Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Viscaynes & Friends, Sly Stone’s earliest recorded music in stores 12/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Formed in Vallejo, California in the 1950’s, The Viscaynes were a high school doo-wop group who are said to be the first recorded singing group of Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone), and the launching point of his extensive career.

The group gained some early notoriety with a performance on Dick Stewart’s Dance Party, after which they were introduced to producer George Motola. Charting on KYA radio’s top 60 chart in 1961, “Yellow Moon” became a hit song for The Viscaynes, though they split up around the time of the song’s popularity. The Viscaynes & Friends is the first official full-length release from the group, coming to light only after a master tape reel was discovered more than half a century since the group disbanded. The release features seven tracks from Sly and The Viscaynes, along with one cut from the The Individuals and two from The Precisions, all of which were produced by Motola.

The Viscaynes & Friends will be widely available on black vinyl, CD, and digital formats beginning December 6, 2019. You can pre-order the album now from our online store. Our friends at Zia Record Exchange will carry an exclusive “Yellow Moon” color vinyl pressing, limited to just 200 copies. Both vinyl editions come in a gatefold jacket with extensive liner notes from author, historian, and radio host Rickey Vincent.

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TVD Radar: Mixtape Potluck by Questlove
in bookstores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Even with its many flashy co-authors, Mixtape Potluck never wavers from its earnest stated intent: to help readers plan the best possible dinner party. With friends like his, Quest is one to trust.” —Eater

Questlove’s new book, Mixtape Potluck (Abrams Image), was released today. In the book, Questlove imagines the ultimate potluck dinner party. He invites more than fifty chefs, entertainers, artists, thought leaders, and musicians and asks them to bring along their favorite recipe, see the full guest list below. He also pairs each guest with a song that he feels best captures their unique creative energy. The book starts with a charming foreword by fellow potluck aficionado Martha Stewart and finishes with Questlove’s tips on how to make the perfect dinner party playlist.

The result is not only an accessible, entertaining cookbook but also a collection of diverting musical commentaries. With Questlove’s inimitable style of hosting dinner parties and entertaining guests, Mixtape Potluck gives readers unexpected insights into the fascinating creative relationship between music and food.

The Guest List | Éric Ripert • Carla Hall • Tom Sachs • Fred Armisen • Martha Stewart • Dustin Yellin • Ardenia Brown • Padma Lakshmi • Greg Baxtrom • Ignacio Mattos • Camille Becerra • Nyesha Arrington • Kelly Fields • Maya Rudolph • Shep Gordon • Tariq Trotter • Alex Stupak • Lilly Singh • Zooey Deschanel • Marisa Tomei • Edouardo Jordan • Flynn McGarry • Jessica Koslow • Amy Poehler • Haile Thomas • Kimbal Musk • Natalie Portman • Jessica Seinfeld • Ashley Graham • Mark Ladner • Humberto Leon • Tanya Holland • Kwame Onwuachi • Yvonne Orji • Jimmy Fallon • Carol Lim • Kevin Tien • Athena Calderone • Andrew Zimmern • JJ Johnson • Mashama Bailey • Missy Robbins • Chris Fischer • Jessica Biel • Melody Ehsani • Dominique Ansel • Christina Tosi • Joey Baldino • Thelma Golden • Gabrielle Union • Kether Donohue • Dave Arnold • Matty Matheson • Stanley Tucci • Q-Tip • Jarobi White • Eric Wareheim • Janina Gavankar

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Graded on a Curve:
The Replacements,
The Shit Hits the Fans

Please allow me to begin this review with an anecdote, most likely apocryphal. Seems Minneapolis’ The Replacements went into a recording studio, and when they left the cleaning person, or whoever, found vomit–on the ceiling.

True or not, the story serves as a testimony to The Replacements’ reputation as a band of drunken don’t give a fucks–they were the band that got a big break in the form of an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live and literally sabotaged themselves by getting drunk beforehand and sending the word “fuck” out to an entire nation–live and on the air. SNL producer Lorne Michaels’ exact words afterwards were “Your band will never perform on television again!”

The Replacements were infamous for the falling down drunk live shows; put ‘em on stage, and there was a good chance they’d muck it up. Whether they did so on purpose is a good question, but they seemed to take a perverse pleasure in falling apart in public. Songs would disintegrate in real time, vocalist Paul Westerberg and guitarist Bob Stinson might get into a tussle, and on many a night the band said to hell with playing their originals in favor of playing a bunch of cover songs they’d never played before. Depending on your point of view, such shows were either a rip-off or one of the most liberating experiences of your life.

This is where 1985’s The Shit Hits the Fans comes in. The cassette-only live album captures the band at their hit-or-miss best at a show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and depending on who you talk to the cassette was a) seized from an illegal taper by the band’s sound guy or b) stolen by the band’s sound guy from the club’s manager, who’d asked for permission to record the show (Westerberg’s reply: “Why? We suck.”).

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TVD Radar: Child’s Play OST 2-LP vinyl edition in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The complete 1988 score by Joseph Renzetti remastered for vinyl from the original master tapes.

Waxwork Records is thrilled to announce the release of Child’s Play Original 1988 Motion Picture Music by Joseph Renzetti! Child’s Play is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tom Holland and starring Brad Dourif and Catherine Hicks. The film is based on the story by Don Mancini of a widowed mother that gifts her son, Andy Barclay, with a popular “Good Guy” doll for his birthday, unaware that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray.

The film immediately gained a cult following, and its success spawned a multi-media franchise that includes a series of six sequels and a remake of the original movie. It remains one of the paramount and classic horror movies from the 1980’s. The Chucky character has earned his rightful place alongside other slashers and horror icons such as Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees.

Child’s Play electronic / orchestral hybrid film score by Joseph Renzetti is a fan favorite that was released on the vinyl format only once prior in 1989 after the theatrical release of the movie. Ominous synth drones, pulsing electronic percussion, and nightmarish de-tuned harpsichords round out the terrifying score. The music of Child’s Play moves from hellish soundscapes to driving, chase-like rhythms in violent fashion.

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Caramel, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Queesh”

“Vinyl provides an entirely different listening experience to any digital audio medium; it captures the spirit of the original studio recording and adds that analog magic. Having something physical with large format artwork brings meaning as well as helping to simulate visual cues, lending a part to play in the wonder of vinyl.”

“I was brought up in the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England. Growing up with musicians around me, strangely, I never really took much of an interest in playing an instrument until I was 15 years old. I was first turned on to records by my Father, who would play a lot of ’70s and ’80s rock/prog on vinyl, but his biggest lust was The Beatles (he is actually a renowned historian of the group and has worked with Paul McCartney on a few occasions).

I have a love for synthesisers and this has inspired my taste in music equally as much as the influential music that my Father would play throughout my formative years. Recently, records such as Piero Umiliani’s Synthi Time, Air – Moon Safari, Broadcast – Work And Non Work and a lot of synth-based library music from KPM have strongly influenced the music I have produced. Anything by Piero Umiliani and Mort Garson is going to be right up my street. I prefer writing music with distant memories of these albums as it makes for a more organic and personal feel to the sounds I create.

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TVD Radar: Jewel, Joy: A Holiday Collection vinyl debut in stores 10/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is pleased to announce a vinyl reissue of Joy: A Holiday Collection from award-winning singer-songwriter Jewel. In stores October 18th, the best-selling title features beloved holiday classics as well as festive, original compositions. The album has been remastered by George Horn and Anne-Marie Suenram at Fantasy Studios and manufactured at Memphis Record Pressing. This reissue marks the very first vinyl availability of the title, which was originally released in 1999.

Joy: A Holiday Collection marked the first outing of yuletide music from Jewel, who had skyrocketed to fame following the release of her first two albums (1995’s Pieces of You and 1998’s Spirit). Jewel worked with producers Arif Mardin (Carly Simon, David Bowie, Diana Ross) and Joe Mardin (Queen Latifah, Bette Midler) to record 13 lushly arranged songs. Backed by a choir (which includes such esteemed singers as Vaneese Thomas, James “D-Train” Williams, and Janice Pendarvis), the singer’s distinctive vocals and versatile range shine as she performs holiday favorites like “Winter Wonderland,” “Joy to the World,” “Ave Maria,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Holy Night.” She also sings several original tracks, including “Face of Love,” “Gloria,” and a Christmas version of her 1998 hit single, “Hands.” Impressively, just one month after its November 1999 release date, the album was certified platinum, peaking at Number Two on the Billboard Holiday Albums chart and Number 32 on the Billboard Top 200.

Having sold over 30 million albums worldwide, Jewel has captivated a generation’s worth of audiences with her unique vocals, folk-pop melodies and introspective lyrics. The Homer, Alaska, native (born Jewel Kilcher) began performing at an early age and, by her late teenage years, was pursuing a career as a musician in San Diego. Despite a rough start, living out of her van as she struggled to make ends meet, Jewel built a loyal local following in coffee shops and clubs, and soon attracted the attention of several record labels. Her debut album, Pieces of You, was released in 1995 when the artist was just 21 and, thanks to hit singles “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “Foolish Games,” and “You Were Meant For Me,” went on to sell over 12 million copies—becoming one of the highest-selling debuts of all time.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Pretty Things,
Greatest Hits

Mention England’s The Pretty Things, and most people will immediately direct your attention to 1968’s S.F. Sorrow, one of Western Civilization’s first rock operas (it preceded The Who’s Tommy by six months). Me, I prefer the band’s earlier, hard-driving R&B songs like “Rosalyn,” “Midnight to Six Man,” and “L.S.D.”

The pre-S.F. Sorrow Pretty Things specialized in a frenetic raunch-n-roll that split the difference between the Rolling Stones and Them. Powered by Phil May’s feral vocals and May’s stab to the heart guitar, the band’s sound was gritty as a mouthful of gravel, and you can hear them (as well as the band’s later psychedelic material) on 2017’s double LP Greatest Hits. Its 25 songs track the band from its R&B and blues-based early years through 1970’s Parachute, and make clear that Pretty Things were key players in the history of English rock ’n’ roll.

The 1964-66 Pretty Things were every bit the bad boys the Stones and The Who were, and quickly won a reputation for sowing chaos wherever they went. May claimed to have the longest hair in the UK; drummer Viv Prince’s mad behavior anticipated those of Keith Moon (and finally got hims sacked from the band). The band’s penchant for mayhem culminated in a 1965 stint in New Zealand, where they provoked as much outrage (and bad publicity) as The Who would later.

The early Pretty Things are best remembered for the 1964 song “Rosalyn,” which David Bowie covered on his 1973 LP Pinups. Bowie’s version reproduces the song’s primitive Bo Diddley beat, but Bowie’s vocals are positively enervated next to May’s Dionysian alley cat yowl. Ditto Pretty Thing’s 1964 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Their version is furious, harmonica-fueled thing, and May goes at it in a full-throttle snarl. Bowie reproduces the song’s anarchic energy, but his singing’s prim, thin, mannered. It’s a case of savage vs. fop, and the savage wins hands down.

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TVD Video Premiere: ZAALWE, “Lakeside”

Zane Allen West, aka ZAALWE, has been a fixture in many different notable bands, collaborating with artists ranging from R&B to progressive metal (Tiny Gun, Joanna Teters, Citris, Jak Lizard, Mid Atlantic Title, to name a few). Now he is releasing his first solo project, a long overdue venture into his fully-formed artistic identity, ZAALWE.

The multi-instrumentalist has an innate knack for lush arrangements, crafting dreamy bedroom pop that is chock-full of substantial, heartfelt songwriting. Concerning the pastoral music video, ZAALWE notes, “The ‘Lakeside’ visual was captured in rural Alabama. I felt the property that my partner and I briefly stayed on was a Garden of Eden type paradise. We all have to leave what we perceive to be paradise sometime, be it a relationship that is comfortable but may not fulfill you. Leaving the comfort of your family home to create your own life.

Quitting a job you’re unhappy at that may afford you more than enough but isn’t close to what you want to be doing with your life. These types of life events that require this leap of faith that we all go through, which the dive is symbolic of. It’s about the feeling of responding to that call to grow that you can’t refuse—honoring the inevitable growing pains.”

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Graded on a Curve: Laurie Anderson,
Tenzin Choegyal,
Jesse Paris Smith,
Songs from the Bardo

Eastern spirituality has inspired a lot of music, with only a small percentage aptly assessed as substantial. An even tinier amount rises to the level of artistry found on Songs from the Bardo, the new release from NYC avant-garde cornerstone Laurie Anderson, multi-instrumentalist, composer and musical director Tenzin Choegyal, and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and climate activist Jesse Paris Smith. Described as a collaborative composition featuring Anderson’s readings from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the results are contemplative and exploratory without ever meandering into facile formlessness. A major work, it’s out now on 2LP, CD, and digital from Smithsonian Folkways.

It might read as if I’m being unnecessarily hard on music that’s infused with Eastern spiritual-philosophical qualities. Twenty years ago, that would’ve been true, and I’d probably have expressed matters much more harshly (and with less maturity), but in the ever-loving now I’m merely riffing on Sturgeon’s Law (and that’s not to suggest Ted’s maxim is the gospel truth).

I’ll add here that the term Eastern spirituality is a rather severe generalization, so let me highlight the specific; Songs from the Bardo is described by the label as a “guided journey through the visionary text of the Tibetan Book of the Dead,” the enduring masterwork of Nyingma Buddhism, with the intention to open up the philosophy’s traditions to current and future generations as both pure listening and a store of insightfulness.

Accompanying downloads are certainly useful, but for those buyers with working turntables, they are generally inessential. In the case of Songs from the Bardo, which does offer the card with the code, this observation is somewhat arguable, as listening to the music in one uninterrupted stream, having done so now numerous times, feels optimal.

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TVD Radar: Jay & Silent Bob Reboot OST “weed green” vinyl edition in stores 11/129

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Entertainment One (“eOne”) is excited to announce the CD & digital release of Jay & Silent Bob Reboot – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, on November 1, 2019 at physical and digital retailers everywhere. The 26-track soundtrack features 13 dialog clips as well as 13 musical tracks, including Moby Rich, Nappy Roots, REO Speedwagon, P.M. Dawn, the tenth, Mary Born and more. Director Kevin Smith executive produces, while Amine Ramer serves as music supervisor and producer of the collection.

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot is an all-new, 2019 American comedy film written, directed, edited, and starring Kevin Smith. Referring to his 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith has described the film as “literally the same fucking movie all over again.” It is intended to be the seventh film in the View Askewniverse. The film also stars Jason Mewes, and features Smith regulars, including Jason Lee, Brian O’Halloran, plus other classic cameos. The film will be shown on over 600 screens as a two-night Fathom event on October 15 and October 17. Co-stars Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes then commence a special 60+ city tour on Oct. 19th, personally attending 80+ screenings through February 2020.

Kevin Smith says, “I grew up listening to movie soundtracks. We had no home video or internet back then, so a soundtrack was the only way to keep the experience going after the movie ended. A soundtrack is still an amazing way to relive a movie, and eOne let me put together a selection of songs that summon up not only Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, but a few of my other flicks as well! Many thanks to my partners at eOne for keeping the magic of movie soundtracks alive in our Reboot record!”

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Graded on a Curve:
Tomeka Reid Quartet,
Old New

When the conversation turns to jazz, the integration of tradition and innovation is a reliable topic of discussion. Hey, it’s right there in the two adjectives that make up the title of the sophomore effort from the Tomeka Reid Quartet. Featuring the leader’s cello on nine selections alongside guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, Old New is a superb blend of historical heft, contemporary verve, and unified personal expression. Rather than a tactic faltering into a trope, a high level of quality is sustained, partly because the combination of then and now isn’t belabored or overly codified. Instead, it just sounds natural. The CD and digital are out now on Cuneiform Records.

Make no mistake, in addition to the roles of bandleader, composer and arranger, Tomeka Reid is a player of distinction, and only partially due to her chosen instrument, the cello, persisting as somewhat unusual in the jazz scheme of things. It should come as no surprise that prior to her move into jazz, Reid was focused on classical music, a realm where the cello is much more common.

In the promo notes for this release, Reid mentions that one of her early gateways into jazz was a book of basslines by Rufus Reid (no relation), and one would be hard-pressed to come up with a deeper example of jazz’s core principles than that. She then moved from Washington, DC to Chicago, which stands as one of the enduring hotbeds for the music’s intermingling of tradition and stylistic growth.

There, she met flautist-composer Nicole Mitchell and other members of the AACM (Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians) as she began playing at the Velvet Lounge, a venue then owned and operated by the late and very great tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Reid’s contribution to the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s excellent We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration, released earlier this year, could perhaps be taken as a culmination of her Windy City activities, but really, her work is just as notable for its fluid, evolving trajectory right up to Old New.

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TVD Radar: The Joy Formidable, A Balloon Called Moaning 2-LP 10th anniversary edition in stores 10/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Joy Formidable have announced the release of a special commemorative 10-year double album edition of their acclaimed debut release A Balloon Called Moaning.

The double album, due October 25 via Hassle Records, will include their 2009 EP “A Balloon Called Moaning” plus a newly recorded acoustic Welsh language version, “Y Falŵn Drom.” A Balloon Called Moaning (10th Anniversary Edition) will be available on double CD and double coloured vinyl, limited to 1000 copies and can be pre-ordered HERE. In celebration of A Balloon Called Moaning / Y Falŵn Drom, The Joy Formidable are pleased to announce a North American tour this winter, “The Ten Years Floating Tour” as well as the recently-announced co-headline acoustic shows with Devotchka. All upcoming shows are listed below and tickets are available HERE.

Written and recorded in a bedroom over a decade ago by lead singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan, and bass player and vocalist Rhydian Davies in North Wales, A Balloon Called Moaning was an instant hit. Rated 8/10 by NME, it was the first of the band’s releases to feature their now iconic single”Whirring”—a track that was named amongst Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of The Year and described as “the song of the year” by Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.

In the passing decade, as the world tours, festival main stages and stadium shows have racked up, it has always been especially important to the band that they continue to recognise and highlight the importance of their Welsh heritage. In this new anniversary edition, each song from the original release is re-worked acoustically and presented again in the Welsh language.

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TVD Radar: 2Pac,
Thug Life: Volume 1,
25th anniversary vinyl reissue in stores 11/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Interscope Records announces the release of a 25th anniversary vinyl reissue of Thug Life: Volume 1—the only studio album from Thug Life, the group founded by rap legend and cultural icon Tupac Shakur. In addition to the vinyl reissue, the anniversary celebration includes the release of all-new Thug Life merchandise, including t-shirts, a hoodie, jacket, overalls and beanie. Album t-shirt and hoodie will also be available as a purchase bundle with vinyl.

Initially released on September 26, 1994, Thug Life: Volume 1 received gold certification from the RIAA. Among the album’s notable tracks are “How Long Will They Mourn Me?” ft. Nate Dogg, a reflective but powerful piece featured on 2Pac’s diamond-selling double-album Greatest Hits. In addition, the largely-self-produced Thug Life: Volume 1 includes tracks like “Pour Out a Little Liquor” (which also appears on the soundtrack to Tupac’s 1994 film Above the Rim), “Cradle to the Grave,” and “Str8 Ballin’.”

Prior to forming Thug Life in 1993, Tupac had established himself as a formidable new force in the hip-hop world with his 1991 debut album 2Pacalypse Now and 1993’s platinum-certified Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. With its unapologetically honest and deeply personal look at street life, Thug Life: Volume 1 is widely considered a crucial midpoint between Tupac’s early work and his history-making, diamond-selling, massively influential 1996 album All Eyez on Me.

ABOUT TUPAC SHAKUR | Though his recording career lasted just five years, Tupac Shakur is one of the most popular artists in music history, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Over half of his eleven studio albums have sold in excess of three million copies each, and two of his releases—1996’s All Eyez On Me and his Greatest Hits collection—have received diamond certification, with sales of over 10 million copies each.

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Lady Lazarus,
The TVD First Date

“I think the best way for me to articulate my love and appreciation of vinyl is in moments. Because vinyl is so tangible, analog, “in the room,” it dictates in its essential form how and where you listen to it.”

“It’s not easily portable—unless you’re a DJ and that’s your thing. It’s physical, a “slow” form of music consumption, and best for home listening. And unless you have a fancy, multi-vinyl-flipping record player (which I don’t), you’re forced to actually sit down and listen to a whole side of a record before turning it over or changing albums. The whole mechanics of playing vinyl naturally lends itself to listening to records in their entirety. Vinyl both forces and creates intimacy. And the most memorable moments in my life I’ve experienced listening to vinyl reflect this push to human closeness.

Growing up, my parents had a big old, wooden record console and we’d play Thriller, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, and many other records they had in their small but solid catalog. Me and my little brothers were even entrusted to use the thing ourselves, and we’d put the records on, and dance and play around in the living room for hours. Looking back, I don’t think there was a time beyond that in our family where we were as close, and vinyl happened to be one of the things that united us then.

When my ex-boyfriend and I started dating and later moved in together, he didn’t have a record collection, but we immediately spent a lot of time playing the records I had, smoking, and drinking wine. It slowed us down. Made us sit and just be, and it was beautiful. Over time, we inherited a box of some incredible records from our friend and neighbor—All Things Must Pass, The Concert for Bangladesh, Van Morrison’s Beautiful Vision, and others—records that would come to have a great influence on me.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Who,
Live at Leeds

Many have called the Who’s 1970 Live at Leeds the best live album of all time. Me, I’ve always scoffed. It made no difference that I’d never actually sat down and listened to it. A good rock critic doesn’t have to actually listen to an LP before passing judgment on it. He simply knows, based on gut instinct and certain arcane and occult clues, whether an album is a dud or not. In the case of Live at Leeds, there are three clues to the album being rated far greater than deserved.

The first is the LP’s inclusion of “Summertime Blues,” a song that has always given me hives and put me off my dinner of Hormel’s Chili on hot dogs, which is the impoverished rock critic’s version of pan-fried foie gras with spiced citrus purée. The second is that Live at Leeds suffers—if only in one notable case—from that early seventies affliction, song bloat. You know what I’m talking about: live albums where the bands stretch their songs to extraordinary lengths, in some cases obscene two-sided lengths, forcing the stoned listener to stand up, stagger to the stereo in a Tuinal haze, and turn the damned record over to hear the second side. Finally, there was the issue of song selection: six tunes, three of them covers, with none of the covers being particular favorites of mine. And I’ve never been a big fan of one of the originals, “Magic Bus,” either.

Which has always left me to wonder, “What’s in it for me?” And I’m not alone; in particular, Live at Leeds failed to impress those twin pillars of rock criticism, the generally unintelligible Greil Marcus, who called the music dated and uneventful and the ever-crotchety Robert Christgau, who singled out “Magic Bus” for special abuse, calling it “uncool-at-any-length.”

Besides, I’ve always been more than satisfied with the three Who LPs I consider indispensible, namely Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia. As for the rest of the Who’s catalogue—including Tommy—I had no use for it. But having finally listened to the Live at Leeds, I’m flabbergasted; it may not be, as critic Nik Cohn called it, “the definitive hard-rock holocaust,” but it does rock balls, probably because the Who was the best live band in the world at the time.

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