Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pete Townshend: Who Came First

A while back a friend from my youth emailed and asked me who was my favorite group – my reply was – that’s absolutely correct. As with much of my humor, he didn’t get it. The Who probably is my all time favorite band; however, there are many bands that have filled that role over the years. Today’s Saturday LP feature of The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshed’s first solo LP: “Who Came First.”

Pure and Easy - the opening cut from the album

While much of the album is dedicated to his religious pursuits and his mentor Meher Baba. At the time of the album’s release and my purchase of it at the Eastland Shopping Center’s Gimbels, I didn’t know much about Pete’s and his friend Ronnie Lane’s religious leanings. What I learned from the album confused me even more. I bought the LP because it was by Pete and the primary purpose was to listen to his music. Religiously, I am vastly different than Pete and don’t follow his belief system.

The Who had recorded and released 
"Let's See Action" in 1971 - this is Pete's version

This becomes difficult in writing about an album that so embraced his mentor, but I’ll try. Although Baba is referenced in the liner notes, one could listen to the album and only pick up on Pete’s beliefs on the final cut – “Parvadigar” – one of Meher Baba’s prayer. Be that as it may, there are other songs on the album that come from the extinguished Who project “Lifeboat.”

I loved the lyrical content of this tune - 
"I'm sitting in the Sheraton-Gibson playing my Gibson."

While the album is good, it’s not great – but still worth mentioning for the few songs that make a difference. I remember playing this album to death – perhaps that’s why I can only become excited about some of the songs, but not all of them. In 2010, the album lacks a unifying sound and that may be due to its various influences. If you are a Who fan, you already have this album. If not, most of the cuts are available on YouTube for you to peruse and make a judgment. To its benefit, the album is well produced - a quality you would expect from Pete Townshend.

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