[Review] Roger Daltrey: One of the Boys (1977)

Another album of other people’s songs that doesn’t hold a candle to how he torched up Townshend’s tunes.

Kronomyth 3.0: Mirrorly average.

One more Roger Daltrey album that leans on contemporary English songwriters to keep those golden pipes from rusting in between albums by The Who. If One of the Boys isn’t one of his best albums (and it really isn’t), it does contain two of his best cover songs: Andy Pratt’s Avenging Annie and, in the US, Murray Head’s Say It Ain’t So, Joe (which was released as a standalone single in the UK). You should hear both songs at least once in your life, preferably by both the original artists and Daltrey. I’m betting you’ll play “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” more than once.

The rest of the record sounds like the less-inspired moments from Cat Stevens (Foreigner) and Elton John (Caribou). I mean, there’s a reason that Philip Goodhand-Tait, Steve Gibbons and Paul Korda weren’t household names. They’re good songwriters who seem to write mostly middle-of-the-pack songs about love and life. That said, Gibbons’ One of the Boys is a perfectly suited rocker for Daltrey. (Gibbons’ band had opened for The Who, in case you’re looking for a connection.)

Daltrey does write a few songs himself with the help of producers David Courtney (who figured prominently on his first album, Daltrey) and former Shadows drummer Tony Meehan. Those are no better or worse than the cover material and at least tease the promise of getting closer into Daltrey’s state of mind, although it’s not like the man doesn’t grant interviews. In fact, you have to wonder how long Daltrey could stay out of the limelight without withering; he seems to be constantly doing something, whether it’s singing or acting.

Beyond a few good songs, One of the Boys does keep interesting company, including John Entwistle, Eric Clapton and a previously unreleased song from Paul McCartney, Giddy, that has its origins in “Rode All Night” from the Ram sessions. The latter song is one of the few cases where Daltrey’s vocals fall short of the original (McCartney didn’t get enough credit for his vocals, in my opinion). You could probably live a full and rewarding life without owning any of Roger Daltrey’s records, unless you’re a hardcore Who fan, in which case you’re likely to own at least one of these albums, with One of the Boys as good a choice as any.

Original elpee version

A1. Parade (Philip Goodhand-Tait) (3:43)
A2. Single Man’s Dilemma (Colin Blunstone) (3:03)
A3. Avenging Annie (Andy Pratt) (4:31)
A4. The Prisoner (David Courtney/S. Todd/Roger Daltrey) (3:32)
A5. Leon (Philip Goodhand-Tait) (4:44)
B1. One of the Boys (Steve Gibbons) (2:42)
B2. Giddy (Paul McCartney) (4:46)
B3. Written on the Wind (Paul Korda) (3:23)*
B4. Satin and Lace (David Courtney/Tony Meehan/Roger Daltrey) (4:04)
B5. Doing It All Again (David Courtney/Tony Meehan/Roger Daltrey) (2:28)

*Replaced with “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” in the US versions.

CD reissue bonus tracks (Repertoire)
11. Martyrs and Madmen
12. Treachery
13. Say It Ain’t So, Joe

CD reissue bonus tracks (Sanctuary/Hip-O)
11. Say It Ain’t So Joe (Murray Head) (4:18)
12. You Put Something Better Inside Me
13. Martyrs and Madmen (outake)
14. Treachery (outake)

Original 8-track version
A1. Parade
A2. Single Man’s Dilemma
A3. One of the Boys
B1. Leon
B2. Giddy
C1. Say It Ain’t So, Joe
C2. The Prisoner
C3. Avenging Annie (part 1)
D1. Avenging Annie (conclusion)
D2. Satin and Lace
D3. Doing It All Again

The Players

Roger Daltrey (vocals), Rod Argent (keyboards), Stuart Calver (backing vocals), John Entwistle (bass), Jimmy Jewell (saxophone), Phil Kenzie (saxophone), Paul Keogh (guitar), Jimmy McCulloch (guitar), Brian Odgers (bass), John Perry (backing vocals), Tony Rivers (backing vocals), Stuart Tosh (drums) with Eric Clapton, Andy Fairweather-Low, Alvin Lee (guitar on A3), Hank B. Marvin, Tony Meehan (arrangements), Mick Ronson. Produced by David Courtney and Tony Meehan; engineered by Phil McDonald.

The Pictures

Photography & design by Graham Hughes (with thanks to Magritte). Typography by Ian Murray. Retouching by Mike Mann Studio.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on May 13, 1977 in the UK (Polydor, 2442 146/3170-445), the US and Canada (MCA, MCA/MCAT-2271), New Zealand (Polydor, 2480 411) and Uruguay (Polydor, 2344 066) with lyrics innersleeve and promo insert for Roger Daltrey hologram pendant. Reached #45 on the UK charts and #46 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in the US (MCA/MCAC, 37031) [Platinum Plus reissue of MCA-2271].
  2. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc in 1998 in Europe (Repertoire, REP 4643) with 3 bonus tracks.
  3. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2005 in Europe (Sanctuary, CMRCD1139) and in 2006 in the US (Hip-O) with 4 bonus tracks.

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