October 22, 2020

1983-04-08 – The Missoulian

1983 04 08 The_Missoulian_Fri__Apr_8__1983_

A-6—Missoulian, Friday, April 8, I983

Recordings ’

Townshend scores with ‘Scoop’

of the Missoulian

In the introduction to "Scoop,“ a fascinating mllee
Imn oI I’eter Townshend's demo tapes, Townshend writes,

‘ When I have (ionic up against any kind HI pi‘ohlt-nbin
the past I have always dealt with it through mush"; mther
through Vl‘ltlllg a song or literally remrding the problem
away therapeutically."

As a longtime fan of Townshend's band. The Who,
that seems accurate to me. Perhaps no other figure in rock
music is so obsessed with telling his listeners what's going
on in his life

Album review

"Stoop" is a logical extension of that obsession. By
releasing some of his demo tapes — rough recordings of
songs meant to demonstrate how they sound — Town-
shend bridges some of the gap that inevitably develops be-
tween a musician and a listener.

It‘s the same process Bruce Springsteen went though
when he sat down with his acoustic guitar and made “Ne-
braska.“ To a lesser extent. it‘s the same process Phil Col-
lins went through when he put some of his demo tapes on
his first solo album. “Face Value.”

For a Who fan. “Scoop" also presents a rare opportu-
nity to hear rough, unpolished versions of some of that
band's greatest songs. "Scoop" contains surprisingly solid
versions of “Behind Blue Eyes,“ “The Magic Bus" and

In particular. listening to “Bargain" again is a treat.
In the years that have passed since “Who's Next“ was re-
leased. I had forgotten what a splendid song this is. Hear-
ing it on “Scoop“ is like rediscovering a buried treasure.

There also are
some songs in-
r'luded here that
I'm glad The Who
never did. I can't .
imagine the band i
ever recording
“Things Have
Changed," for ex-

Also on
“Scoop" are some
songs that were
radically changed
before being
recorded for The
Who. "Popular,“ for example. had its chorus replaced and
eventually emerged as the title song in the band‘s latest
record. “It‘s Hard."

Townshend also includes some of his more recent
demos for his solo projects.

One of those, “You're So Clever," is so delightful that
I can't imagine why it hasn’t emerged on a Townshend
solo album until now. But another cut, “Body Language,"
suffers from the same pretentiousness that marred his solo
album. “All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes.”

In the liner notes to “Scoop" — also delightful —
Townshend cheerfully admits the pretentiousness.

There are other treats on “Scoop": “Politician," with
its '605 Motown sound; a demo of “Squeezebox,” still The
Who‘s strangest U.S. hit; and a vicious performance of
“Cache Cache."

But. best of all. “Scoop“ provides some insight into
both Townshend and The Who.

I can‘t imagine any Who fan who would not be de-
lighted by “Scoop."


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