[Review] The Who: Odds & Sods (1974)

An uneven collection of unreleased songs, including material from the aborted Lifehouse and Long Live Rock concept albums.

Kronomyth 9.0: The bits are alright.

This is where I’d fill you in on all sorts of fascinating arcana, like “Little Billy” was written for an anti-smoking campaign (“Sell outs,” puffed the troll), except that I don’t go in for that sort of thing. Takes too much work, and it’s not where my interests lie. Without the historical background, which I’ll concede for many is half the fun, Odds & Sods is simply a collection of songs that slipped through the cracks. Some come from the failed Lifehouse project, others date from their earliest days, running the gamut as it were.

It’s a tricky thing to make a meal from, but appetizing slices abound: “Long Live Rock,” “Pure And Easy,” “Little Billy,” “Faith In Something Bigger.” If you’re looking for a beginning and an end, The High Numbers’ “I’m The Face” is the earliest cut, “Long Live Rock” the most mature. In between are songs that might have found a home on The Who Sell Out, Tommy and Who’s Next. With so many interesting morsels to pick from, it’s unusual that John Entwistle’s “Postcard” got the stamp of approval to become the single. It’s a good track, playful in instrumentation and execution, but “Long Live Rock” seemed like the obvious anthem to everyone. (“I’m The Face” was already a single, by the way, and clearly boded well for the band’s future, whoever they’d become.)

Over the years, I’ve listened to this often enough to make me marvel at how well the tape’s held up; I play it less often than most of their albums, though more often than Who’s Last and A Quick One. Even if you’re not a Who collector, a life lived without hearing “Naked Eye” and the rest of these rockers is no life for me. As MCA scrambled to tell more of The Who’s original story on remastered product, pieces of Odds & Sods were slipped into the mix, though it didn’t preclude them from releasing an expanded, remastered edition of Odds & Sods as well. If you enjoyed Coda or The Kids Are Alright, odds are you’ll like Sods too.

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Original LP Version

A1. Postcard (John Entwistle) (3:27)
A2. Now I’m A Farmer (3:59)
A3. Put The Money Down (4:14)
A4. Little Billy (2:15)
A5. Too Much of Anything (4:26)
A6. Glow Girl (2:20)
B1. Pure And Easy (5:23)
B2. Faith In Something Bigger (3:03)
B3. I’m The Face (Peter Meaden) (2:32)
B4. Naked Eye (5:10)
B5. Long Live Rock (3:54)

All songs written by Pete Townshend unless noted.

Expanded CD reissue track listing
1. I’m The Face
2. Leaving Here
3. Baby Don’t Do It
4. Summertime Blues
5. Under My Thumb
6. Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand
7. My Way
8. Faith In Something Bigger
9. Glow Girl
10. Little Billy
11. Young Man Blues (studio version)
12. Cousin Kevin Model Child
13. Love Ain’t For Keeping
14. Time Is Passing
15. Pure And Easy
16. Too Much of Anything
17. Long Live Rock
18. Put The Money Down
19. We Close Tonight
20. Postcard
21. Now I’m A Farmer
22. Water
23. Naked Eye

The Players

Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend. Produced by The Who except A2/B4 by Pete Townshend, A4/A6/B2 by Kit Lambert and B3 by Chris Parmeinter and Peter Meaden; associate producer on A3/A5/B5: Glyn Johns; remix engineered by JJ; final remixing and production by John Entwistle.

The Pictures

Sleeve concept by Roger Daltrey. Design and photography by Graham Hughes.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on October 4, 1974 in the UK, Australia and Germany (Track, 2406/3191 116), the US (MCA/Track, MCA/MCAC/MCAT-2126) and the Netherlands (Track, 2410 202) with diecut cover, poster and lyrics innersleeve; reached #10 on the UK charts and #15 on the US charts.

  1. Re-packaged with Who’s Next on 2-for-1 cassette in 1980 in the US (MCA, MCAC2-6939).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1981 in the US (MCA, MCA-37101).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in the US (MCA, MCAD/MCAC-1659).
  4. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc on March 10, 1998 in the US (MCA, 11718) and in 1998 in Europe (Universal, 539791) with 12 bonus tracks.
  5. Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2000 in Japan (Polygram, POCP-9202).
  6. Re-packaged with Face Dances on 2-for-1 compact disc in 2002 in Russia (Azia, 84302).
  7. Re-released on expanded, remastered super high material compact disc on December 21, 2011 in Japan (Track/Universal, UICY-94775) with 12 bonus tracks.
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