Odds & Sods (The Who) – Album Review (Part 2)

Read what I had to say about the original LP here.

The remastered “Odds & Sods” was issued in 1998, effectively becoming the final Who album to be expanded and reissued (leaving aside “My Generation”, which as I am sure you know remained in Shel Talmy’s grip). There was a lot of curiosity to see what was going to be added, and how it would be presented. Well, as it turned out the album length was more than doubled (it went from 11 to 23 tracks), and the new “Odds & Sods” was presented in chronological order. Now the album started with “I’m The Face” and finished with “Water”.

Led by Jon Astley, the archivists unearthed three true gems. The first two were from the sessions for Who’s Next: “Time Is Passing” and “Love Is For Keeping”. Of course, every self-respecting Who fan knew “Time Is Passing” from Pete’s version on “Who Came First”, but The ‘Oo’s version did not lag behind in any sense, and it evinced a gentle vocal by Roger at the time he was truly at the top of the Totem. And the song was fantastic even when it was only half the song – the channels that were meant to be on the left side were missing. As I explained when reviewing “Who Came First”, some bootlegger found them and put the full version together. Good luck if you can find it…

The “new” version of “Love Is For Keeping” was the electric take mentioned on the booklet of the reissued “Who’s Next”. Lesley West (from Mountain) played electric with Pete, and the result was equally as satisfying as “Baby Don’t You Do It” from the bonus-fortified “Who’s Next”.

The final true discovery was to be an outtake from “Quadrophenia“, “We Close Tonight”. But there was something strange about it – the song was credited to Pete but vocals were handled by John and Keith. That was something rare indeed, and the uber developed bass line just makes the question mark on who really composed it stand all the more noticeable. Personally, I think that “We Close Tonight” was the one song John wrote for “Quadrophenia”, and that he eventually chose to discard since he feared it summarized the whole opera in one song.

Elsewhere, collectors were certain thrilled to hear the “Cousin Kevin” demo – originally sung by Keith, the final version on “Tommy” was to be sung by everybody but the effervescent drummer, and have the opposite tone from the demo. There was also a (lame) version of “Young Man Blues” which was recorded at around the same time, and some Eddie Cochran numbers that were considered for “Sell Out”. Those were the live powerhouse “Summertime Blues” and the lesser-known “My Way”.

Finally, a rare acetate provided two early rare recordings of “Baby Don’t You Do It” and “Leavin’ Here”.

By their mere nature, both the original and the remastered “Odds & Sods” could never be more than documents for fans that would do just anything to get their hands on those performances. If anything, some of the “new” tracks just showcased how injudicious was “30 Years Of Maximum R & B” put together, as both “Time Is Passing” and “Love Ain’t For Keeping” could have lent the boxed set just that little more oomph. The same went for “We Close Tonight” – it beat the unreleased demo of “The Real Me” with Kenney Jones hands down.

At the end of the day, this was just a parallel story, and like most parallel stories only those who knew every chapter and incident that had originally taken place could get to the end of it with a satisfied mien, scratch their chins and mumble “So, that was it”. I made this album one of my final Who acquisitions. I advise you to do the same. It doesn’t transmit the sense of brilliance of the band, but (as long as you know the records) it does give you a framework for understanding it more wholly. Most of all, some of the songs show them having real fun in a studio. The story of the band was to be somehow grave from a certain point onwards. It is priceless to be reminded that they could have a good time together, the four of them in the same room. And that is what I bet many fans will treasure as far as this album goes.


Original album: 6.5/10
Remastered CD: 7.5/10

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