The Who albums ranked 6-1

Here are my choices for the top six Who albums. The one upshot of doing lists… is listening to all of these great albums again.

 

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6. Live at Leeds – 1970 –  There are live albums and then there is this… This album along with At Fillmore East rise above other live albums. Bands would release them when they were in between studio albums. On Live at Leeds, I have never heard a rock band so tight. This is the Who clicking on all cylinders.

Moon, Entwistle, Townshend, and Daltry are all in their prime on this.

Tracklist
Young Man Blues
Substitute
Summertime Blues
Shakin’ All Over
My Generation
Magic Bus

 

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5. My Generation – 1965 – The title song is still an anthem of the sixties generation. This may be the hardest power pop album released, The Kids Are Alright, A Legal Matter, and Out In The Street.

They experimented in the studio and found new sounds and used feedback as an instrument. You start hearing the power chords on this album and the great hooks that Pete came up with on guitar…Roger still hasn’t grown into his later voice and the band is raw but electric.

The Ox is just a musical explosion. What a great debut album this was in 1965.

Tracklist

Out In The Street
I Don’t Mind
The Good’s Gone
La-La-La-Lies
Much Too Much
My Generation
The Kids Are Alright
Please, Please, Please
It’s Not True
I’m A Man
A Legal Matter
The Ox

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4. Who Sell Out – 1967 –  The Who’s take on Pirate radio of the sixties complete with commercials. The standout hit was I Can See For Miles but this album is a collection of good songs strung together with fake commercials.

I like to listen to this album in sequence. Pete was maturing into the Pete we would know soon. The Who didn’t repeat themselves and kept reaching and experimenting.

Strong tracks are Armenia City In The Sky, Tatto, Our Love Was, Relax. and Rael and of course the masterpiece I Can See For Miles.

Tracklist

Armenia City In The Sky
Heinz Baked Beans
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands
Odorono
Tattoo
Our Love Was
I Can See For Miles
Can’t Reach You
Medac
Relax
Silas Stingy
Sunrise
Rael (1 And 2)

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3. Tommy – 1969 – This Rock Opera left a huge dent in pop culture and left its imprint on rock history. I like the album but the production leaves a lot to be desired. This album made the Who rock gods. There are some great songs on this album like Pinball Wizard, We’re Not Going To Take It, I’m Free, and The Acid Queen.

I personally like Sally Simpson and Christmas. Pete Townshend and Kit Lambert worked together on this album and Kit helped Pete shape it into a concept album. I wished Kit would have let someone else engineer and mix it. I’m mostly a studio album guy but I think this album works better live than the record. Listening to the live version of this album around that time for me beats the album.

There is no denying that it is a landmark album in Rock.

Tracklist
Overture
It’s A Boy
1921 3:14
Amazing Journey
Sparks 3:45
Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
Christmas
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Underture
Do You Think It’s Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s A Doctor
Go To The Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash The Mirror
Sensation
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
I’m Free
Welcome
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take

 

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2. Quadrophenia – 1973 –  This kick-started the Mod revival of the 70s. The concept album is about a teenager mod (Jimmy) coming of age in the 60s…It is also about the band itself and it’s four different personalities and also their fans. It is much more cohesive than Tommy and Pete’s use of synthesizers on this is incredible.

The high spot for me is hearing Entwistle and Moon play “The Real Me.”

Some of the many great songs are Love, Reign O’er Me, The Real Me, The Punk and The Godfather, Drowned, 5:15.

Tracklist
I Am The Sea
The Real Me
Quadrophenia
Cut My Hair
The Punk And The Godfather
I’m One
The Dirty Jobs
Helpless Dancer
Is It In My Head
I’ve Had Enough
5:15
Sea And Sand
Drowned
Bell Boy
Doctor Jimmy
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me

 

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1. Who’s Next -1971 – There was really no suspense to this album being number one. This arguably could be the best rock album of the 70s. Instead of Kit Lambert The Who hired Glyn Johns to help produce and it showed. The sound quality difference between this and Tommy is day and night. This album has a sonic quality like no other.

The album came out of a failed attempt at a rock concept album by Pete called Lifehouse that apparently no one but Pete understood. Classic radio stations use this album as their foundation. An incredible album with no weak songs.

These songs live work so well. Won’t Get Fooled Again maybe has the best line in Rock… “Meet the new boss, Same as the Old boss”

Tracklist
Baba O’Riley
Bargain
Love Ain’t For Keeping
My Wife
Song Is Over
Getting In Tune
Going Mobile
Behind Blue Eyes
Won’t Get Fooled Again

 

For the top five  I never shifted until the last minute and I moved Tommy from 4th to 3rd and The Who Sell Out from 3rd to 4th. The importance and culture impact of Tommy won out.

Hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Who albums ranked 13 -7

After the Beatles, The Who are my favorite band. I was lucky enough to see them twice but not lucky enough to see them as nature intended…with Keith Moon. I’m going to attempt to rank 13 of their albums. I will not go by chart success or how many sold.

I usually would not include live albums but Live At Leeds is no ordinary live album. I’m also including Odds and Sods, an album of outtakes and rarities because of so few studio albums and it was released while they were still going strong.

This is 13 through 7… next will be 6 through 1

 

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13. Endless Wire – 2006 – This album was released in 2006. Obviously, I’m not as close to this album as The Who’s other albums..but I’ve listened to it more recently than the other albums.  It’s a good album but the best way I can describe it is it’s not as defined as other albums and the mini-opera Wire and Glass can get tedious. There are some good songs such as Black Widow’s Eyes (the only song featuring Zac Starkey), A Man in a Purple Dress and the different but good  God Speaks of Marty Robbins… I will say that time has affected Rogers voice more than Petes. Petes voice sounds really good on this album. Roger does fine but age has treated Pete’s voice well.

Tracklist

1 Fragments
2 A Man In A Purple Dress
3 Mike Post Theme
4 In The Ether
5 Black Widow’s Eyes
6 Two Thousand Years
7 God Speaks Of Marty Robbins
8 It’s Not Enough
9 You Stand By Me
Wire & Glass (A Mini-Opera)
10 Sound Round
11 Pick Up The Peace
12 Unholy Trinity
13 Trilby’s Piano
14 Endless Wire
15 Fragments Of Fragments
16 We Got A Hit
17 They Made My Dream Come True
18 Mirror Door
19 Tea & Theatre
20 We Got A Hit (Extended Version)
21 Endless Wire (Extended Version)

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12. It’s Hard – 1982 – One thing I will say about this album. It has aged better than I thought it would.  I was never a big fan of this album. I liked some songs like Eminence Front, Athena and some of the tracks like Cry if you Want. This was the last studio Who album until 2006 Endless Wire. The band was not happy at this time and the end was coming…at least until they reunited at the end of the 80s for a reunion tour.

Tracklist

Athena
It’s Your Turn
Cook’s County
It’s Hard
Dangerous
Eminence Front
I’ve Known No War
One Life’s Enough
One At A Time
Why Did I Fall For That
A Man Is A Man
Cry If You Want

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11. Face Dances – 1981 – This album has been slammed by critics and fans alike. I bought the album when it was released.  Face Dances was The first album without their engine, Keith Moon. Kenney Jones was a great drummer for the Small Faces and Faces but there is only one drummer for the Who and that was Keith. There are some good songs. “You Better You Bet”  (what I call “Who Are You’s” weak sister) Don’t Let Go the Coat, Another Tricky Day, and The Quiet One.

The album is tame compared with other Who albums but the melodies are strong.

Tracklist
You Better You Bet
Don’t Let Go The Coat
Cache Cache
The Quiet One
Did You Steal My Money
How Can You Do It Alone
Daily Records
You
Another Tricky Day

 

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10. Odds and Sods – 1974 –  This album was released in 1974 of outtakes and rarities that The Who had in the Vaults. The highlights are Long Live Rock, Naked Eye, Pure and Easy, and Postcard by John Entwistle. This album full of outtakes were as good as other bands A-songs.

Tracklist

Postcard
Now I’m A Farmer
Put The Money Down
Little Billy
Too Much Of Anything
Glow Girl
Pure And Easy
Faith In Something Bigger
I’m The Face
Naked Eye
Long Live Rock

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9. Who Are You – 1978 –  Keith Moon was not well during this album. Still, I’ll take a 70 percent Keith Moon over a 100 percent anyone else for the Who. It contained the Who classic title track, Sister Disco, 905, and Music Must Change. Pete continued what he started with the Who By Numbers album by writing from the perspective of an aging rocker. This album sold faster than any other Who album. Within the month of its release, Keith Moon was gone for good.

Tracklist

New Song
Had Enough
905
Sister Disco
Music Must Change
Trick Of The Light
Guitar And Pen
Love Is Coming Down
Who Are You

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8. Who by Numbers – 1975 – Pete wrote songs so personal that Roger didn’t feel right about singing some of the songs. Pete was wondering at this point if The Who were still relevant anymore. He felt old by rock standards and wondered if the band should just pack it in.

This album had to grow on me but now I do appreciate the personal songs that Pete wrote.

The best-known song is Squeeze Box but the album is full of good songs. Slip Kid, However Much I Booze, Dreaming from the Waist and Blue Red Grey. With Punk music starting to happen Pete wrote in “They Are All In Love”

Hey, goodbye all you punks
Stay young and stay high
Hand me my checkbook
And I’ll crawl out to die

If Pete had only known the future…they were only in their twenties at that time…that is just the beginning now.

Tracklist 

Slip Kid
However Much I Booze
Squeeze Box
Dreaming From The Waist
Imagine A Man
Success Story
They Are All In Love
Blue Red And Grey
How Many Friends
In A Hand Or A Face

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7. A Quick One – 1966 – The mini-opera starts here. A Quick One, While He’s Away is a classic song made of fragments weaved with each other to make a whole. Everyone writes at least one song for this album. John Entwistle with his signature tune Boris the Spider, Keith Moon turns out the crazy and strange “Cobwebs and Strange,” and a bit of power pop with I Need You. They also covered Heatwave with the familiar Who flair.

A forgotten great power pop song on this album is So Sad About Us. The overall sound of this album is incredible.

Tracklist

Run Run Run
Boris The Spider
I Need You
Whiskey Man
Heatwave
Cobwebs And Strange
Don’t Look Away
See My Way
So Sad About Us
A Quick One, While He’s Away

 

Maybe it’s no coincidence that the last three albums in the ranking are in order of release. Face Dances and It’s Hard both have a classic Who song in You Better You Bet and Eminence Front respectively. They both have some strong songs surrounding them…I just thought that Face Dances had more than It’s Hard.

Endless Wire is missing not only Keith but by 2006 also John. It’s hard to compete against your past when you are missing your entire rhythm section. It’s a different Who album and not as exciting…but anything written by Pete is worth listening to.

Next Up will be 6 Through Number 1

 

 

 

That Elusive 70’s House

As anyone who has read this blog knows, I like the 60s and 70s. I collect things from that era and even looked for a house in that era…I just didn’t know how many houses we would visit.

In 2004 my wife and I thought it was time to move from our starter home. We were learning to jump from the hall to living room to kitchen because we were getting crowded with our small home with a 4-year-old son, a mutt and a Saint Bernard running about.

We didn’t know what we wanted and were totally naive about house hunting. We only had so much money when we bought our starter home so it was easy…the second house we saw we bought. This time we had options and wanted to find our final house…THAT house…  We found an agent and she said: “I’ll show you 6 houses but you need to pick one of them and that will be it.” We didn’t like any of the houses she showed us that weekend.

We told the agent to forget it and started to freelance and ended up looking at 11 more by just going around and making appointments to visit houses. Ok, we are up to 17 now. But by this time we knew what we wanted. We wanted a 1970s style house…split level if possible.  An open floor plan with some land…and some room. My wife would not go for shag carpet (dang it) or an avocado refrigerator but she did like the older designs.

At the 18th house we looked at, we found an agent as crazy as we were named Naomi. She was new at being a real estate agent and said she would stick with us through the complete process. We kept going when we could and the number kept rising. I then got laid off my job in May of 2006…and it slowed us down but in July I was working again and the adventure continued.

Naomi could not understand why we would want an older house. She would try to dissuade us. She would try to slip in a new townhouse…we would arrive and say no…but she said she had to try. We looked in multiple counties to see if we could find what we wanted. We found nothing that was remotely close to my work.

We found many houses that we wanted. But it never failed that something would happen. The house would fail inspection, someone would beat us and sign first, at one house someone paid cash and got the house, or they would not take a contingent contract on our house selling…one time the owners changed their minds.

The total kept climbing but Naomi stayed with us…and we reached the 50s…We became really good friends with her and still are to this day. She still invites us over every year to her July 4th party. Namoi was learning with us and enjoyed looking at houses and actually started to appreciate the older houses.

Then it happened in 2007…We found a house (insert angels singing here)…the 55th house we looked at! We got there and drove down the driveway… I knew this was the one… the driveway was shadowed by the top of the trees hanging over it. It was an A-frame (with a 60s  vibe) with five bedrooms and surrounded by green everywhere…trees and woods…For some odd reason “Uncle John’s Band” kept playing in my mind. We got there and found out it was built in 1992. We were shocked… We thought it was older.

We talked to the man and wife who owned it. They were two public attorneys (Jim and Diane) and both were so nice. They talked with us a little and said the house was not on the market yet but Diane said we had good “Karma” …and if we wanted it…it was ours.

She bought the house when it was a 900 square foot A-frame on three acres. She then met her husband Jim and had a child…they built a wing and garage on one side…had more kids and built another wing on the other side. It is one of a kind with an open floor plan…and we bought it for under market value because they wanted to live near their work in Nashville and had already bought another house. They were offered more money by someone else but stuck with us…I was surprised but our “karma” must have won out. The inspection passed with flying colors…and nothing went wrong.

So we moved in…The Wife, the son, the Mutt and our Saint…and me of course…The irony of it all? We had searched all over for 3 years and even 60-100 miles away…and this house was 2 miles from where we were living. It’s hidden from the road and we had never laid our eyes on it.

After we bought the house Jim and Diane invited us to dinner at their new home. Turns out Jim knew Bob Jackson…if you don’t know Bob Jackson, he was in Badfinger right before Pete Ham passed away (see I tied pop culture into this). He had some interesting stories and they are great people.

The house has been a great investment…it’s climbed in value but we want to stay here till the end. I don’t have another search left in me…

By the way…We made it up to Naomi…we referred her to two of our friends who bought and sold their houses through her as the agent. She still calls us asking us if we want to go with her at times and visit houses. She said she misses going to see houses with us.

Since it wasn’t a seventies house I thought I would bring the seventies to it… the corner of my music room where I read.

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I still hear Uncle Johns Band when I come down my drive…it doesn’t get better than that

 

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

This is a 2010 comedy/horror movie. I just watched it 2 years ago on a recommendation from a co-worker. It is more comedy than horror. If you like dark humor combined with stupid humor you might like this movie.

It’s a parody on horror movies and the film goes over the normal cliches. Tucker and Dale are West Virginia mountain men that bought a cabin in the woods and are excited for their “vacation cottage.” It is an old beat up cabin but they plan to fix it up.

They meet some college kids that are staying near them and the kids think Tucker and Dale are killers. You have sympathy for Tucker and Dale right away. They are nice guys just happy to have their cabin. Tucker is trying to teach Dale with his limited knowledge on women and how to be social.

The movie surprised me and I really liked it. The director is Eli Craig, Sally Field’s second son.

If you are looking for another Gone With The Wind…this is not it but if you are in a mood for a stupid comedy/horror that is funny…give it a try.

This review is from Screen Rant.

https://screenrant.com/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-reviews/

 

 

 

 

Cheap Trick

I’ve always admired Cheap Trick. First of all, they didn’t look like any other band. They had two bonafide looking rock stars in lead singer Robin Zander and bassist Tom Peterson. Their great guitar player Rick Nielsen looked like Huntz Hall from the old Bowery Boys films and the drummer Bun E Carlos looked like an old uncle you would have somewhere.

They were a hard-working band from Rockford Illinois in the mid-70s. None of their first three albums made it in the top 40 but they did have a single to chart…a single off their third album “Heaven Tonight” was the first to chart in America…”Surrender” (Studio Version) peaked at #61 on the Billboard 100 in 1978. They were not getting any traction in America but in Japan, they were getting huge.

They toured Japan in 1978 with a Beatlemania atmosphere and played at Budakon and recorded a live album there. “Cheap Trick at Budakon” is what finally broke them in America in 1979.

I got to see Cheap Trick in 1984 in Opryland and I  became a fan. They had some great rockers but also some power-pop gems like “Voices.” The albums I like are Heaven Tonight, Dream Police, In Color and of course Live at Budakon.

They never had that milestone studio album that really marked their career like some bands but they made enough good music to be remembered. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Voices

You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear

Hey, it’s me again
Plain to see again
Please, can I see you every day?
I’m a fool again
I fell in love with you again
Please, can I see you every day?

You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear

Words don’t come out right
I try to say it oh, so right
I hope you understand my meaning
Hey, it’s me again
I’m so in love with you again
Please, can I see you every day?

You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear

I remember every word you said (word you said)
I remember voices in my head (in my head)
I remember every word you said (word you said)

(I) Your voices 
(Heard your voice) Cool voices 
Warm voices
It was just what I needed to

(Words) Cool voices 
(Don’t seem right) Warm voices
Your voices
It’s just what I needed for

(Love) Warm voices
(Is the word) Your voices
Cool voices
It was just what I needed to

(I) Your voices 
(Heard your voice) Cool voices 
Warm voices
It was just what I needed to
Just what I needed to
Just what I needed

You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were looking for
Till you heard the voices in your ear

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers

This song caught my attention in 2012 when it was released. It has an older feel to it. It did not chart in America but it did peak at #28 in the UK charts.

In December my son and I saw him at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville with Kelsey Waters opening up. There was an even mixture of young and old to see the 23-year-old play. He has listed influences as diverse as  Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, to Nick Drake.

He is an artist I think should have a good career. His music is refreshing compared to most of the mainstream music of today.

 

Two Fingers

I drink to remember, I smoke to forget
Some things to be proud of
Some stuff to regret
Run down some dark alleys in my own head
Something is changing, changing, changing

I go back to Clifton to see my old friends
The best people I could ever have met
Skin up a fat one, hide from the Feds
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
He’s down in the kitchen drinking White Lightning
He’s with my momma, they’re yelling and fighting
It’s not the first time praying for silence
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay

There’s a story for every corner of this place
Running so hard you got out but your knees got grazed
I’m an old dog but I learned some new tricks yeah

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay

Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
I left it behind

George Harrison – Any Road

This song was on George’s last album “Brainwashed” in 2003. George wrote the song in 1988 while working on a video for “Cloud Nine.” The song peaked at #37 in the UK chart in 2003.

George played this song on a VH1 show that ended up being his last performance before he died in 2001. George did not completely finish the album before he died so his son Dhani and Jeff Lynn helped finish it.

I thought this song was a good song for George to leave us with…It has his trademark slide and some ukelele in it.

This is from songfacts about the song.

George’s son Dhani said that while he and his father were in Hawaii, they walked by a beach and saw a sign that read, “If the wind blows, you can always adjust your sails, but, if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.” The sign was the inspiration for the song.

“Any Road”

(Give me that plenty of that guitar.)

But I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling there, traveling here
Everywhere in every gear

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime
From the past to the future through the space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves
In watery grottoes and mountainous caves

But oh Lord we’ve got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light
No use to stop and stare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
May not have even wondered
How you got this far

I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth, by the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow

But oooeeee it’s a game
Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame
Ah yeah it’s somewhere
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn’t born and never dies
There are no edges, there is no sides

Oh yeah you just don’t win
It’s so far out, the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir
But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
If you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

(Yeah hey! Ah ee ah! Ah he ah!)