Monday, March 23, 2009

Pete Townshend 5: Scoop

Taking an idea that had been approached with Who Came First, Pete put together a two-record set of some of his demos, some of which naturally ended up as Who songs. Scoop is a very satisfying collection, covering two decades of experimentation, without any order to the sequencing.
For starters, “So Sad About Us” shows the young artist at work, before merging into the instrumental “Brrr” from several years later. The familiar Who tracks—including “Magic Bus”, “Bargain” and “Circles”—show how much was already in place before the band did their part, but it’s the otherwise “new” tracks that really show his breadth as a writer. “Zelda” is different, while “Politician” has a great atmosphere. “Dirty Water” is a fun jam, and “Tipperary” is stupid. “Unused Piano: Quadrophenia” explores some themes from that album, making one wish there was more solo piano. “Melancholia” is described in the notes to not even been heard by the Who, which would be proved incorrect ten years later. “Things Have Changed” is a lost gem from the ‘60s, and “Popular” is the better basis for “It’s Hard”.
The second half of the album isn’t always as strong, but there are still some eye-openers. “Cookin’” is cute country, “You’re So Clever” was bested by “And I Moved” and “Body Language” was bested by the other poetic stuff on Chinese Eyes. “Mary” is a drastically edited Lifehouse refugee, followed by “Recorders” (an atmospheric demo for Quadrophenia) and “Goin’ Fishin’” to round out that particular sequence. “To Barney Kessel” is a pleasant chord chart, but there’s something too sad and haunting about “You Came Back”. “Love Reign O’er Me” wraps it all up, with as much power as the Who version.
Scoop goes a long way to show that Pete would be just fine on his own, particularly when, by year’s end, he announced that the band was finished. The quality of stuff he was putting out whet fans’ appetites for more music, as well as more peeks into his vaults.

Pete Townshend Scoop (1983)—4


  1. could you conceivably create a lifehouse album based on all his stuff that should have been on the lifehouse album? a little from here, a little from there. could it make sense?


  2. Five or so Pete posts from now, we'll be discussing that very concept. Stay tuned...

  3. This isn't a download site. It's a review site.