The Who recorded many sessions for BBC radio, showcasing singles, LP tracks
and some songs that were never released until now. This is a far more complete
collection that the previous BBC Sessions CD and also includes tracks recorded
for French television in early 1966 (tracks 13-17 on disc 1) and tracks played
at the Marquee that were broadcast on Germany's Beat Club in early 1967
(tracks 10-12 on disc 2). Listen out for Radio Caroline South DJ (and future
Hairy Cornflake) Dave Lee Travis presenting on the German show. The BBC tracks are taken from sessions recorded for
Saturday Club and Top Gear, the mainstays of the BBC Light Programme's pop
output prior to the launch of Radio 1.
While the BBC taped over many of its session tapes it is amazing that these
survived and the sound quality is incredible. What it does provide is the live
sound of the Who, albeit without any audience noise. Many of the songs are more
powerful that the original records in this context. On a few tracks the
bass is particularly high in the mix (I Can See for Miles, for example), something that Roger Daltrey noted in his recent autobiography!
Even though most of these tracks were recorded in a studio setting, they just
just how powerful the Who are. The band was unusual in having four leads,
vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Unlike most other groups, the bass and drums are
not hidden in the mix but very much to the fore. The lack of an audience did not
mean that the band were more inhibited (or were they?). This is extremely
powerful music. The instrumental and feedback breaks in Anyway Anyhow
Anywhere and My Generation are incredible and much more powerful than
the original record versions. There is little doubt that, even before cracking
the US from Monterey onwards, the Who were an incredible live act.
Earlier sessions here include some of the cover versions that the Who had in
their live set and before Townshend (primarily) had written sufficient original
material. Motown and soul standards were a fixture in the set list and there are
two versions of Martha & the Vandella's Dancing in the Street. This was never
released on vinyl although Heatwave was issued. Eddie Holland's Leaving Here
is another standard while other covers include the Everly Brothers'
Money and the Rascals' Good Lovin'. The Beach Boys' Barbara Ann features Keith
Moon on lead vocals as he was a big fan of surf music. This track appeared on
the Ready Steady Who EP in 1966.
Some of the album tracks are more interesting as they are heard less. Run
Run Run, I Can't Reach You, The Good's Gone and La La Lies
stand up extremely well amongst the better-known singles although, unfortunately
there is no session version of The Kids are Alright.
This is an excellent addition to the collection and showcase the Who before
they went massive globally after Monterey and the 1969 release of Tommy.
CD Release: 22 February 2019
- Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
- I Can See for Miles