Tuesday, October 16, 2012

40 Year Itch: Who Came First

Like Odds And Sods, that 1974 multi-dimensional Who compilation that would also contain "Pure And Easy", Pete Townshend's Who Came First, released in October of 1972,  shows many sides of the guitar smasher. While it may sound preachy at times, it's never a dull album.

  There are two massive Who-style rockers: "Pure And Easy"  and "Let's See Action" ( which had both been recorded for the Lifehouse project that became 1971's Who's Next). There are philosophical tunes reflecting the teachings of  his avatar , Meher Baba ( who died in 1969) , including the Baba prayer "Parvadigar", "Content" and "Time Is Passing" .

     There's a nice little acoustic number called "Sheraton Gibson" and Baba's favorite song, "There's a Heartache Following Me", a country cover made famous by Jim Reeves ( foreshadowing the Don Gibson cover "Til The Rivers All Run Dry" on 1977's Rough Mix).

   Like Rough Mix, there's a Ronnie Lane tune. This one's called "Evolution". Townshend also brings in Billy Nicholls who sings his own "Forever's No Time At All" sounding very much like Thunderclap Newman's Speedy Keen.

The album, featuring a cover photo of Pete Townshend literally standing on eggshells,  peaked at #30 in the UK and #69 in the UK and originally came with the poster seen below. Subsequent reissues have featured extra cuts.

What were other members of The Who doing in 1972? Well, first of all,  The Who spent most August and September on a massive European tour. Keith Moon spent a few days acting in That'll Be The Day and probably exploded a few toilets. Roger Daltry was hopefully resting his voice and John Entwhistle released his second and most successful album Whistle Rhymes with Peter Frampton and Jimmy McCullough.

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