. Dogs (Mono)
6. Dogs Part. 2
7. Circles (Mono)
8. The Last Time (Mono)(The Last Time sounds as if the tape heads were misaligined or it was played back on a stereo machine impacting the quality of the sound).
10. Daddy Rolling Stone
11. Heat Wave
12. Goin' Down (Live in San Francisco 1971)
15. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (US single version) (Bonus Track) (Mono)
16. I Don't Even Know Myself (Cancelled EP version)) (Bonus Track)
17. Eyesight To The Blind (Alternative Vocal) (Bonus Track) (Suffers from what sounds like a misalignment of the playback heads diminishing the sound quality of the track).
18. Call Me Lightning (Bonus Track) (Mono)
The mono tracks are presented as such because the multitracks are missing for those particular songs and they've never received a proper stereo mix.
Some of these bonus tracks were previously released as part of the "Rarities" set while some haven't received a release before with the mixes included here.
Aside from "Under My Thumb" the rest of the tracks sound extremely good to exceptional. Whether or not you buy into the fact that SHM MAY improve the playback for CDs, this set is essential. If you can't find it at amazon order it directly from CDJapan as these are available as limited edition mini-sleeves with extensive booklets and a card with the number of your CD from the limited edition (the exception to this is "Two's Missing" since it's bundled with "Who's Missing" they get two cards with images of the original MCA labels BUT only the "WM" has the # on it).
I've docked this a star for the issue with "Under My Thumb" (which is the original mix used for the single. "Odds and Sods" uses a 1998 remix)which should have been caught during the review process for the disc otherwiwise this is a fine collection.
This is highly recommended for fans of The Who.