A career of note
Pete Townshend shows off his best work in ‘Truancy - The Very Best of Pete Townshend’
As The Who’s principal songwriter and lead guitarist, Pete Townshend helped to craft some of the most influential rock music of all time, from British Invasion era hits like The Kids Are Alright and My Generation to epic works like Tommy and Quadrophenia.
Had he done nothing before or after, Townshend’s work with The Who would still have guaranteed his place in the upper reaches of the rock stratosphere.
But Townshend was never one to sit on his laurels.
As a solo artist he has released more than a dozen recordings over the past 30 odd years, several of which produced hits for him, singles like Let My Love Open The Door and Rough Boys off of Empty Glass and Face The Face off of White City.
While not everything he released proved to be commercially successful, Townshend has amassed a respectable body of work, one that regularly received praise from both the music press and from his peers.
Some of the finest moments from that body of work have been chosen for inclusion in a new compilation album celebrating Townshend’s accomplishments as a solo artist.
Released just two weeks ago, “Truancy - The Very Best of Pete Townshend” features 15 songs culled from nine of his key recordings, plus two new songs, Guantanamo, a political statement about the controversial U.S. military detention facility in Cuba and How Can I Help You, written about a friend going through a very tough time.
“Truancy”, which is part of an extensive reissue program for Townshend’s solo material that will see his catalogue remastered and reworked into 2016, was remastered at Abbey Road Studios and features new liner notes and an introduction to the two new songs by Townshend.
In addition to the tracks mentioned, “Truancy” features such Townshend treasures as The Sea Refuses No River and Face Dances Pt. 2 from All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes and Keep Me Turning from Rough Mix, which also features Ronnie Laine.
Townshend says he hopes the record offers a selection of material that will help draw new fans to his solo work.
“I am a bit of a dabbler I’m afraid,” Townshend says in a note from his record label. “I am as interested in building, developing and playing with recording studios as I am with making music. The Who has taken up most of my road hours, and in this year of the 50th anniversary of our first significant year in 1965, we are back on the road again.”
If this record rekindles your interest in The Who you might also want to look into a second release.
Just last month Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Classics released “Classic Quadrophenia”, a new symphonized version of the original “Quadrophenia” album released by The Who in 1973.
The new recording features Alfie Boe as Jimmy, Pete Townshend as The Godfather, Billy Idol as Ace Face/Bell Boy and Phil Daniels, the star who played Jimmy in the original movie version of Quadrophenia, as Dad. Also featured on the recording are the London Oriana Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Pete Townshend’s solo projects provide the material for a new compilation recording. The iconic rocker hopes recording will introduce his solo efforts to a new audience.