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Who Came First
Audio CD | Extra Tracks, Remastered
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Who Came First (Expanded Edition)
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, August 29, 2006
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Digitally remastered expanded edition of the 1972 debut solo album from The Who's songwriter/guitarist. A marvelously homespun, low-key affair that brought together songs that eventually became part of The Who's repertoire, 'Pure And Easy' and 'Let's See Action', as well as such brilliant pieces as 'Time Is Passing'.
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"Pure & Easy" is one of the best songs Townshend ever wrote. While I prefer the Who version on ODDS & SODs, Townshend does a great acoustic version here. Lane takes the lead on "Evolution" which is...well, very Ronnie Lane-ish. Like your neighbor sitting on his back step with a guitar and a pint of Guiness.
I love the sappy acoustic tunes "Time Is Passing," "There's A Heartache Following Me" and, especially and always, "Sheraton Gibson." Just great great great stuff from a period when Townshend could do anything--ANYTHING--on the guitar. The most intimidating wizard of all, in my book, even more so than Hendrix because Townshend never lost the beat in the midst of his revery (how's that for a poetic twitch?).
And "Content" is almost angelic. Other than George Harrison I can't imagine anyone in Rock at the time (1972) who would have dared be this fragile and prostrate on a solo LP.
For all his human shortcomings, Townshend remains my hero--guitar, spiritual, philosophical, whatever--and this album demonstrates the real heart of why that came to be. There are no hits, and that's really the point: this was a demonstration of a kind of faith, not an attempt to conquer Top Of The Pops.
Later in the 70's Townshend would fight an internal battle to mix this kind of spiritual enlightenment with an urge to remain commercially viable; he would try to inject this kind of philosophical openness into a Rock/Pop Rock format. Whether or not he was successful--and whether or not that effort led, in part or in whole, to the creative collapse of the Who--is a wordy issued we can debate some other time.
This is a great record,, though, no matter how you approach it.