Monday, October 13, 2014

40 Year Itch : Miles of Frankfurters

   In response to rampant bootlegging such as the 1973 live album below, John Entwistle, the only member of the band not ensnared the in the Tommy film project,  was given the mission of rummaging through The Who's back catalog for a collection of lost recordings. The result is one of the most entertaining albums of the band's career, Odds and Sods, released on October 12, 1974.

   "I tried to arrange it like a parallel sort of Who career - what singles we might have released and what album tracks we might have released," Entwistle said. Among the tracks are the band's first single,"I'm the Face", recorded as The High Numbers in 1964. And the anthemic "Long Live Rock", a 1979 single originally recorded by Billy Fury in the movie That'll Be the Day.

     One of the highlights of the collection is the liner notes written by an all too honest Pete Townshend.

    Of "Faith in Something Bigger", Pete writes "God, this is embarrassing. I don't know where to hide. Well I mean, the whole thing about HIM is that HE is everywhere isn't HE? A modest beginning to the musico-spiritual work of the irreligious Who. The guitar solo is the worst I've ever heard."

   Of the anti-smoking tune "Little Billy", recorded in 1968,  Pete writes "Now if I might take a little liberty here, this is a masterpiece. Written and recorded for the American Cancer Society in exchange for world wide success and fame it ended up not saving lives, but moldering unheard in some executive's office for six years."

   I've always liked album opener, "Postcard", written by John Entwistle for an EP that was never released. Said Pete: "'Postcard is a John Entwistle song about touring on the road. He describes in luscious detail the joys and delights of such romantic venues as Australia (pause to fight off temporary attack of nausea), America (pause to count the money) and, of course, that country of the mysterious and doubting customs official, Germany (pause, whether they like it or not, for 'God Save The Queen'). Listen out for the field sound effects ACTUALLY RECORDED IN THE COUNTRIES WE TOURED. 'Postcard' was originally recorded in my house for a maxi single. They were EP's that only cost as much as a single. Ours unfortunately never got released. I engineered this one with one hand on the controls and the other on the guitar. That's why I only play one chord throughout the whole song." 

   That would have been the "Water" EP, also featuring "Don't Know Myself" and  "Naked Eye", the latter also appears here.

   The extended Odds and Sods CD has 23 cuts including an alternative take of "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hands" and that awesome cover of the Rolling Stones's "Under My Thumb".

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