Monday, December 05, 2016

The Who - Empty Glass


Empty Glass, released in mid-1980, was Pete Townshend's first "real" solo album (the two that came before were a demo collection and a collaboration with The Small Faces' Ronnie Lane). Recorded from mid-1979 to early-1980, it was recieved very positivelly upon it's release by critics, and is still considered PT's greatest solo effort to date, spawning the hit single "Let My Love Open The Door". But in the following year, The Who, with the addition of Kenney Jones (ex-drummer from The Faces and Small Faces) and John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards, who had toured with them in 1979, recorded the album "Face Dances", which despite including the hit "You Better You Bet", was a critical failure, and comparisons to Empty Glass, it's twin album, were inevitable. The rest of the band was also dissatisfied with that, with Roger stating that he thought Townshend was "keeping the best tunes to himself", adding more to the evergrowing tensions on the group. The other members had solo projects as well, with John recording the bulk of his "Too Late the Hero" album during the time, and Roger both acting and singing on the McVicar movie and soundtrack, released in 1980. So, I ask the question: what if Townshend had released Empty Glass as a Who project? I envisioned it as a mix of his 1980 album and a couple of songs off John Entwistle's "Too Late The Hero", since the bulk of it was recorded at basically the same time as EG, excluding the McVicar tunes as they were mostly covers, and not that interesting anyway. And so I came up with this:

Side A
  1. Rough Boys
  2. I Am An Animal
  3. Dance It Away
  4. Empty Glass
  5. Too Late The Hero
Side B
  1. A Little Is Enough
  2. Cat's In The Cupboard
  3. Talk Dirty
  4. Let My Love Open The Door
  5. Gonna Get Ya

I tried to follow the original album's tracklist to the greatest extent possible, adding up the Entwistle songs in the holes left off by the excluded songs. We start off with "Rough Boys", with Kenney Jones on the drums, and even according to Townshend, Daltrey said that he would have liked to have recorded this tune as a Who tune, so that's more than enough for it's inclusion. Next is "I Am An Animal", which I consider to be too "fragile" for Daltrey's voice, and would be sung by Townshend as it is, a common practice on their albums. "Dance It Away", played in their 1979 tours after "Dancing In The Street", comes off next, being released as a B-Side by Pete in 1982. Next off is the title track, "Empty Glass", whose introduction is a perfect fit for Daltrey's voice, but with Townshend still singing the slow part of the song, a-la Baba O' Riley. The first Entwistle song on the album, "Too Late The Hero", would be included as the single-edit, since the full version would make the album side too long. But since it was released as a single, it's included in here. Kicking off side B is "A Little Is Enough", written about PT's marital problems. A strong, rocking song, such as some on side A, that doesn't actually match Townshend's voice (I still love it!), so it would benefit a lot from Roger's powerful vocals. Up next is "Cat's In The Cupboard", which was also played live by the group in their 1979 tour (I reccomend hearing the bootlegs from it), giving us more than enough reason to include it. The second and last John song, "Talk Dirty", was also a single, and a personal favourite of mine, so it is included here. John normally recieved about 1-2 songs an album (Who Are You and Face Dances are notable exceptions, with a third of each album written by him!), so this is what would normally appear. Up next, the original album's hit, "Let My Love Open The Door", is a gentle love song, that a couple of years ago recieved a cover version by Roger, which is also pretty good! Seen that he liked it enought to cover it, it guarantees it's spot here. The last song, the rocking "Gonna Get Ya", reminds me of "Cry If You Want", in a way, and would be a great, rocking song, to the style of their old 70's anthems, a great way to finish a overall good album. Any thoughs? I was considering putting a download link, but seen as this is mostly imaginative and theoretical, I don't think there would be much of a use. Any request or criticism is welcome, and I'm more than willing to attend/hear it!

2 comments:

  1. Will you be putting up a link for this? Sounds like it could be very interesting.

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    1. I don't think so, seen that it is maily imaginative, but it is pretty easy to do yourself

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