As I mentioned with my last post, there are certain cases where I've ran into difficulties that has stopped me from continuing to post stray tracks albums for certain artists. Another such case is the Who.
First off, I have to explain why the last stray tracks album I made for the band ended in 1972, and this one begins in 1977. In 1973, the Who released the great double album "Quadrophenia." There are some stray tracks related to that album, including some that were done years later for the 1979 movie, such as "Joker James" and "Four Faces." But since it's a concept album, I feel any such song should be included as part of a super-sized version of that album instead of something else. (Hey, now that I think about it, maybe I should put together something like that. I haven't until now.)
After that, the Who weren't that active for a few years, partially due to the declining health and musical skills of drummer Keith Moon. The band did put out the album "The Who by Numbers" in 1975. I really like that album, but as you can guess from the title, the band wasn't really into it at the time, and mostly just put out an album because they were expected to. So it's not that much of a surprise that there aren't any outtakes (or at least none have publicly emerged).
So that takes us to 1977 and after, when the band got together again to make the 1978 album "Who Are You." The problem I faced is that I found a bunch of interesting songs, but most of them weren't of sufficient sound quality for my usual standards. In particular, after Moon died and was replaced by Kenny Jones, the Who played a lot of brand new songs in concert in 1979. I think that year was the only time in the history of the band when they regularly tried out unreleased songs, sometimes significantly changing them from night to night as they continued to evolve. Many of these were never later officially released. But unfortunately there are very few high quality bootlegs from that year (which typically means soundboards or radio broadcasts), and the bootleg versions of these songs just don't sound that good.
Thus, for a long time, I didn't know what to do about this album. I hoped better versions would emerge, and earlier this year a Record Store Day version of the 1981 album "Face Danes" did include some bonus tracks, one of which I've included here. But I could be waiting for years, or maybe forever, for more versions to appear. So instead, I dug deeper and found some other songs to fill out the album, and then I turned those merely okay sounding unreleased songs into bonus tracks.
So what do we actually have here? "Bogey Man" is a very good song by bassist John Entwistle. It has remained unreleased, though I think it was good enough to be on a Who album (and definitely good enough for a Entwistle solo album). Although all of the Who isn't on it, drummer Keith Moon is.
"No Road Romance," "Empty Glass," and "Who Are You (Lost Verse Mix)" are bonus stracks from the "Who Are You" album. A different version of "Empty Glass" would be included on the 1980 Pete Townshend solo album of that same name. "Who Are You" of course is one of the Who's best known song, but I've included this version due to that lost verse mentioned in the song's subtitle.
"How Can You Do It Alone" is a song that would be released on the band's 1981 album "Face Dances." But I've included this 1979 live version because the band had a very different arrangement for it that in my opinion is significantly better than the album version.
Finally, the one really excellent bootleg concert recording from 1979 that I've found is of the band's performance for the benefit concert "The Concert for Kampuchea." An official film and album was released for that, but those only included three Who songs. Whereas that band (and the others) played a full concert, and the whole thing was professionally recorded. From that, I took a cover of the blues standard "I'm a Man," plus an apparent original blues song "I Don't Want to Be an Old Man" (though that title might just be a bootlegger's guess).
Last, but most interesting, as a version of the Motown classic "Dancing in the Street" that morphed into the original song "Dance It Away," which would appear as a Pete Townshend B-side a couple years later. However, what's interesting, in my opinion, is that in the middle of this long medley, Townshend had a very interesting spoken interlude that is very rare, if not unique, in the history of Who concerts. His comments were inspired by the theme of the concert, being a benefit for the victims of the war-torn Southeast Asian country of Cambodia (also known as Kampuchea). Around that time, many thousands fled that country, and neighboring Vietnam, in boats. Townshend's comments refer to that. Note that when he complains about "fuckin' Arabs," he is sarcastically acting like a xenophobic opponent of immigration, just as he's being sarcastic when he supposedly lists his favorite TV shows. In fact, that's an attempt to critique the small-mindedness of a certain portion of the population. Anyway, sorry for the long-winded explanation, but I figured it's important because sarcastic critiques can often be misunderstood.
This album is 46 minutes long, not counting the bonus tracks. If you add those, it's an hour and two minutes.
Speaking of those bonus tracks, I explained the sound quality issues those have already. But I also want to mention that "Cat's in the Cupboard" would later appear of the 1980 Pete Townshend solo album "Empty Glass" in a fairly different version. However, the other three don't appear to have been released anywhere in any form. These evolved in concert so much that different versions have different titles. For instance, "Blue, Black, White, and Red" was also called "Blue, Blue, Blue," and "Blue, Black, and White," as the colors mentioned in the songs changed. And "You've Got Rock and Roll" was also played with the main line changing to "That's Rock and Roll."
There are yet other interesting songs done live that year, including the originals "I'm London" and "I Am an Animal" the later also eventually appearing on the "Empty Glass" album, as well as a bunch of interesting covers, but I didn't want to overwhelm this album with too many fair to poor sounding bonus tracks. I think I picked the best ones.
01 Bogey Man (John Entwistle with Keith Moon)
02 No Road Romance (Who)
03 Empty Glass (Who)
04 Who Are You [Lost Verse Mix] (Who)
05 How Can You Do It Alone [Early Live Version] (Who)
06 I'm a Man (Who)
07 I Don't Want to Be an Old Man (Who)
08 Dancing in the Street - Dance It Away (Who)
Blue, Black, White, Red (Who)
Cat's in the Cupboard (Who)
Take a Fool like You (Who)
You've Got Rock and Roll (Who)
For the album cover, I chose a photo of the band from 1977 when Keith Moon was still alive. John Entwistle (on the far left) was the only one looking off to the side, so I made a minor edit to have him looking forward with the rest of the band.