October 23, 2020

1983-04-26 – The Evening Sun

1983 04 26 The_Evening_Sun_Tue__Apr_26__1983_

Records

Two from To wnsh end

By Patrick Ercolano
Evening Sun Staff

ETE TOWNSHEND has always
Phad a strong feel for the history of
his own music and of rock ’n’ roll in
general. In fact, if he weren’t such a gift-
ed musician, he could easily have be-
come a critic (a trade, by the way, that
he plies from time to time for sundry
publications).
. Lately it seems the historian-critic in
Townshend has taken the upper hand.
After scanning the contemporary rock
scene, he has decided it’s time for his
hand, the Who, to “pass the torch” on to
the young groups just surfacing.

Keith Richards, the wizened hut tire-
less Rolling Stone, had perhaps the best
answer to that decision in a recent inter-
view in Guitar Player magazine:

“The time to step is when you can’t do
it anymore, or when you’re fed up.
There’s no passing on of the -----torches.
Other peOple will pick them up anyway,
and besides, that’s not the point . . . You
don't sort of say, ‘Oh, now I give up and
I’ll hand it on to this band who I think is

1 - quite good.’ You don’t hand it on that

way. Pete already handed it on . . . to
some of the young guys who are playing
now.

“It’s not, ‘Here, I’ve got to hand you a
document,’ ” Richards said. “It’s the
records that you’ve done that the youn-
ger players have listened to and grown
up with and sat around learning.”

Two new Townshend “documents”
are out. One is a greatest hits collection
of 13 Who. songs from 1965 to 1978. The

set of recordings Townshend made at his
various home studios from 1964 to 1982.
(The title, he explains in the liner
notes, means that this is just a small
sampling, a “scoop,” from hundreds of
home-recorded odds and ends.)

Many of the 26 tracks served as dem-
onstration tapes for potential Who
recordings. The homemade tapes be-
came an easy method for Townshend to
show new numbers to the rest of the
band. .

It’s obvious that he took the most care
with these demos, as exemplified here by
“Squeezebox,” “Bargain,” “Behind Blue
Eyes,” “Papular” (which, after a few
changes, turned into “It’s Hard”), “The
Magic Bus,” “Cache, Cache,” “Mary” (3
track that was planned for the aborted
“Lifehouse” project, then for “Who’s
Next,” but ultimately dropped when that
LP became a single album rather than a
double), and “Love Reign O’er Me.”

The rest range from very brief goofs,
such as a one-minute “It’s A Long Way
to Tipperary,” during which Townshend
clucks like a chicken while he pounds the
piano, to recordings of Townshend origi-
nals that had never seen the light of day
—“Zelda” and “Body Language,” to
name two-ahd probably should have re-
mained that way.

And yet, except for the mate serious
tracks for the Who, these tapes reveal
much of the fun and charm of good
homemade recordings. Townshend, who
calls home recording his first and pri-
mary hobby, plays all the instruments on

althost every track, and while he may

other ant more noteworthy item is _
‘ .SRTOWNSHEND,C8,COI.1

. ‘ “Scoop” (Atco, 90063-1-F), a two-record