Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Roger Daltrey 3: One Of The Boys

Once again the Who were in a lull, having spent much of 1976 on tour. Pete Townshend was off recording with Ronnie Lane, while Keith Moon was trying to stay sober while still hoping to become a movie star. John Entwistle kept busy with shopping sprees to fill up his new mansion, but still found time to play some of the bass parts on Roger Daltrey’s third solo album.
One Of The Boys continued Roger’s interest in interpreting songs by writers other than Pete Townshend. Philip Goodhand-Tait got more publishing royalties sent his way, and his “Parade” and “Leon” bookend side one, both songs about the dark side of stardom. Colin Blunstone, once of the Zombies, offered up the countrified “Single Man’s Dilemma”, but a real surprise came in the excellent cover of Andy Pratt’s “Avenging Annie”, which had been a mild hit for its writer only a few years before. Roger himself helped write “The Prisoner”, which would be less symbolic a lyric in a few years when its source was revealed as the inspiration for a film and matching soundrack, which we’ll discuss eventually.
The rowdy title track came from Steve Gibbons, whose eponymous band was coincidentally in the Who’s management stable. One disappointment is “Giddy”, contributed by one Paul McCartney. This song had its genesis in a jam during the Ram sessions, but the arrangement was now split into two opposing tempos, putting a little drama into the “I don’t feel sick” hook but undercutting the “rode all night” part with disco, and going on far too long. However, Murray Head’s “Say It Ain’t So Joe” was another earlier hit redone well by Roger, though the wimpier “Satin And Lace” and “Doing It All Again”, both of which he wrote with his producers, more than suggested he was better off singing other people’s words.
Any unease the Who might have felt from Roger’s solo work would have been tempered by what he did without them, and One Of The Boys, while competent, was no sales threat. Given its art-rock approach, as produced by David Courtney and Shadows drummer Tony Meehan, it probably resembles a Who album more than Roger’s first two, and doesn’t reflect the punk scene then sweeping England in the slightest.
The eventual CD expansion had some of its work cut out for it, as “Say It Ain’t So Joe” had been replaced on the LP by “Written On The Wind” in some countries; both were now included. In addition, “You Put Something Better Inside Me” was a B-side from Gerry Rafferty and the other guy in Stealer’s Wheel, while “Martyrs And Madmen” and “Treachery” were later tracks stuck here anachronistically, and will be discussed in time as well.

Roger Daltrey One Of The Boys (1977)—3
2006 reissue: same as 1977, plus 4 extra tracks

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