Monday, February 26, 2024

Review: 'Teenage Wasteland: The Who at Winterland, 1968 and 1976'

There have been so many books about The Who that it only makes sense that, sixty years after the band's formation, a new entry in their library would be almost unbelievably specific. The very title of Edoardo Genzolini's Teenage Wasteland: The Who at Winterland, 1968 and 1976 announces its specificity. That is not a mistyped conjunction; this book does not track the years 1968 through 1976, when The Who were pretty much the greatest live band in the world. Genzolini's only covers two years in The Who's history, and not conspicuously auspicious ones either. 1968 was the first year The Who did not release an LP since their beginning, and the few singles they managed to squeak out in '68 are often dismissed as novelties made by an out-of-touch band desperate for fresh material (I'm not one of those dismissers though, largely because the zany "Dogs" is one of my faves). In 1976, they were touring their most troubled album, the virtual suicide-note The Who By Numbers, with rapidly deteriorating intraband relationships and a rapidly deteriorating drummer with just two years left in the world.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Review: 'The Rolling Stones Singles 1966 - 1971'

*It's been twenty months since the release of The Rolling Stones Singles 1963 - 1966, and though that set's press release promised the inevitable sequel would arrive in 2023, vinyl reissues of the Stones' U.S. LPs were apparently ABKCO's main concern that year. In 2024, the label has wasted little time in finally making good on that 2022 promise. 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Review: Wings' 'Band on the Run' 50th Anniversary Set

If there's a word that sums up Paul McCartney's work-approach with The Beatles, that word could be "perfectionism." That was certainly one of the things that drove his band-mates up a tree when he insisted on take after take of things like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", although the cutesiness of those songs surely rubbed John, George, and Ringo the wrong way too. So it was a shock when McCartney began his solo career by bucking that perfectionism, if not the cutesiness. McCartney was a homemade, one-man-band record full of non-songs and only intermittent flashes of his perfect song craft, "Maybe I'm Amazed" being the most obvious example. If RAM suggested that the perfect old Paul was back, then Macca continued to confound with an album of jams with a new band called Wings, which he then followed with a Whitman's sampler of nutrient-free confectionary experiments he titled Red Rose Speedway.
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