Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Who - Tommy Deluxe Edition (Geffen, 2013)

Because of the saturation of classic rock radio, it's easy to forget how innovative The Who's "rock opera" Tommy really was. Guitarist an principal songwriter Pete Townshend, emboldened by a spiritual conversion and a desire to move beyond the three minute pop song, developed this 2LP suite which was groundbreaking at the time for both form and content. The story of the deaf, dumb and blind boy Tonmy may seem trite at first, but deeper reading of the lyrics (fully printed in the booklet along with a small essay) shows remarkably thoughtful lyrics about child abuse, spiritual epiphany and much more. Despite its length and age the album still holds together quite well. Also included is a very strong concert performed in Canada in 1969, showing the band developing its fearsome live performance that would culminate in the classic Live in Leeds LP. This us a nicely done package, the sound quality of the principal album is excellent and detailed while the live disc is raw and immediate. This is definitely worth consideration by both Who fans and partisans of rock 'n' roll in general. Tommy (2013 Deluxe Edition)

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