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The Who - John Entwistle Albums:

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Smash Your Head Against The Wall - UK - 1971 Polydor LP (Autographed by JAE) (R)

Has the alternate vocal/different mix of "What Are We Doing Here?"

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - UK - 2005 Castle Music CD

Includes extensive bonus tracks (see below)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - USA - 1971 Decca LP

Reissued on MCA using the same LP covers with an MCA sticker

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - USA - 1971 Decca Cassette

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - USA - 1971 Decca 8-Track

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - USA - 1997 Sundazed CD

Uses the mix of the original UK/Euro LPs, except for "What Are We Doing Here?"

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - USA - 2005 Sanctuary CD

Includes extensive bonus tracks (see below)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Australia - 1971 Polydor LP (front cover)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Australia - 1971 Polydor LP (back cover)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Canada - 1971 Decca LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Colombia - 1971 Polydor LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - France - 1971 Polydor LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Germany - 1971 Polydor LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Germany - 1997 Repertoire CD

Uses the same mix as the original USA LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Italy - 2007 Earmark LP

180 Gram vinyl

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 1971 Polydor LP

With OBI

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 1971 Polydor LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 1971 Polydor LP (Promo)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

Includes extensive bonus tracks (see below)

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

Pictured with original LP Obi - Obi comes with Keith Moon "Two Sides Of The Moon" <promo> box set. See Keith Moon Albums section

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Japan - 2008 Strange Days CD

SHMCD

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - New Zealand - 1971 Polydor LP

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - South Africa - 1971 Polydor LP

Laminated cover - same mixes as USA version

Smash Your Head Against The Wall - Spain - 1971 Polydor LP

Whistle Rymes - UK - 1972 Polydor LP

Whistle Rymes - UK - 2005 Castle Music CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Whistle Rymes - USA - 1972 Decca LP

Silver LP label. Same cover as Canadian Decca LP, except the latter has blue LP label

Whistle Rymes - USA - 1972 Decca Cassette

Whistle Rymes - USA - 1972 Decca 8-Track

Whistle Rymes - USA - 1972 Decca Reel-To-Reel

Whistle Rymes - USA - 1997 Sundazed CD

Whistle Rymes - USA - 2005 Sanctuary CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Whistle Rymes - Australia - 1972 Polydor LP

Whistle Rymes - Germany - 1972 Track LP

Whistle Rymes - Germany - 1997 Repertoire CD

Whistle Rymes - Italy - 1972 Polydor LP

Whistle Rymes - Japan - 1972 CBS/Sony LP

Sealed copy

Whistle Rymes - Japan - 1972 CBS/Sony LP (Promo)

Whistle Rymes - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Whistle Rymes - Japan - 2008 Strange Days CD

SHMCD

Whistle Rymes - New Zealand - 1972 Polydor LP

Whistle Rymes - Spain - 1972 Polydor LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - UK - 1973 Polydor LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - UK - 2005 Castle Music CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Rigor Mortis Sets In - USA - 1973 MCA LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - USA - 1973 MCA Cassette

Rigor Mortis Sets In - USA - 1973 MCA 8-Track

Rigor Mortis Sets In - USA - 2005 Sanctuary CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Canada - 1973 MCA LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - France - 1973 Polydor LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Germany - 1973 Polydor LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Germany - 1997 Repertoire CD

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Italy - 1973 RCA LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Japan - 1973 CBS/Sony LP

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

Includes bonus tracks (see below)

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Japan - 2008 Strange Days CD

SHMCD

Rigor Mortis Sets In - Spain - 1973 Polydor LP

Lyrics printed on back cover

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SMASH YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL

Album: Smash Your Head Against The Wall

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), USA (Decca), USA (MCA), Polydor (Germany), Polydor (Australia)

CDs Sampled: Castle Music (UK - 2005), Repertoire (Germany), Sundazed (USA), Sanctuary (USA - 2005), Strange Days (Japan)

LP Comments: The Polydor (German and UK) LPs have a heavier and grittier feel vs. the Decca (USA). The European LPs are also mixed differently - For example, the USA version's "My Size" has cool, wandering guitar parts and a slightly longer intro. "What Are We Doing Here?" on the European versions has a different vocal and a more acoustic sound. There are also some less noticeable remixing parts of the album.

This album is a "tough call" since its sort of a "mix and match" situation. I like the grittier sound of the European versions - but also like some of the mix variations on the USA version. I give a slight vinyl quality edge to the Polydor (Germany). However, the Polydor (UK) LP is better than the German LP sonically (the German version sounds slightly duller in comparison). The Decca (USA) <sonically> sounds fine too, with the various differences noted above. The Australia copy sounds inferior to any of the other pressings I've heard - but has a nice, laminated cover.

Note: I have about 5 copies of the UK LP, all of which have the "acoustic", "What Are We Doing Here?" I have been told that there are some UK copies which have the USA version.

CD comments: For the initial CD release, John did something peculiar. He released the original USA LP version in Europe and the original European LP version in the USA (with the exception of "What Are We Doing Here?" (see below). The 2005 (UK - Castle & USA Sanctuary) versions are based on the original USA mix. The Castle (UK), Sanctuary (USA) and Repertoire (Germany) versions sound equally excellent (both 2005 UK Castle and 2005 USA Sanctuary are virtually identical). The Strange Days (Japan) CD is based on the 2005 UK & USA CDs, but the sound quality is slightly weaker. It really should boil down to which mix you prefer, and bonus tracks - which are extensive on the 2005/2006 releases.

Note: The sound quality varies a bit on the 2005 CD's bonus tracks. This is probably due to varying tape sources. Nothing bad, but just worth noting.

The CD releases also includes the previously unreleased "Cinnamon Girl". I had initially suggested to John to add this as a bonus track for the album's CD release and his response was, "I don't like bonus tracks. I only write enough songs for an album. If you like the song, get it on a bootleg." Fortunately, I asked enough people in his "inner circle" to bug him about it and thankfully he gave in. It's a great cover version.

Summary: The CD versions are great and sound just as good or better than the original LP releases. I personally prefer the 2005 versions since I like the newer mixes better and the extensive bonus tracks. However, I also prefer the original version of "What Are We Doing Here?" which unfortunately, is only available on several European, <possibly> Japanese LPs as well as the USA Sundazed CD (as a bonus track).

Other Comments: After this album was initially released in Europe, John Entwistle became dissatisfied with parts of it and made changes for the USA version. Most notably is a different version of "What Are We Doing Here?" The European LP version features a completely different, rougher vocal track as well as a different mix, which has the vocal track lower in the mix and the guitar higher in the mix than the USA version. John told me he " ... hates the original version and will never re-release it". (Except he did as a bonus track on the original USA Sundazed label CD).

CD versions use an edited mix of the original USA LP mix on "What Are We Doing Here?" Most notably, the "high vocal" ending is missing. The bonus track version on the USA Sundazed CD, includes it.

At some point there were many "unsold" copies of the USA Decca LP and were put back in the bins with an MCA sticker and catalog #, but were actually original Decca pressings. These versions have a plain white inner sleeve vs. the original one (which had the artwork and lyrics).

About: Smash Your Head Against The Wall
 
John Entwistle's first solo album.
 
As some of you are aware, there are several different versions of this album (i.e. UK/Euro mix, USA mix, etc.).
 
When I first met John in January, 1996, I asked him about his plans to release his albums on CD. I wanted to know what his intentions were for "What Are We Doing Here?" and "Cinnamon Girl".
 
With the former I was concerned which version and I quickly got the answer as I asked John about the original UK mix:
 
"I HATE that version! I will never release that!"
 
Really John? I think it's great!
 
"I hate it!"
 
hMMM... didnít get very far with that one. John had said that about several different songs over the time I knew him and then he'd end up playing or doing something with them. Sense of humor? Bad mood? Who knows...
 
As for "Cinnamon Girl", the answer I got to that was:
 
"I only write enough songs for an album."
 
(hMMM... what does THAT mean...)
 
I questioned him further (knowing that it was intended for the album, until he had the brain stroke of genius and wrote "My Size" to replace it...
 
John, your fans want to hear it on your official album!
 
"They can get it on a bootleg. I'm not releasing it!"
 
I didn't like that answer. At the time I was close with a lot of folks surrounding John and I asked them one by one to mention it and "bug" him about it. He finally "gave in" and it ended up as a bonus track. (Great cover of the
Neil Young song.)
 
My favorite tracks on the album are:
 
My Size, What Are We Doing Here?, Heaven And Hell

Track Listing:

LP: My Size, Pick Me Up (Big Chicken), What Are We Doing Here?, What Kind Of People Are They?, Heaven And Hell, Ted End, You're Mine, No. 29 (External Youth), I Believe In Everything

CD (Repertoire): My Size, Pick Me Up (Big Chicken), What Are We Doing Here?, What Kind Of People Are They?, Heaven And Hell, Ted End, You're Mine, No. 29 (External Youth), I Believe In Everything, Cinnamon Girl

CD (Sundazed): My Size, Pick Me Up (Big Chicken), What Are We Doing Here?, What Kind Of People Are They?, Heaven And Hell, Ted End, You're Mine, No. 29 (External Youth), I Believe In Everything, Cinnamon Girl, What Are We Doing Here? (Original UK mix)

CD (Castle Music (UK), Sanctuary (USA), Strange Days (Japan)): My Size, Pick Me Up (Big Chicken), What Are We Doing Here?, What Kind Of People Are They?, Heaven And Hell, Ted End, You're Mine, No. 29 (External Youth), I Believe In Everything, Cinnamon Girl, It's Hard To Write A Love Song (demo - no relationship to the song on "Mad Dog"), The Haunted Can Be Free (demo), World Behind My Face (demo), My Size (early take), What Kind Of People Are They (demo), Pick Me Up (Big Chicken) (demo), No. 29 (demo), Ted End (demo)

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WHISTLE RYMES

Album: Whistle Rymes

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), Decca (USA), Polydor (Germany), CBS/Sony (Japan), Polydor (Spain)

CDs Sampled: Repertoire (Germany), Sundazed (USA), Castle Music (UK - 2005), Sanctuary (USA - 2005), Strange Days (Japan)

LP Comments: The Polydor (UK) & CBS/Sony (Japan) has better vinyl quality, but the Decca (USA) has a better overall frequency response, especially in the highs.

CD Comments: The Sundazed (USA) has a slight edge over the Repertoire (Germany). However, the Castle Music (UK), Sanctuary (USA) and Strange Days (Japan) (note: the latter 3 CDs sound virtually identical) capture the bottom end of the original LP, but unfortunately goes very overboard with the loudness and treble as well. While there's no distortion, the treble has to be turned way down to make this CD sound properly.

Summary: The best overall sound for this album comes from the Decca (USA) LP. While the sound is very clean on Sundazed (USA) and Repertoire (Germany)  CD versions, they are completely missing the familiar, heavy "bottom end" that is very present on the LP versions. What's particularly interesting about that is, two different people mastered the 2 CD versions - Bob Pridden for the Repertoire (Germany) version and Bob Irwin for the Sundazed (USA) version. However, neither of them captures the original feel of the LP, which makes this CD release a bit disappointing. The Castle Music (UK)/Sanctuary (USA)/Strange Days (Japan) CDs would sound great, had there not been too much treble and unnecessary compression.

Other Comments: Just for the fun of it, I dubbed an unplayed, Decca LP copy directly to CD. The results were great. I'm not quite sure why the feel of this album was changed so drastically when they mastered it to CD ...

The latter two bonus tracks on the Castle Music (UK), Sanctuary (USA) & Strange Days (Japan) seem to be a bit out of place. Back On The Road (demo) and Countryside Boogie (demo) [also known as "Wild Horses"] seem to be later recordings, apparently intended (and recorded for) "Too Late The Hero". "Back On The Road" was later re-recorded again for submission to "Face Dances" and "Countryside Boogie" was submitted for "It's Hard". "Back On The Road" was finally re-recorded once again, and included as a track on the "Van Pires" album.

About: Whistle Rymes

A lot of irony here both on and off of the album...

I believe John has been quoted as saying this was his favorite of all his solo albums.

Meanwhile, way back in 1995, when I was discussing potential set lists for the JAE Band with John's manager...

"We're considering going out there and doing Pinball Wizard, My Generation, Long Live Rock, Won't Get Fooled Again and..."

To which I responded:

"Oh, you want to be a Who/Pete Townshend cover band!"

In 1987...John had joined forces and began touring with
Rat Race Choir. They essentially they adopted a Who set list. Why? It was the songs they knew and everything came together so fast. As fans shouted John's solo song titles from the audience, they got "Shakin' All Over" instead. At the time - nobody in the audience understood. They came to these shows as John's fans to hear John's songs.

As I expressed this to his "manager" he seemed a bit perplexed. He wasn't that familiar with John's solo stuff, and what he had heard he referred to as "Joke Rock". He didn't consider it real rock.

I had to convince him otherwise and volunteered to create an audio tape set list (most of which was adopted).

The relevance of the above isn't about "oh look what I did" - but rather the overall lack if appreciation for most of John's music. If his own "manager" didn't get it - who would???

When you talk to Who fans about what they listen to or what they own in terms of albums and CDs - so many fans don't even have John's music.

A shame - because it's great stuff...

"Whistle Rymes" is a dark album - full if irony, bad luck, contemplation and John's odd and unique sense if humor. It works really well.

After the opener "Ten Little Friends" (a nice Rock song), the album starts to move darker with "Apron Strings" (which features some really nifty Peter Frampton guitar work). "I Feel Better" - about a poor Schmuck who has to stick pins in pictures of people to "feel better", "Thinkin' It Over" (out on the ledge and ready to jump), "Who Cares" (the title sort of explains it), "I Wonder" (contemplation of life and fantasizing over the "what if"), "I Was Just Being Friendly" (again, the poor schmuck who offers money to a woman who he thinks is a prostitute.) "The Window Shopper" (peeping Tom??), "I Found Out" (Another hapless soul who finds out whatever he was lead to believe just wasn't true) and of course this culminates with "Nightmare" (was it all just a bad dream???)

Brilliant lyrics, song writing, performances. A great album...

However..

For whatever reason, nobody involved with the CD versions if this album have ever been able to capture the original, unique LP sound.

Unlike John's Who treble bass sound, this album (on LP) had a deep bass sound to it (more like Paul McCartney style) that is absent from all of the CD versions. This really throws off the sound of the album.

I suspect that whoever mastered these various CDs was thinking "John Who" vs. "John Whistle Rymes Bass Sound". Perhaps one day that will be corrected.

Long ago I made a CDr from the USA LP (which I found to be the best sounding of the ones I played). I preferred playing that since it had the right sound to it.

Perhaps John's catalog will get a revisit in the near future with some of the demos and "lost tracks" that didn't make the previous rounds...

Track Listing:

LPs & CDs: Ten Little Friends, Apron Strings, I Feel Better, Thinkin' It Over, Who Cares?, I Wonder, I Was Just Being Friendly, The Window Shopper, I Found Out, Nightmare (Please Wake Me Up)

CD (Castle Music (UK), Sanctuary (USA), Strange Days (Japan)): Ten Little Friends, Apron Strings, I Feel Better, Thinkin' It Over, Who Cares?, I Wonder, I Was Just Being Friendly, The Window Shopper, I Found Out, Nightmare (Please Wake Me Up), I Wonder (demo), All Dressed Up (demo), Back On The Road (demo), Countryside Boogie (demo)

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RIGOR MORTIS SETS IN

Album: Rigor Mortis Sets In

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), MCA (USA)

CDs Sampled: Castle Music (UK), Repertoire (Germany), Sanctuary (USA), Strange Days (Japan)

LP Comments: The Polydor (UK) has better vinyl and sound quality than the MCA (USA).

CD Comments: The Repertoire (Germany) has excellent sound quality. The Castle (UK) & Strange Days (Japan) sound "clean", but the mastering misses the low end and never reaches the potential of the Repertoire CD or LP versions. The Sanctuary (USA) sounds just about right - capturing both the low and high ends.

Summary: The Repertoire and Sanctuary CDs sound excellent, so either these or the Polydor (UK) LP are fine choices in terms of sound quality. If you want the bonus tracks, the Sanctuary CD is your best choice.

Other Comments: An interesting facet of this album is that the LP covers are different between the UK and USA. Both reverse the outside and the inside covers from each other. The USA (Sanctuary) CD version use the UK cover.

About: Rigor Mortis Sets In

I recall buying a sealed USA copy of this album in 1982. While John Entwistle had always been known for his "dark humor" and traces of it appeared throughout his song writing since 1966... "Rigor Mortis Sets In" leaves no doubt...

John tried a mixture here of contemporary sounding songs (i.e. "Gimme That Rock 'n Roll", "Made In Japan", etc.) mixed with 50's sounding songs (i.e. "Mr. Bassman", "Hound Dog", etc.). I think it was just the right combination and worked just fine.

I'm not sure why John added "My Wife" in the middle of the album. It wasn't really "that" different than the version on "Who's Next". Did he run out of songs and had to get the album out by a deadline or did he just want to rerecord it? No clue...

My favorite songs on the album are:

* Mr. Bassman - This is a cover of the Johnny Cymbal song - but really is about John. I'm sorry he never played this live - it would have been great.

* Made In Japan - Such irony... poor guy complains that "There ain't nothing made here in this country anymore..." and everywhere he turns, something else is "Made In Japan". Great song...

* Peg Leg Peggy - This is just such an "off the wall" song with a crazy cast of characters... Peg Leg Peggy (she really likes to hop), Wide Mouth Winnie (...she really knows how to kiss ya...), Four-eyed Fannie (...she really can flash those eyes...). John was going to play this live on his 1996 "Left For Dead" tour, but never got around to doing so...

The reissue CDs add some cool bonus tracks, which are earlier takes of "Made In Japan" & "Peg Leg Peggy"...

The artwork for the original album got "reversed" between the USA/Canada and the rest of the world and when you opened the "gate fold", you would get "the opposite" artwork (i.e. the UK LP had a "coffin" cover, but the cemetery scene in the gatefold and the USA copy had the cemetery scene as the cover, but the coffin in the gatefold.) Not sure if this was done intentionally, but it makes yet another "collectable" difference...

Track Listing: Gimme That Rock'n Roll, Mr. Bassman, Do The Dangle, Hound Dog, Made In Japan, My Wife, Roller Skate Kate, Peg Leg Peggy, Lucille, Big Black Cadillac

Bonus Tracks (Castle Music (UK), Sanctuary (USA)): BP Big Gallon Jingle (100 Miles of Motorway) (demo),  BP Big Gallon Jingle (100 Miles of Motorway) (with voiceover) (demo), Made In Japan (early take), Peg Leg Peggy (early take)

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