TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 December 2012
Some music from the seemingly long ago sixties & seventies hasn`t dated at all, for example Cream, Free, Led Zep, Creedence, Kinks...and if you wanted to play to an alien, or someone who`s spent the last fifty years in a cave, a record to show them what rock music at its best and most immediate sounds like, you could do a lot worse than put on this album, sit back and watch their reaction.
What The Who achieved with only four people - a muscular rock singer, versatile guitarist-singer-songwriter-pianist-catalyst, a wild, explosive yet amazingly precise drummer, a quietly inventive bassist - is visceral, confrontational, and strangely moving after all these years. There`s so much willingness to use the limitations of basic rock to create something meaningful and timeless. With Who`s Next, surely their finest hour (I`m not a great fan of rock operas) they came as close to a rock masterpiece as almost anyone of that era.
Not every song on Who`s Next is rock gold, but taken as a whole it`s a marvellous set of songs, with Baba O`Reilly, Bargain, My Wife, Behind Blue Eyes, and the shattering Won`t Get Fooled Again arguably the most obvious obvious highlights.
But what this remastered reissue also gives us is seven extra tracks of varying inspiration, but all of them fascinating in the light of the album we`ve just heard. There`s a stark version of an early Marvin Gaye song, Baby Don`t You Do It, which was also covered (very differently) by The Band, the live track Naked Eye, and a stunningly good number called Water, which is six minutes of The Who at their loosest - and naughtiest!
I recently bought Pete Townsend`s superb album All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, and was reminded what a tremendous talent the man has, as well as being, in his own way, as effective a singer as Daltrey. Their two voices overlap at times on these songs, or we hear Pete`s rather mournful tones on their own, which is a balm after Daltrey`s sturdy yet unsubtle belting. (I`m praising Pete rather than putting down Roger.)
With an impressive booklet, good pics, and its generous, well-chosen extras (with thankfully only one `alternate take`) this is maybe not "the best I ever had", but it`s an essential bargain all the same.
For me it`s Free, Cream, Led Zep, The Who...usually in that order - but you must have Who`s Next.