Posts Tagged ‘Pete Townshend’

On The Fence: Live At Leeds

30 June 2010

The Who’s 1970 concert album Live At Leeds has a lot of admirers and generally ranks pretty high on any best-of lists relating to live albums – a plaque outside the University Refectory at Leeds where the group played this show refers to it as “the most celebrated live album of its generation.” That may well be, but to my ears, this is a good-not-great record that has moments both sublime and snoozy. Which makes it a perfect candidate for a spot on the fence…

THUMBS UP: I’ve never been a huge Who fan, but even I recognize that Pete Townshend is a wicked guitarist and Keith Moon was one of the best drummers to beat the sticks. While neither are in top form throughout this set, ‘My Generation’ in particular benefits from the 14-minute live treatment presented here, and I applaud the overhaul they give the ‘Magic Bus’. The Who justified their reputation as one of the most exciting live acts of their day, and this album offers a few jolts of the energy they brought in concert. Several factors (noted below) make it something less than the greatest live album of all-time, but given the right set of expectations, this is an enjoyable document of a top-notch rock group very near their peak…

THUMBS DOWN: The LP release of Live At Leeds is such a vastly edited version of the true show it came from (represented on the two-disc Deluxe Edition of the album) that it really only hints at the ebb and flow of a real Who show. Their take of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Summertime Blues’ is wildly beloved, but it falters in places and feels sludgy in the extreme, while Johnny Kidd and The Pirates’ ‘Shake It All Over’ just gets mauled. And while Townshend and Moon generally deserve their props, lead singer Roger Daltry has only two gears and neither are exceptional. This is by no means a bad album, but for the quote-unquote greatest concert album of all-time, I expect more than a mixed bag of six songs. Call me crazy…

Album info:

Release date
16 May 1970

Jon Astley, Kit Lambert and The Who

Decca Records

Side One
Young Man Blues
Summertime Blues
Shakin’ All Over

Side Two
My Generation
Magic Bus

[Ear plugs or standing O – what’s your take??]

Weekend Playlist

14 June 2010

“I went to school, but they didn’t give you too much schooling because just as soon as you was big enough, you get to working in the fields. I guess I was a big boy for my age.” ~ Muddy Waters

Stooges | Fun House

Question Mark & The Mysterians | 96 Tears

The Elvin Bishop Band | Rock My Soul

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Pall Mall – Boston, MA 1979
[album cover not pictured]

The Black Keys | Brothers

Muddy Waters | Electric Mud

The Allman Brothers Band | The Allman Brothers Band

Derek & The Dominos | Layla

Pacific Gas & Electric | Pacific Gas & Electric

The Rolling Stones | Let It Bleed

Radio Birdman | The Essential (1974-1978)

Pete Townshend | All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble | Soul To Soul

Canned Heat | Canned Heat Cookbook: Best Of

Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force | Planet Rock

Brian Eno | Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy

Ethel Merman | The Ethel Merman Disco Album

Peace Orchestra | Peace Orchestra Reset

Freestylers | Pressure Point

Wynton Marsalis | Baroque Music For Trumpets

Masterpiece: Who’s Next

30 May 2009

[Today: The Who ditch the opera and rock out…]

The Who | Who's Next

The songs that eventually became Who’s Next were actually pieces of a conceptual album/theatrical production/motion picture that Pete Townshend was calling Lifehouse. Ultimately the narrative strings holding Lifehouse together proved to be too frail for Townshend’s multi-media ambitions, and he and the group handed the songs over to producer Glyn Johns to see if he could turn them into an album.

Johns did, and how – Who’s Next would go on to sell 3,000,000 copies in the 70’s alone. Album opener ‘Baba O’Reilly’ – with its flighty synthesizers and “Teenage Wasteland” refrain – is one of the most recognizable tunes of the rock era, even if it didn’t chart in the States. Album closer ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ is a perennial protest song that will ring true as long as governments stand. In between those highlights sit no minor songs, no filler, nothing less than arena-sized rock & roll. ‘Bargain’ and ‘Love Ain’t For Keeping’ are two of the group’s very best tunes, and ‘The Song Is Over’ is a surprisingly tender turn from a band who fancied themselves a bunch of hooligans.

During a February 1971 interview with Keith Altham, Townshend admitted to the crisis of confidence he was having with the Lifehouse material. “I’ve thought of having it released under a pseudonym but that’s no answer – not because I couldn’t bear it if it was a flop because I’m sure it would be, but because it is very personal material.” What he didn’t realize was that the conceptual baggage of the rock opera model had only served as a barrier to The Who’s music, and free from the puppet strings of Lifehouse, the intensely personal nature of Who’s Next made it their baddest and best album.

Listen: Love Ain’t for Keeping

Listen: Won’t Get Fooled Again

Listen: Bargain

Weekend Playlist

4 May 2009

Like sands through the hourglass, these were the records of our weekend…

Moby Grape | The Place And The Time
Moby Grape | The Place And The Time

Radiohead | In Rainbows
Radiohead | In Rainbows

Paul McCartney | McCartney
Paul McCartney | McCartney

J.J. Cale | Rewind: Unreleased Recordings
J.J. Cale | Rewind: Unreleased Recordings

Traffic | Dear Mr. Fantasy
Traffic | Dear Mr. Fantasy

David Grisman Quartet | Dawgwood
David Grisman Quartet | Dawgwood

Beck | Modern Guilt
Beck | Modern Guilt

Lee Morgan | Tom Cat
Lee Morgan | Tom Cat

Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes

Sly & The Family Stone | Small Talk
Sly & The Family Stone | Small Talk

The Beatles | Rarities
The Beatles | Rarities

Van Morrison | Veedon Fleece
Van Morrison | Veedon Fleece

War | The World Is A Ghetto
War | The World Is A Ghetto

Mac Wiseman | 'Tis Sweet To Be Remembered
Mac Wiseman | ‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered

Bob Dylan | Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan | Highway 61 Revisited

Kinks | Face To Face
Kinks | Face To Face

Pete Townshend | White City
Pete Townshend | White City

Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken
The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken

Dr. John | In The Right Place
Dr. John | In The Right Place

Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger | The World Of Pete Seeger
[Album cover not pictured]

Freddie King | The Best Of Freddie King
Freddie King | The Best Of Freddie King

Neil Young | Massey Hall 1971
Neil Young | Massey Hall 1971

Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once
Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once

Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club Hamburg
Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club Hamburg

The Stooges
The Stooges | Declaration Of War: The Best Of The Funhouse Sessions [Album cover not pictured]

Radio Birdman | Radios Appear
Radio Birdman | Radios Appear

Ween | Chocolate And Cheese
Ween | Chocolate And Cheese

Whiskeytown | Strangers Almanac
Whiskeytown | Strangers Almanac

Stevie Wonder | Innervisions
Stevie Wonder | Innervisions

Guitar Gods – The Cover Art

19 November 2008

Here’s the cover art for one of my latest mixes – a four disc box-set called Guitar Gods. A compilation like this invites furrowed brows, lists of corrections, and plenty of harrumphing from all corners. Strike up the chorus: “But what about ____________?” There were dozens more guitarists that ideally would have been included, but four discs seemed like enough, and the line had to be drawn somewhere.

World B. Furr (sometime commenter on this blog) was kind enough to collaborate on this mix with me, and help me figure out where to draw that line, and it was a clear case of two brains being better than one. We had a lot of back and forth about who to include and who to leave out, and inevitably there were compromises to be made.

From the liner notes to this mix, here’s a six-pack of guitarists who just missed the cut:

Ace Frehley – When I was a kid I thought every guitarist should sound like The Spaceman. But then somewhere along the way I grew up. Still, I have a strange desire to shout “ACE FREHLEY! SHOCK ME!!!” and put him in the mix. Didn’t happen… [dk]

Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman – Scott Ian of Anthrax once said that if he goes to Hell, there’s no doubt Slayer will playing on the loudspeaker. These two guys have spent the better part of the last 25 years kicking out some of the heaviest and most sinister riffs of all-time — never once losing the fire that first got things started. [Furr]

George Brigman – Brigman is a Guitar God for me because he represents the dreams of the everyman player. As a 17 year-old kid, Brigman self-released his debut album Jungle Rot in 1975 and then watched it disappear. Time has proven it a fuzzed out, lo-fi classic. [dk]

Mick Taylor – Although we ultimately chose ‘Satisfaction’ and the Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, I feel it’s imperative to point out the genius of Mick Taylor. Few could argue that the Taylor years were the Stones finest, and that’s largely due to the “other” Mick. [Furr]

Peter Green – The driving force of the original, bluesy Fleetwood Mac, Green was one of the best guitarists of his generation. Unfortunately, he lost his sanity in a worm hole of drugs, and disappeared from the music scene for decades. But his is a brilliant, if truncated, body of work. [dk]

Alex Lifeson – There are a lot of excuses people will give for hating Rush. Alex Lifeson’s guitar work is never one of them. This guy is one of the greatest players ever and he’s one-third of the reason why I absolutely LOVE Rush. [Furr]

Without further ado…

[Here’s the front cover…]
Guitar Gods | Front

[Here’s the inside front cover…]
Guitar Gods | Front Inside

[Here’s the inside booklet cover…]
Guitar Gods | Booklet Cover
[Guitar pick photos courtesy of Umlaut!]

[Here’s the guts of the inside booklet…]
Guitar Gods | Inside Booklet

[Here’s the back inside…]
Guitar Gods | Back Inside

[Here’s the back…]
Guitar Gods | Back

[Here’s the track listing…]

Disc 1ne
Chuck Berry * Johnny B. Goode
The Rolling Stones * Satisfaction [Keith Richards]
The White Stripes * Seven Nation Army [Jack White]
Link Wray * Rumble
Dick Dale & The Del-Tones * Let’s Go Trippin’
Cream * Sunshine Of Your Love [Eric Clapton]
Quicksilver Messenger Service * Mona [John Cipollina and Gary Duncan]
Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia etc * Keepers (Live)
The Allman Brothers Band * In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Live) [Duane Allman]
The Faces * Around The Plynth [Ron Wood]
Santana * Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen [Carlos Santana]
The Who * Won’t Get Fooled Again [Pete Townshend]
ZZ Top * La Grange [Billy Gibbons]
U2 * Bullet The Blue Sky [The Edge]

Disc 2wo
John Fahey * St. Louis Blues
Robert Johnson * Sweet Home Chicago
Mississippi John Hurt * Frankie
Muddy Waters * Baby Please Don’t Go
Bo Diddley * Who Do You Love?
Howlin’ Wolf * Smokestack Lightnin’
Albert King * Born Under A Bad Sign
Otis Rush * I Can’t Quit You Baby
Freddie King * Key To The Highway
Buddy Guy * A Man and The Blues
Johnny Winter * Dallas
B.B. King * Everyday I Have The Blues
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble * The Sky Is Crying
Albert Collins * Frosty
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band * East-West [Mike Bloomfield]
Roy Buchanan * Sweet Dreams

Disc 3hree
Nirvana * Come As You Are [Kurt Cobain]
Deep Purple * Smoke On The Water [Ritchie Blackmore]
Aerosmith * Sweet Emotion [Joe Perry]
Black Sabbath * Fairies Wear Boots [Tony Iommi]
Ted Nugent * Stranglehold
Spinal Tap * Sex Farm [Nigel Tufnel]
Sex Pistols * God Save The Queen [Steve Jones]
The Ramones * Judy Is A Punk [Johnny Ramone]
The Clash * Clampdown [Joe Strummer and Mick Jones]
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers * One Track Mind
AC/DC * Highway To Hell [Angus Young]
Van Halen * Eruption [Eddie Van Halen]
Ozzy Osbourne * Flying High Again [Randy Rhoads]
Guns N’ Roses * Mr. Brownstone [Slash]
Judas Priest * You’ve Got Another Thing Coming [Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing]
Iron Maiden * The Trooper [Dave Murray and Adrian Smith]
Metallica * The Four Horsemen [Kirk Hammett]
Rage Against The Machine * Bombtrack [Tom Morello]

Disc 4our
Andrés Segovia * Suite Compostelana: I. Preludio
Buena Vista Social Club * Chan Chan [Ry Cooder]
Jeff Beck * Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers
Led Zeppelin * White Summer/Black Mountain Side [Jimmy Page]
The Jimi Hendrix Experience * Little Wing
John McLaughlin * Peace Piece
Funkadelic * Maggot Brain [Eddie Hazel]
Neil Young * Cortez The Killer
Pink Floyd * Comfortably Numb [David Gilmore]
Buckethead * Lone Sal Bug
Dire Straits * Ride Across The River [Mark Knopfler]
The Beatles * While My Guitar Gently Weeps [George Harrison]
Les Paul * Lover


[I’ll be extremely disappointed if there are less than two dozen fired up comments about how we screwed this up. This mix couldn’t possibly cover off on everyone’s personal list of Guitar Gods, so I look forward to hearing who you think we missed, and what we got wrong. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slip into my flame retardant Kevlar suit…]