Guide to British Music of the 1960s

April 2019

CD Review: The Who - Transmissions 1965-1967

 

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' Man with 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

Audio Vaults

Essential Tracks

  • Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
  • I Can See for Miles
  • Substitute
Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
  2. Just You and Me, Darling
  3. Leaving Here
  4. Good Lovin'
  5. My Generation
  6. The Good's Gone
  7. La La Lies
  8. Substitute
  9. Man with Money
  10. Dancing in the Street
  11. Disguises
  12. I'm a Boy
  13. Substitute
  14. Man With Money
  15. Dancing in the Street
  16. Barbara Ann
  17. My Generation

Disc Two

  1. Run, Run, Run
  2. Boris the Spider
  3. Happy Jack
  4. See My Way
  5. Pictures of Lily
  6. A Quick One (While He's Away)
  7. I Can't Reach You
  8. I Can See for Miles
  9. Summertime Blues
  10. Happy Jack
  11. So Sad About Us
  12. My Generation

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