Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Who - My Generation (1965)

\The Who - 1965 - My Generation (2 CD Deluxe Edition)
Recording Date Nov 1964 - Jan 13, 1966

As many Who fans know, disputes between the Who and producer Shel Talmy held back the release of a CD version of My Generation taken from the best available original sources for quite some time. Eventually the dispute was resolved, and 2002 saw the release of the deluxe edition of this classic album, expanded into a two-CD work with the addition of no less than 17 extra tracks. So is it time to celebrate and finally throw away that scratchy old My Generation LP, whichever version of that you have? Unfortunately, not quite. Pluses first: the sound, remixed in stereo by Talmy, is very good indeed, very clear and punchy without sacrificing the enormous power the band brought to the sessions, sometimes revealing parts with a clarity never before heard. This also, finally, adds some seminal non-LP tracks also recorded in 1965 (most notably their debut single, "I Can't Explain"), as well as a bunch of R&B cover outtakes that previously surfaced on the 1980s comps Who's Missing and Two's Missing. There are also slightly longer versions of a few tracks; an instrumental track for "My Generation" and an "a cappella version" of "Anytime You Want Me"; and one genuine previously unheard song, "Instant Party Mixture," a weird and not good takeoff on Dion's "Runaround Sue" that was recorded in early 1966 as a possible B-side. So what's to carp about? Well, some overdubs used in the original version of the LP have been lost, and their loss is not just something that audiophiles or unhealthily completist record collectors will notice. Specifically, on "My Generation," Pete Townshend's guitar is virtually missing from the instrumental break, and the group's backup vocals at the song's climax are likewise mostly missing. Other little omissions crop up too, and though this compilation makes up for that a bit with "monaural versions with guitar overdubs" of "My Generation" and "A Legal Matter," it's no small loss. Also, unbelievably, although "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" is here (and misspelled on the cover), it's an alternate version with different vocals from a French EP. It's fine to include that, but the classic single version itself, a tremendously exciting and important record, isn't present at all, and no one could reasonably claim there shouldn't have been room for both. Too, the version of "Leaving Here" is an alternate, and while that's fine to have as a marginally interesting addition, the version that first showed up on Who's Missing is, um, missing. These shortcomings are not unimportant. If a group and label are going to bill something as the ultimate package of a classic album plus bonus tracks, it should have everything you want to hear. This deluxe edition doesn't. This doesn't, of course, mean that it doesn't contain much great music, particularly the My Generation album itself, a tour de force of British mod music maturing from R&B rave-ups into melodic power pop with riveting instrumental and lyrical hooks. It is also good to hear the nice early R&B cover B-sides "Daddy Rolling Stone" and "Anytime You Want Me," and while the R&B-oriented outtakes of Motown songs like "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave" aren't so good, as historical documentation they're important. The sessions are also documented nicely in a booklet of liner notes. But no doubt you'll have to wait for the SACD or DVD or some such configuration to correct some of these flaws and separate you from more of your hard-earned cash.~ by Richie Unterberger

1. The Who - Out In The Street (2:32)
2. The Who - I Don't Mind (2:33)
3. The Who - The Good's Gone (4:00)
4. The Who - La-La-La Lies (2:17)
5. The Who - Much Too Much (2:45)
6. The Who - My Generation (3:21)
7. The Who - The Kids Are Alright (3:09)
8. The Who - Please, Please, Please (2:46)
9. The Who - It's Not True (2:32)
10. The Who - I'm A Man (3:21)
11. The Who - A Legal Matter (2:54)
12. The Who - The Ox (3:56)
13. The Who - Circles (3:12)
14. The Who - I Can't Explain (2:03)
15. The Who - Bald Headed Woman (2:30)
16. The Who - Daddy Rolling Stone (2:54)

1. The Who - Leaving Here (Alternate) (2:50)
2. The Who - Lubie (Come Back Home) (3:39)
3. The Who - Shout And Shimmy (3:19)
4. The Who - (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave (2:39)
5. The Who - Motoring (2:50)
6. The Who - Anytime You Want Me (2:37)
7. The Who - Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (Alternate) (2:43)
8. The Who - Instant Party Mixture (3:23)
9. The Who - I Don't Mind (Full Length Version) (3:42)
10. The Who - The Good's Gone (Full Length Version) (4:28)
11. The Who - My Generation (Instrumental Version) (3:26)
12. The Who - Anytime You Want Me (A Capella Version) (2:28)
13. The Who - A Legal Matter (Monaural Versions With Guitar Overdubs) (2:47)
14. The Who - My Generation (Monaural Versions With Guitar Overdubs) (3:18)

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