Having read through a lot of reviews/comments about this album, I find the accepted view to be, that it is a great album, comparable to their best and that this 'version' comes with some good, but not necessarily essential, bonus material.
Oh, and there are even some people who don't like it.
Well I actually count myself lucky that I came to this album only recently because it means my view of it wasn't skewed by familiarity with its much shorter former incarnation. I actually played it as is, unaware that the additional tracks had not been part of the original release.
My impression was one astonishment. Why was this album not widely trumpeted as one of the greatest works of the sixties? Why was "Tommy" considered a better album? I was mystified. A double album(as it must have been judging by its length)of this quality would surely be included in all those 'Best Album...' lists.
The truly amazing thing is the way that, although it is not a 'concept album' the music fits together to create an incredible barrage of striking imagery that all coalesces perfectly to create a 'whole' that really is greater than the sum of its parts. One of the strengths of the album is the lack(!) of well known tracks(the only one I knew beforehand was 'I Can See For Miles') this gives the record a lovely 'balanced feel'.
I find it very strange, now that I am aware of the original track listing, to think that the album was ever released without 'Early Morning Cold Taxi', the stunning instrumental showcase 'Hall of the Mountain King' and perhaps the gem of the whole album 'Girl's Eyes'(a perfect and sympathetic depiction of the fixated fan/band relationship).
It isn't the easiest "Who" album to like(it took me a few plays before it started to 'click'), and in this form there is so much more to digest than before, but I would suggest it has the potential to be the most rewarding long term listen of all their albums.
on 27 March 2009
Universal Music have released many 2-CD sets(by many artists) in their "Deluxe Edition" series, and I have most of them in my collection, but none are more impressive than this set, which gives you the original 1967 stereo & mono mixes of "The Who Sell Out", plus a nearly vault-clearing excavation of 27 bonus tracks.
No matter which mix of the album you prefer, Universal Music offers all of them. Personally, I prefer the more Hifi sound of the 1995 stereo remix(not included here, though easily available on the 1-CD expanded edition). The original stereo mix is murkier & muddier, but this 2-CD set puts it back in print, and offers the mono mix for the first time in the UK(no need to hunt for the deleted Japanese mono CD).
There are actual musical differences between the stereo & mono mixes, including a different guitar solo on "Our Love Was".
For the bonus tracks, the compilers have used original 1967 mixes, except for tracks where no original mix(or no stereo mixes) existed. Original masters & multitracks are used, excepting when the Uk mono single mix of "Someone's Coming" is presented on Disc 2. Apparently, the only tapes that could be found had unsatisfactory sound or did not match exactly with the mix heard on the original Uk single, so American collector Luke Pacholski has supplied a digital dub from his vintage Track Records single. More Hifi conscious listeners can listen to an excellent 1995 stereo remix on Disc One.
Amongst the unreleased goodies included are the instrumental "Sodding About", a different studio version of "Summertime Blues"(different from the version on the expanded "Odds & Sods"), an early mix of "I Can See For Miles" with different vocals, a superior re-make of "Glittering Girl" and an inferior but interesting IBC Studios remake of Rael"(the group opted to use the original Talentmasters Studios version instead), and the original 1960's mono mix of "Jaguar" which had been a WHO bootleg vinyl staple throughout the 1970's.
The original stereo & mono mixes of Rael have a clumsy edit in the first verse to omit a lyric line(the 1995 stereo remix restores the missing line), but this 2-CD set concludes with a previously unreleased 1967 mono mix with the missing line. But wait, there's more. Two "hidden" bonus tracks. One is the backwards guitar tracks (a la carte) from "Armenia City in The Sky" followed by an example of The Who selling out for real: an advertising jingle for an American milkshake manufacturer.
This 2-CD set is being issued only in Britain & Japan, due to America's harsh per song/per disc song publishing royalties system(there would be 53 separate royalties in America). We have Britain's fixed per disc publishing royalties system to thank for music banquets such as this. In Britain, it doesn't matter if there are 10 songs or 30 songs on a CD. The pubishing royalties"pie" gets divided into smaller pieces.
Hold onto your 1995 1-disc expanded edition(for its' Hifi remix), but grab this 2-CD release too. With both releases, you've got everything(well,excepting the single mix of "I Can See For Miles". The compilers thought that 3 mixes of the song on this 2-CD set was enough).
Because the UK & Japan releases of this set must supply WHO fans worldwide, we now have a (hopefully temporary) product shortage. I'm expecting that Universal will press more, so that "The Who Sell Out" doesn't sell out......permanently.
on 23 November 2000
What can I say. If you never got to experience the sixties, like I didn't, then this amazing concept album will let you do so. It takes on the role of a pop radio station of that era and also the young brillant mind of The Who. I can see for miles is the masterpiece the rest of the album is centered around. It way surpasses A quick one and sets the path for Tommy, even more so on this re-release which includes Glow girl. A excellent album and is up there with Sgt. pepper as one of the best concept albums of all time.
on 11 June 2006
What separated the great British Bands (The Kinks, The Who, The Stones, Beatles, Small Faces) from the rest of the world was that their songs contained the essential elemements of great songwriting - harmony, melody, rhythmn, syncopation, quality musicianship, storytelling, pathos, humour and whimsy. Us Brits were particularly good at the last two and one only has to look at the Kinks complete masterpiece Autumn Almanac or the Small Faces Lazy Sunday Afternoon to see what I mean. I mean, c'mon gang, can you think of anybody else but Ray Davies who could come up with the chords to something lke Autumn Almanac? Well, yes, actually - Pete Townsend.
This fine, clever and genuinely funny album sprang out of those wierd "becoming aware" days of "A Quick One", pirate radio stations, mass marketing, selling the beautiful dream and so on. Some of the songs are very funny, some very moving, some very rocky, all interspersed with pirate radio jingles .. "Radio London Reminds you ... go to the Church of your choice".
I cannot think of anybody but the Who who would have produced this , at this precise time. The Band had already shown that they thought that the world was really a funny old place with "Pictures of Lily", "Happy Jack", "Dogs" and so on, but this work contains at least 4 genuine masterpieces - Sunrise, a most stunning love song with a difficult and affecting jazz chord sequence, Tatoo, which is just so funny (My Dad beat me 'cause mine said "mother"), I can see For Miles, the most savage and chilling revenge song of all time and The Medac Song - yes, I love this ... "Henry laughed and cried "I got 'em" ... his face is like a baby's ... bottom". Go on, stop smiling!! Pure genius. Pointless to detail all the tracks, but there is not one weak moment here.
But what is also remarkable is the playing and the singing. The vocal harmonies on Tatoo are just gorgeous, and when Townsend moved from Rickenbacker to Strat on "Miles" and pulled off those crunching chords and evil single note solo, there is so much of "less is more" about all this. Daltrey sings like an angel, as does Pete, and Mad Man Moon repeatedly kills the kit. Entwistle was always a stunning bass player, and it is no accident that the solo on My Generation was a bass solo, another first, played on a Danelectro bass.
God, these boys were good! Not long ago, my wife bumped into Roger at the fish farm beds at Fovant and he signed the vinyl album for her. "Blimey, love, I didn't know anybody actually bought this one", he joked. Yes, they did, Roger, and they still are. This is a groundbreaking, magical, funny, moving and beautifully played total masterpice. And don't we all wish that just for once, we could have a bath in baked beans?!
on 18 March 2009
I am going to review this as a reissue - that is, I will take it as read that 'The Who Sell Out' as an album is an excellent album which should be owned by all lovers of 1960s pop music and of rock music in general. I will therefore concentrate on how the album has been presented for this so-called 'deluxe edition'.
Firstly, and most importantly, this album features both original 1967 mixes of this album. Someone else states that the stereo version here is a remaster of the 2006 remix but this is wrong. It is a remaster of the original and superior 1967 stereo mix. Easiest way to tell: the original mix of 'Rael' (included here) does not feature the lines beginning 'The country of my fathers' - the remixed version does. Also, the stereo placement (and, in some places, the actual instrumental parts used) differs from the later mix.
The mono mix has never been issued on CD officially before and some of it is a real revelation - particularly 'Our Love Was', with an entirely different guitar solo. Many of the other songs also 'breathe' in a whole different way to the stereo mix.
The bonus tracks are a mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar - different mixes of songs and outtakes from the sessions which have never seen the light of day before (such as the great jam 'Sodding About' and an alternate version of 'Glittering Girl'), sit alongside b-side material such as 'Someone's Coming'.
Sonically, Jon Astley has done a great job simply remastering this - a far better job than he did at remixing The Who's back catalogue (and I think he did that pretty well). Visually it is nice, too - lots of photos and also a reproduction of the original album poster, plus two essays (one from the 1995 reissue).
The only minor grouse is the strange absence of the contemporaneous number 'Melancholia' (included on the 1995 reissue) and the long, organ-drenched version of 'I'm a Boy' originally issued on the 'Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy' compilation. Oh, and the two Stones numbers The Who issued as singles back then (although they were pretty ropey). Then again, the whole package runs for 154 minutes, so I shouldn't complain!
on 7 June 2015
THE WHO SELL OUT, The Who's third album, is one of those records which just gets better with age. Many albums from the 1960s and '70s seemed to have emerged as instant classics while others, like this one, have grown in stature with the passing years. Somewhat overlooked during the Christmas rush of 1967, today THE WHO SELL OUT stands as one of The Who's most enjoyable collections, an album which represented a tribute to the recently outlawed pirate radio ships (specifically Radio London) and the band's own last salute to the world of pop before The Who's graduation to the podium of rock royalty with TOMMY (1969). Above all, from the amusing pop art-inspired sleeve to the band's "Track Records" chant cut into the run-out groove, more than any of their other albums, THE WHO SELL OUT captures Shepherd's Bush's finest having fun.
This is a fine vinyl reissue of THE WHO SELL OUT from Universal Music - the company that was responsible for a sumptuous Deluxe Edition CD version of the album a few years back. As expected with vinyl reissues these days, the record itself is nice and weighty and comes with relatively faithful reproductions of the Track Records' labels on both sides (the major difference being a new catalogue number). Audio purists will possibly take issue with the fact that the stereo mix has been used over the mono version; however, at the time of the album's original release, stereo was beginning to overtake mono in popularity and so deciding which is the "true" version of THE WHO SELL OUT is arguably an irrelevance (whereas many believe that the mono version of The Beatles' SGT. PEPPER - released just six months earlier - is the genuine format for that LP). Sound-wise, everything is fine, with the original Radio London jingle track-links and gentler songs like 'Tattoo' and 'Sunrise' sounding particularly nice. The hit single 'I Can See For Miles' also manages to cut through with power and presence. Finally, that iconic sleeve is all present and correct as is, thankfully, the Osiris-designed psychedelic poster that came with original copies of the LP. However, the sleeve does have a matt finish rather than the glossy, laminated look that was commonplace on British album covers from the 1960s and which the recent Beatles vinyl reissues have preserved.
All in all, though, this is a great reissue of THE WHO SELL OUT and, at less than twenty-five quid (at the time of purchase), it comes considerably cheaper than trying to find a mint-condition original copy, complete with that poster!
on 27 August 2007
first off, this album is not too easy to get into. on the first few listens you might dismiss it and let it gather dust on your shelf. this happened to me until some friends endorsed it and i decided to go back to it and give it another few tries. well, i found it growing and growing on me and now i couldnt live without it. this is a celebration of the glorious pop culture of the early 60's. like that time, its full of fun and magic. the songs flow into each other beautifully with the help of some fun jingles. turn up loud and enjoy! what about the songs? - they're all great and criminally underrated. highlights are: the opening track, odorono, our love was (pure perfect pop; as good as, if not better than any early lennon/mccartney stuff) i can see for miles, etc etc...they also did a great thing on this album - inbetween the glorious pop records they stuck a hard rocking cynical track (i can see for miles)and the exquisite classical "sunrise". this is pete's "blackbird". so you have to give this album time, because it does have a different sound to most stuff, but it is definately worth it.
The Who's classic 1967 album is finally given the Deluxe treatment. The Product Description provided by Amazon gives you a pretty good idea of what extras you get with this Deluxe Edition reissue so I won't repeat all those details again. For those who are unfamiliar with the original release I'll just say that The Who Sell Out is very loosely a concept album which combines some of Pete Townshend's most catchy pop and rock songs linked together by commercials and jingles. It is both a tribute to Britain's mid sixties commercial radio stations and a superb collection of The Who's music.
Radio London was the UK's most popular and successful commercial radio station in the mid sixties and several of their original radio jingles are used here. Also featured are some fake and amusing radio style advertisements for genuine products produced by the band. Pete Townshend could probably have had a very successful alternative career as an advertising copyrighter! Radio London had sadly closed down four months before the album's release in December 1967. The jingles and commercials made it difficult for the BBC to play at the time!
This new release's stereo version is a different mastering from the mid 90s release but is not a different mix - so it doesn't sound startlingly different, perhaps just a little bit brighter - but this time it is actually taken from the original master tapes. The mono mix does sound quite different to the stereo mix and would have been regarded as the definitive version at the time of the original release in 1967. It has a lot of power and John Entwistle's bass sounds formidable! This release doesn't include all of the bonus material that was featured on the earlier mid 90s version, but is crammed to bursting with its own features - jingles, commercials and tracks - many of which are previously unreleased.
This whole package is well up to the standard of previous releases in the Deluxe Edition series and will delight fans of The Who. The sticker on Roger Daltry's section of the cover says Free Psychedelic Poster Inside and there was one included with the original vinyl release; this poster, by Osiris Visions, is reproduced in the initial run of this release so don't hang about ordering if you want one! The booklet is informative and nicely produced and the whole package has the feel of a labour of love!
Listening to the earth-moving intro to I Can See For Miles, straight after the RotoSound Strings ad, still brings me out in goose bumps today - an absolute classic! Even if you have the mid 90s release you will find enough new stuff here to make it worth seriously considering adding this one to your collection as well. An unreserved five stars for what may well be my favourite album by The Who!
on 16 February 2003
Reviews of this exquisite album usually focus on the unique "I can see for miles" with its stinging guitar and stampeding elephant-on-speed drums - a most wonderful anthem to paranoia of female treachery. But "Miles", like the opener "Armenia City in the Sky" is not really typical of the album as a whole. Forget the ad jingles too. When I had this album in the sixties I taped it without the jingles - infinitely better! The great thing about a lot of the songs is that Pete Townshend sings them in his high register and he is at his yearning best. He gives The Who a much more sensitive sound than their later heavier recordings which suited Roger Daltrey's voice. Having said that Roger does nice teenage angst vocals on Tattoo, a beautifully crafted and lyrically sophisticated song, which adds to Pete's catalogue of investigating the meaning of gender. The stand out tracks, which rarely get mentioned, are "Our love was", "Relax" and "Sunrise" - all perfect summer love songs of a wistful, blissful type for which The Who are not generally known. These songs are so good that you wonder why Pete didn't return to this style until his solo album Who Came First with songs like "Pure and Easy". Maybe it was because he had a stampeding elephant to play with! The bonus tracks are a truly great bonus with "Glittering Girl" and "Early morning cold taxi" standing out as tracks nearly good enough to go on the original. I really appreciate the way The Who give extra value on their CD re-releases but I have to say that they unbalance the perfection of the original if listened to right through. This album is so spiffing that I wish I had never heard it and bought it on the strength of this review. How wonderful it would be to hear it for the first thousand times again.
on 22 June 2014
I don't wish to sound nostalgic, although I fondly remember a time when I was, hark back to it often, even, but well do I recall my childhood visits to Discount Records in Keighley, W Yorks, where I would gaze at the cover of this album in something akin to amazement (and this, I should state, a vinyl record cover, rather than CD). That a man should choose to bathe in baked beans seemed impossible to my childish self. And where the dickens had he purchased such a large tin thereof? What must the music contained on such an album be like? What would it do to me? But I couldn't afford it in those days, when music was valued and priced accordingly, when children didn't spend (waste?) all their time on video games and YouTube. It was some years thereafter that I actually managed to scrape the requisite amount together and buy a copy (sadly on CD), in the fair city of York, actually, and I was not disappointed. God only knows what's wrong with Pete Townshend but it certainly works. The combination of Eddie Cochrane guitars and Beach Boy style harmonies is indescribably odd, but I often think to myself, I think, The Who are very possibly equal to The Beatles, in that I mean they never went all girly, sort of thing. Yes, The Beatles had very possibly broken down a few barriers, or so we're led to believe, but did they really need to go nearly so far? Needless to say I lost my original copy and was forced to purchase a replacement on Azamong, but needles to say even without all the evil stuff I used to mess my mind up with back in my barleycorn youth this is still really v. good. 'A Quick One' is slightly better, perhaps, but still, there are many moments of proper true goodness herein. If you can't actually be Mr Benn or Paddington Bear this is possibly the next best thing.