[Review] Keith Moon: Two Sides of the Moon (1975)

It’s been called one of the worst rock albums of all time. It’s not that bad.

Kronomyth 1.0: Moonie’s moto bravura.

Moon the Loon slips from behind the set for a solo record, brings former inmate Ringo along for the ride, and the results are remarkably Ringo-esque in the best sense of the (non) word. Albums by drummers usually follow one of three courses: the lame genre exercise, the middling pop/rock album and the misguided jazz-rock adventure. Two Sides of the Moon falls into the second category, a respectable rock record that honors its limitations (Keith Moon’s voice and varying states of sobriety) and works within those confines to produce a batch of good songs.

Rather than a knockoff of The Who (except for a straight reading of “The Kids Are Alright”), this sounds more like a Ronnie Lane record. Moon has that sort of humble and slightly besotted voice, not off key so much as off center. He does a credible job in various settings: country (“One Night Stand”), rock (“Crazy Like A Fox”) and, on the expanded remaster, faux island music (“Naked Man”).

If you’ve enjoyed Ringo and Goodnight Vienna, Two Sides of the Moon is worth exploring. No doubt the whole thing was a party, but Moon stays on target most of the time, apparently serious about the idea of making a real record. It’s not an essential record but, considering how little I expected from Moon as a solo artist, Two Sides gets two thumbs up from me. I didn’t expect Keith to lead with his chin, instead thinking that he would hide behind the cloak of inscrutable prankster. Of course it’s silly in spots, yet it never stoops to the put-upon strangeness of a “Dogs Part Two.” Two Sides of the Moon serves the Keith Moon legend as a charming anomaly, an indication that there was more to Moon than playing drums like a man possessed and wallowing in comic excess. The expanded reissue includes some good unreleased tracks, single versions and several raps between Ringo and Keith that are mildly amusing.

Original LP Version

A1. Crazy Like A Fox (Al Staehely) (2:06)
A2. Solid Gold (Nickey Barclay) (2:47)
A3. Don’t Worry Baby (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) (3:29)
A4. One Night Stand (Dennis Larden) (3:36)
A5. The Kids Are Alright (Peter Townshend) (3:02)
B1. Move Over Ms. L (John Lennon) (3:11)
B2. Teenage Idol (Jack Lewis) (2:17)
B3. Back Door Sally (John Marascalco) (2:31)
B4. In My Life (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) (2:40)
B5. Together (Harry Nilsson) (3:03)

Original 8-track version
A1. Crazy Like A Fox
A2. Solid Gold
A3. Teenage Idol
B1. Don’t Worry Baby
B2. One Night Stand
C1. The Kids Are Alright
C2. Back Door Sally
C3. Mover Over Ms. L (Part I)
D1. Move Over Ms. L (Part II)
D2. In My Life
D3. Together

CD reissue bonus tracks
11. U.S. Radio Spot (1:02)
12. I Don’t Suppose (4:01)
13. Naked Man (Randall Newman) (3:18)
14. Do Me Good (Steve Cropper) (2:41)
15. Real Emotion (Steve Cropper) (2:56)
16. Don’t Worry Baby (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) (3:12)
17. Teenage Idol (Jack Lewis) (2:15)
18. Together Rap (1:57)

2CD reissue track listing
A1. Crazy Like A Fox
A2. Solid Gold
A3. Don’t Worry Baby
A4. One Night Stand
A5. The Kids Are Alright
A6. Move Over Ms. L
A7. Teenage Idol
A8. Back Door Sally
A9. In My Life
A10. Together
A11. Lies
A12. I Don’t Suppose
A13. Hot Rod Queen
A14. Don’t Worry Baby (single version)
A15. Teenage Idol (single version)
A16. Back Door Sally (mal evans mix)
A17. One Night Stand (mal evans mix)
A18.  Crazy Like A Fox (mal evans mix)
A19. In My Life (mal evans mix)
A20. Move Over Ms. L (mal evans mix)
A21. Solid Gold (mal evans mix)
A22. We Wish You A Merry Xmas
A23. Do Me Good
A24. Real Emotion
A25. Naked Man
B1. Keith & Ringo “Together” (session dialogue #1)
B2. Don’t Worry Baby (version)
B3. Don’t Worry Baby (version)
B4. Teenage Idol (version)
B5. Crazy Like A Fox (version)
B6. Solid Gold (version)
B7. A Touch of Moon Madness
B8. Move Over Ms. L (version)
B9. Lies (version)
B10. My Generation
B11. The Kids Are Alright
B12. Keith & Ringo “Together” (session dialogue #2)
B13. Together (version)
B14. Together (version)
B15. Together (version)
B16. I’m Not Angry (version)
B17. Hot Rod Queen (version)
B18. Solid Gold (ad-libs #1)
B19. Teenage Idol (version)
B20. Solid Gold (ad-libs #2)
B21. Real Emotion (version)
B22. ‘OK Mr. Starkey’
B23. Do Me Good (version)
B24. Keith & Ringo – ‘Together (Again)’
B25. In My Life (version)

The Players

Keith Moon (vocal, drums, percussion, drum solo), Jesse Ed Davis (electric guitar, guitar), Joe Walsh (guitar, ARP synthesizer, electric guitar, guitar solo) with Blair Aaronson (piano), Steve Adamick (guitar on A3), Nickey Barclay (piano on A2), David Birkett (bass on A4), Mike Condello (acoustic guitar on A4), Dick Dale (“surf” guitar & solo on B2), Cam Davis (drums on A2), Spencer Davis (acoustic guitar on A1), Steve Douglas (horns), Skip Edwards (Fender Rhodes & steel guitar on A4), Mal Evans (horn arrangement, basic tracks producer), Fanny (background vocals on A2), Jay Ferguson (piano), Miguel Ferrer (drums on A3), Flo and Eddie (Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan) (background vocals), David Foster (piano on B1), Gerald Garrett (choir), James Gilstrap (background vocals, choir), Robert Greenridge (steel drums on B5), Ron Grinel (drums on B1), Beau Guss (guitar solo on A2), Jimmy Haskell (string arrangement and conducting), Ira Hawkins (choir), James Haymer (guitar on A3), Ron Hicklin (choir), August Johnson (choir), Jim Keltner (drums), Bobby Keys (sax solo on B3), Clydie King (background vocals, choir), Danny Kootch (guitar, acoustic guitar), Norma Kurban (organ, choir), Dennis Larden (background vocals), Paul Lenart (guitar on B5), Greg Matta (choir), Sherlie Matthews (background vocals), Micky McGee (drums), Jean Millington (bass on A2), Ollie Mitchell (horns), Rick Nelson (vocal on A4), Harry Nilsson (vocal on B5), Patti Quatro (guitar on A2), Jimmie Randall (bass), Irma Routen (choir), John Sebastian (guitar on A3), Curly Smith (drums), Al Staehely (acoustic guitar, guitar), John Staehely (electric guitar), Paul Stallworth (bass), Ringo Starr (announcer, drums, “rap”), Julia Tillman (background vocals, choir), Klauss Voorman (bass on B5), Jay White (background vocals), Lorna Willard (background vocals, choir), Andra Willis (choir), Carolyn Willis (choir). Produced and directed by Skip Taylor and John Stronach except bonus tracks 13/14/15 by Steve Cropper; engineered by John Stronach, Don Wood, Gary Kellgreen, Lee Kiefer, Mike Stone, Michael “Homeboy” Verdick, Gary Ladinsky; remixing by Jon Astley and Andy Macpherson.

The Pictures

Album title by Ringo Starr. Cover concept by Keith Moon, Skip Taylor, John Stronach and Gary Stromberg. Photography by Jim McCrary, Robert Failla, Rainbow Photography. Styling and location by Larry Marmorstein.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on April 25, 1975 in the UK (Polydor, 2442 134/3170 224), the US (MCA/Track, MCA/MCAT-2136) and Germany and Italy (Polydor, 2383 336) with diecut cover and insert. Reached #155 on the US charts.

  1. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1997 in the US (Pet Rock, KBD 60038) and in July 1997 in Germany (Repertoire, 4635) with 8 bonus tracks.
  2. Re-released on expanded 2CD in 2006 in the US (Castle, CAS 6259-2) with 40 bonus tracks.

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