Then & Now 1964-04 Original recording remastered
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When Then and Now: Maximum Who was released in March 2004, there were no less than four Who hits compilations on the market (including the classic singles collection Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, which was available as an import), which raises the question: why another hits compilation, especially one that shares its title with Sanctuary's midline series of re-recorded live hits and new songs from B-level artists? The answer is, it's the first step in reintroducing the Who as an active recording unit -- the "now" part of the Then and Now equation. At the end of this disc, after 18 familiar hits have been trotted out, two new songs are unveiled: "Real Good Looking Boy" and "Old Red Wine." This is a rather low-key way of releasing new material from a classic act, but it's a smart move since it doesn't call attention to itself yet gives listeners an idea of what the forthcoming album, expected in either late 2004 or early 2005, might be like. While neither of the songs can compare with the previous 18 songs, that's an unfair comparison since these are low-key, mature works that would have worked well on a Pete Townshend solo album from the '80s. And that's a compliment -- the final two Who albums, Face Dances and It's Hard, had material that would have sounded better on a Townshend solo album, but he wasn't ready to break free, and the band wasn't ready to change its approach to suit his new material. Here, the reconstituted band -- featuring longtime keyboardist Rabbit Bundrick and drummer Zak Starkey -- fits the material, and more importantly, Roger Daltrey has grown considerably as a vocalist, delivering the nuance within Townshend's lyrics (compare his delivery on "Real Good Looking Boy" to "You Better You Bet," where he just blows through the words). While this is not classic Who, it is the most interesting music either Townshend or Daltrey has made in nearly 20 years, and it bodes well for the forthcoming full-length. Whether that justifies yet another Who compilation is another matter, particularly since the audience that most wants to hear this new material will already have each song on this disc several times over in its collection, which will no doubt frustrate collectors. On the other hand, this is one of the better hits-oriented compilations, containing nothing but the biggest FM hits, and if a casual listener doesn't already have My Generation: The Very Best of the Who or any other single-disc sampler, they'll be satisfied with this since, apart from these two very good new tracks, it's virtually interchangeable with any other career-spanning single-disc sampler.
Top Customer Reviews
Now, my point. The Ultimate Collection (also available from amazon) has loads more tracks (double CD)and costs about the same. So, if your going to buy a who compilation, buy that nit this. Simple.
These new songs seem to have been included in order to milk the die hard, completist fans, who need another greatest hits CD as much as Townshend needs tinnitus. These two rather lame tracks sound more like outtakes from the tail end of the band's productive career in the early 80s. Weak musical vehicles that have been revamped and given new lyrics, rather than classic tracks in waiting. There's a raucous enough delivery, but what used to be direct and visceral now just meanders. Both songs are instantly forgettable save for Daltrey's vocals and his range is dropping ever more noticeably. In truth, it no longer sounds like The Who and anybody could have been playing Townshend's workmanlike guitar parts. It sounds more like a Daltrey solo record (and not as good as many of his actual solo albums.) I hope that the other songs being recorded for the new album to follow are stronger and that the band hits its stride and sounds more interesting. If the name 'The Who' is going to be anything more than a cynical marketing brand then they need to do better. As his solo records document, Townshend's songwriting has been on a downward trajectory for many years. He still seems to have something to say, but unless the songs are better why should anybody stop to listen?
In a recently published Q magazine special edition, Daltrey gives some background to the two new songs. Apparently Townshend was reluctant to record them and the duo succumbed to record company pressure to get two new tracks completed to include on this compilation.Read more ›
We are taken through The Who's Mod beginnings, via 'I Can't Explain' and 'My Generation (though that could be said to be a punk record ten years before its time)', and the sweet pop sound of 'The Kids Are Alright'. Then it's psychedelia with 'I Can See For Miles', followed by the eccentric 'Magic Bus', then a dip into the concept album 'Tommy', with 'Pinball Wizard' and the emotional, uplifting, but very simple 'See Me, Feel Me' - a contender for their best creation. A raw version of Eddie Cochran's 'Summertime Blues' captures the energy and power of their vaunted live sound, and, from the acclaimed 'Who's Next' album, 'Behind Blue Eyes' sees Daltrey stretch his vocal range, as he shows his prowess for switching from balladeer to rocker, and back again, effortlessly. 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is a song for our times. Beginning in a prog rock style it then really rocks, and is arguably the defining song for The Who, and the musical talents of Daltrey, Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Townshend's guitar work coruscates, perfectly complemented by Entwistle's looping, pleasant, melodic bass, and it's a song made for Keith Moon to go on the rampage, attacking the drums as if they're his worst enemy. Daltrey delivers one of the great vocal performances in rock history, and, as a teenage brat, I remember scaring my Grandmother by playing her Roger's horror film scream...several times.Read more ›
Of the two new tracks, Real Good Looking Boy, seems to be the 'A' side, with Old Red Wine as the 'B' side. Real Good Looking Boy has some very catchy lyrics, especially 'Don't you know you're an ugly boy'. Old Red Wine, on the other hand, seems like one of those early 80's tracks you wouldn't listen too very often. Written, apparently, because John Entwistle liked drinking old red wine (did he drink anything else?), the song has a slow opening and wouldn't be amiss on Face Dances, or even The Who By Numbers.
In all, it's nice to see two new songs from the band (well, Roger and Pete), and I hope I enjoy their forthcoming album as much as I enjoyed these two new songs.
Anyhow, top quality as always, keep up the good work...
These new songs seem to have been included in order to milk the die hard,completist fans, who need another greatest hits CD as much as Townshendneeds tinnitus. These two rather lame tracks sound more like outtakes fromthe tail end of the band's productive career in the early 80s. Weakmusical vehicles that have been revamped and given new lyrics, rather thanclassic tracks in waiting. There's a raucous enough delivery, but whatused to be direct and visceral now just meanders. Both songs are instantlyforgettable save for Daltrey's vocals and his range is dropping ever morenoticeably. In truth, it no longer sounds like The Who and anybody couldhave been playing Townshend's workmanlike guitar parts. It sounds morelike a Daltrey solo record (and not as good as many of his actual soloalbums.) I hope that the other songs being recorded for the new album tofollow are stronger and that the band hits its stride and sounds moreinteresting. If the name 'The Who' is going to be anything more than acynical marketing brand then they need to do better. As his solo recordsdocument, Townshend's songwriting has been on a downward trajectory formany years. He still seems to have something to say, but unless the songsare better why should anybody stop to listen?
It says something thatThe Who still manages to impress audiences with just two surviving membersand very competent, but uneventful sidemen. Undeniably a very goodnostalgia band, but long past being the great band that they once were.Remarkable for their age, but no longer simply remarkable. They hit rockbottom with the Face Dancs and It's Hard albums and, on the strength ofthe 2 new tracks on this compilation, they may simply not be capable ofanything better. However, I would love to be proved wrong!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This collection is excellent. If you like The Who, then this is a great CD to add.Published 9 months ago by Ms S. A. Carter
It hardly seems 50 years ago I was beating up rockers to these tunes very enjoyable then and now also it arrived well within the time allotedPublished 15 months ago by Dennis Grumpy Peters
Not a true greatest hits by one of the best 60's / 70's bands, the 1970 top 20 hit " The Seeker " is missing so they are not performing all their hits.Published 17 months ago by Mr. J. Cross