[Review] The Who: A Quick One (1966)

The band’s second album is light on great material but heavy in everything else.

Kronomyth 2.0: Two by four.

The least essential of The Who’s early albums is still awfully good… and awfully loud. The arrangements are so striking and unusual they often overshadow the songs themselves. The Who push the drums past all levels of decency on the Keith Moon-penned “I Need You,” John Entwistle’s low bass and lower vocals rumble with sinister intent through “Boris the Spider,” and Pete Townshend crams six songs into the fascinating collision of “A Quick One, While He’s Away” (an early, abortive amalgam of storytelling and rock).

Unlike its American counterpart, titled Happy Jack to cash in on that single’s success, the UK release didn’t include a bonafide hit (“Boris the Spider” is the record’s most recognizable track). What it does include are tracks you seldom here anymore. “Run, Run, Run,” “So Sad About Us” and “Whiskey Man” are worth rediscovery for fans, but would fall outside any discussion of The Who’s most enduring work. A Quick One finds the band looking to push the boundaries of popular music while still confined by rock’s conventions (e.g., a warmed-over cover of “Heatwave”).

The remastered 1995 version is wonderfully annotated and spotlights the saturated noisiness of the original tracks, adding most of the Ready Steady Who EP released soon after. In addition to a swell cover of Jan and Dean’s “Bucket T,” the bonus tracks include forgotten gems like “Disguises” and “Doctor, Doctor.” For most listeners, hearing A Quick One will feel like opening up an old toy chest. Some items are ripe for reclamation, others we’ve outgrown, but there’s still fun to be had here.

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Original LP Version

A1. Run Run Run (Pete Townsend) (2:42)
A2. Boris The Spider (John Entwistle) (2:28)
A3. I Need You (Keith Moon) (2:24)
A4. Whiskey Man (John Entwistle) (2:57)
A5*. Heatwave (Edward Holland Jr./Lamont Dozier/Brian Holland) (1:54)
A6. Cobwebs And Strange (Keith Moon) (2:29)
B1. Don’t Look Away (Pete Townshend) (2:51)
B2. See My Way (Roger Daltrey) (1:52)
B3. So Sad About Us (Pete Townshend) (3:01)
B4. A Quick One, While He’s Away (9:10)

* On the US version (Happy Jack), “Heatwave” is replaced with “Happy Jack,” which appears after “Cobwebs And Strange” at the end of side one (A6).

CD reissue bonus tracks
11. Batman (Neal Hefti) (1:34)
12. Bucket T (Don Altfeld/Jan Berry/Roger Christian/Dean Torrance*) (2:07)
13. Barbara Ann (Freddy Fassert) (1:59)
14. Disguises (Pete Townshend) (3:10)
15. Doctor, Doctor (John Entwistle) (2:59)
16. I’ve Been Away (John Entwistle) (2:07)
17. In The City (Keith Moon/John Entwistle) (2:21)
18. Happy Jack (acoustic version) (Pete Townshend) (2:51)
19. Man With The Money (Don & Phil Everly) (2:45)
20. My Generation/Land of Hope And Glory (Pete Townshend/Edward Elgar) (2:03)

* On the expanded compact disc, “Bucket T” is erroneously credited to “Altfield/Christian/Torrence.”

The Players

Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass guitar & vocals, trumpet), Keith Moon (drums), Pete Townshend (guitar & vocals). Produced by Kit Lambert. 1995 reissue produced by Jon Astley and remixed by Jon Astley and Andy Macpherson.

The Pictures

Original vinyl sleeve design by Alan Aldridge. Design and art direction by Richard Evans.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on December 3, 1966 in the UK (Reaction, 593 002); reached #4 on the UK charts. Re-packaged as Happy Jack on mono and stereo elpee in May 1967 in the US (Decca, DL/DL7 4892); reached #51 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1970 in the UK (Track, 2407 008).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1972 in Germany (Polydor, 2383 147).
  3. Re-issued as Happy Jack on elpee in 1974 in the US (MCA, 2405).
  4. Re-packaged with The Who Sell Out on 2-for-1 2LP and cassette in December 1974 in the UK (Track, 2383 038), and in 1974 in the US (MCA, MCA2-4067) and Germany (Polydor, 2644 002).
  5. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Polydor, MPX-4018).
  6. Re-issued on audiophile elpee in Germany (Polydor, 835 728).
  7. Re-issued on compact disc in 1988 in the US (MCA, MCAD-31331).
  8. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc and cassette on June 20, 1995 in the UK and Germany (Polydor, 527 758) and the US (MCA, MCAD/MCAC-11267) with 10 bonus tracks.
  9. Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc in Japan (Polydor, UICY-2310).
  10. Re-issued on compact disc in 2001 in Russia (Some Wax, SW0612).
  11. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee on March 23, 2015 in the UK (Polydor, 3715608).
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