Friday, June 12, 2015

The Who - Introducing The Who

The Who – Introducing The Who

(soniclovenoize reconstruction)

Side A:

1.  I’m A Man

2.  Heat Wave

3.  I Don’t Mind

4.  Lubie (Come Back Home)

5.  Out In The Street (You’re Gonna Know Me)

6.  Please Please Please

Side B:

7.  Leaving Here

8.  Daddy Rolling Stone

9.  Motoring

10.  Anytime You Want Me

11.  Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

12.  Shout and Shimmy

This is a reconstruction of what was almost The Who’s 1965 debut album, consisting mostly of amped-up versions of R&B covers, which was eventually scrapped and re-recorded as their classic genre-creating My Generation.  This reconstruction attempts to follow the original promotional acetate sequenced by producer Shel Talmy to recreate what The Who’s first album could have been.  The best sources are used and of course this reconstruction is all in mono—pretty much the only way this material should be presented! 

How are legends born?  Sometimes they are not ready-made brilliant, but their significance needs to be forged and honed.  Following a change of drummer to the young yet prodigal Keith Moon and a change of moniker from The Detours to The Who in 1964, the band was discovered by manager Peter Meaden who urged them to change their name to The High Numbers and record his own originals “Zoot Suit” and “I’m The Face” to exploit the current mod movement in the UK.  The single failed to chart and the band reverted to their Who moniker.  At this time, The Who were crafting their chaotic and destructive stage antics and making a name for themselves as playing “maximum R&B”—electrified, high-energy covers of American rock and rhythm & blues standards, laying the groundwork of what would eventually become punk rock. 

Meadon was promptly replaced by Kit Lambert, who was impressed by the band’s explosive live show and encouraged guitarist Pete Townshend to write original material to keep up with the current trend of self-contained bands such as The Beatles and The Kinks.  Signed by producer Shel Talmy, the band recorded their debut single that November at the basement studios of Pyre Electronics—“I Can’t Explain” b/w “Bald Headed Woman”, which charted at number 8.  This was the catalyst the band needed and Talmy rushed The Who back into the studio to record a follow-up single, “Leaving Here” b/w “Baby Don’t You Do It” in March 1965.  The single was shelved for unknown reasons but the band relocated to IBC Studios instead to record a full-length album in April.  Prodded by vocalist Roger Daltrey, the sessions focused on reproducing The Who’s current live set in that they consisted mainly of early rock and R&B covers, with the only Townshend originals being recorded of the twelve were the paltry “Out in the Street” and a stunning song that attempted to sonically marry both the melodic and chaotic elements of The Who, “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”. 

The later was released in May as a single that charted as high as number 10 and Talmy reached a dilemma: should he release the covers-heavy recordings from April as-is, Daltrey’s vision of The Who?  Or should Townshend be pushed to pen all-original material, as proven he could with both “I Can’t Explain” and “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”?  In a move that set in motion the band’s legendary trajectory, Talmy pressed a nine-song acetate from the sessions and shopped it around to music journalists.  The acetate featured: I’m a Man / Heat Wave / I Don’t Mind / Lubie / Out In The Streets / Please, Please, Please / Leaving Here / Motoring and a final song (most likely “Shout and Shimmy”, as it was the only unheard song from the remaining four, with “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” already released as a single, “Daddy Rolling Stone” as it’s b-side in the UK and “Anytime You Want Me” as it’s b-side in the US).  Aside from Townshend later claiming he hated the album in this early configuration, the feedback was dismal and the material was deemed unoriginal and lacked the electric spark heard on the previous singles.  It was decided that the whole album should be scrapped and to start again from scratch; Townshend had beaten Daltrey over the direction of The Who. 

After a summer tour, the band reconvened to IBC Studios in October with all-new original material and recorded eight more tracks: “A Legal Matter”, “The Good’s Gone”, “It’s Not True”, “The Kids Are Alright”, “La-La-La Lies”, “Much Too Much”, “The Ox” and a little two-chord tune with a bass solo called “My Generation”.  Creating the bulk of the remade debut, The Who rescued “Out in the Street”, “I Don’t Mind”, “Please Please Please” and “I’m A Man” from the April sessions and the album was released in December as My Generation, with its title track as the lead single released the previous month.  The rest may be history, but the twisted path The Who took to find their generation could have yielded a completely different introduction. 

Our first step in reconstructing this early version of My Generation—which I have aptly titled Introducing The Who—is to simply recreate Shel Telmay’s nine-song acetate, sifting in the three remaining songs into side B.  The results create a surprisingly well-balanced album, with side A beginning with the ruckus of "I'm a Man", side A ending with the slow-tempo “Please Please Please” and side B beginning with the up-tempo “Leaving Here” (intended as a single anyways!).  Also seemingly much more than coincidence, the covers-heavy album would then have one Townshend-original buried deep within each LP side full of cover versions, much like another popular rock band also on Decca Records: The Rolling Stones, in which both of their 1965 releases The Rolling Stones No. 2 and Out of Our Heads featured the exact same layout!  As for source material, we will only use the original mono mixes and focus on the very best master of the available material: the 2011 Japanese SHM-SACD remaster of My Generation.  All other source material (the 2008 My Generation box set and the 2011 remaster of Who’s Missing Two’s Missing) was A/Bed, re-EQed and volume adjusted to match the parameters of that excellent 2011 SHM-SACD remaster to make a cohesive whole and as close to the sound of the master tapes as possible. 

Side A specifically follows Telmay’s acetate, which begins with “I’m A Man” from the 2011 remaster of My Generation, followed by “Heat Wave” from the 2008 My Generation box set.  Next is “I Don’t Mind” from the 2011 SHM-SACD followed by “Lubie” from the 2008 remaster, with the side concluding with “Out On The Street” and “Please Please Please” from the 2011 remaster.  Side B deviates slightly from the Telmay acetate in order to include the three songs that were initially dropped due to the single release, although retaining the side opener and closer.  The side begins with The Who single-that-never-was “Leaving Here” from the 2008 box, followed by “Daddy Rolling Stone” and “Motoring” also from the box.  “Anytime You Want Me” is next, taken from the superb 2011 remaster of Who’s Missing Two’s Missing.  Closing out the album is the single version of “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” from the 2008 box and “Shout and Shimmy” from the 2011 remaster. 

Sources Used:

My Generation (2011 Japanese SHM-SACD remaster)
My Generation (2008 Japanese Collector’s box set)

Who’s Missing Two’s Missing (2011 Japanese SHM-SACD remaster)

flac --> wav --> SONAR and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8

* md5 files, track notes and artwork included