The Who BBC Sessions

Like the previous sets from the Fabs, Led Zep and Hendrix, BBC Sessions scours the Beeb's vaults for previously unreleased radio and TV sessions. The majority of the tracks fall into the 1965 to '67 era when the band was in their prime singles phase. So naturally we get classics like "My Generation," "Substitute," "Happy Jack" and "Pictures Of Lily," along with relative rarities like "The Good's Gone," "Disguises" and "See My Way." "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," from '65, has a positively brutal feedback-drenched bridge. No doubt the only reason that it wasn't discarded by the notoriously stuffy BBC engineers was the no-retakes/no-overdubs policy that they had with pop bands at the time. That policy lends all the tracks a raw, live feel. Along with the Who material, there are several interesting covers. "Good Lovin'," recorded a year before the Young Rascals version, is gobs of fun, and "Leaving Here" sounds closer to Motörhead than the Motown Sound Of Young America, where it really originated. Another Motown cover, Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing In The Street," is a bit awkward. The early '70s tracks show the band at the height of their hard rock period, tackling songs like "The Seeker," "I'm Free" and "Long Live Rock." It's easy to see that the band wasn't always a bunch of boring, bitter old farts. Back when they were self-described gits-with-big-noses-and-small-genitals, they were also a textbook example of how pop and rock could mix and flourish and even sell records without one leg of that triangle negating the other two. Not to mention that it had a good beat and you could dance to it. (MCA)