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The Who - John Entwistle Albums:

Mad Dog - UK - 1975 Decca LP (Autographed by John Entwistle)

Mad Dog - UK - 1975 Decca Cassette

Mad Dog - UK - 2005 Castle CD

Mad Dog - USA - 1975 - MCA LP

Mad Dog - USA - 2006 - Sanctuary CD

Mad Dog - Australia - 1975 Decca LP

Mad Dog - Brazil - 1975 London LP

Presented The Bassist of the Group The Who

Mad Dog - Canada - 1975 - MCA LP

USA sleeve, Canada vinyl

Mad Dog - Germany - 1975 - Nova LP

Mad Dog - Germany - 1997 Repertoire CD

Mad Dog - Italy - 1975 - Decca/Phase 4 LP

UK export

Mad Dog - Japan - 1975 - King LP

Mad Dog - Japan - 1978 - London LP

Mad Dog - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

Comes with mini poster

Mad Dog - 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

Mad Dog - Japan - 2008 Strange Days CD

SHMCD

Perro Rabioso - Spain - 1975 Decca LP (front cover)

Spanish title for "Mad Dog" - Cover picture is the same as the poster that was included in UK and USA LP copies

Perro Rabioso - Spain - 1975 Decca LP (back cover)

Who's Ox - USA - 1975 MCA Promo LP

1/2 songs John Entwistle Who songs, 1/2 songs John Entwistle solo songs

Too Late The Hero - UK - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - UK - 2005 Castle CD

(With bonus tracks - see below)

Too Late The Hero - USA - 1981 Atco LP

Promo copy

Too Late The Hero - USA - 1981 Atco Cassette

Too Late The Hero - USA - 1981 Specialty Records Test Pressing LP

Too Late The Hero - USA - 2006 Sanctuary CD

(With bonus tracks - see below)

Too Late The Hero - Australia - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Canada - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Germany - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Germany - 1981 WEA Cassette

Too Late The Hero - Germany - 1997 Repertoire CD

Too Late The Hero - Hong Kong - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Japan - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Japan - 2006 Strange Days CD

(With bonus tracks - see below)

Too Late The Hero - Japan - 2008 Strange Days CD

SHMCD

Too Late The Hero - Mexico - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - New Zealand - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - New Zealand - 1981 WEA Cassette

Too Late The Hero - Portugal - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Portugal - 1981 WEA Cassette

Too Late The Hero - South Africa - 1981 WEA LP

Too Late The Hero - Yugoslavia - 1981 Atco/Suzi LP

Too Late The Hero - Yugoslavia - 1981 WEA/Suzi Cassette

The Rock - UK - 1995 Test Pressing CD

The Rock - UK - 2005 Castle CD

(See extensive bonus track listing below)

The Rock - USA - 1996 Whistle Rymes CD (Autographed by JAE)

Limited edition: 5000, numbered copies

The Rock - USA - 1996 Griffin CD

The Rock - USA - 2006 Sanctuary CD

(See extensive bonus track listing below)

The Rock - Germany - 1998 Repertoire CD

MAD DOG

Album: Mad Dog (Perro Rabioso in Spain)

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Decca (UK), MCA (USA), Decca (Spain)

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

Non-album Tracks: None

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

CD Comments: The Repertoire (Germany) CD has excellent sound. The Castle (UK) has been remastered, but unfortunately, someone added some high frequency tones to the midrange, making the vocals unnecessarily bright and the entire CD has an overall poor fidelity "Mickey Mouse" sound. The Sanctuary (USA) should sound similar/identical to Castle (UK) CD - Fortunately, it doesn't. The difference is like night and day as the Sanctuary (USA) CD sounds very good - slightly better than the Repertoire (Germany) CD. The Strange Days (Japan) CD is somewhat in-between the USA & UK CDs. Apparently the vocals weren't mastered quite right for this CD and the different country's pressing plants made the 3 CDs (UK, USA & Japan) sound a bit differently from each other.

Summary: The Sanctuary (USA) CD version sounds better than the LP other CD versions and has a bonus track (see below) as well.

Other Comments: The LP came with a poster of one of John's dogs in his Cadillac Eldorado convertible.

Note: the "single mix" for the Castle (UK) & Sanctuary (USA) CDs <noted below> seems to apply only to "Cell Number 7" which has a different backing vocal entirely (the album version uses John's "Boris" or "Summertime Blues" voice and the single version sounds like it came from "Mr. Bass Man") as well as some other changes. I couldn't hear any mix differences on "Mad Dog". (See Solo Rarities section for MP3 snippet comparison of the 2 versions.)

About: Mad Dog

As a young Who fan, I never quite figured this album out and it seemed to collect dust forever.

I liked the title track, so I stuck that somewhere on a tape of John Entwistle music, but the album itself got buried.

In 1997, John's live album from 1975 was released and I heard the live version of "Cell Number 7" for the first time and loved it!

This made me give the CD another listen, but even then I didn't "get it".

So why is today any different than before?

I've given myself this "responsibility" to "review" the album and "articulate" it to the "interested" few (or many). Whereas before, I could listen to it, shake my head (one direction or another) and other than a comment here or there in a "Who" or "John Entwistle" discussion there's no "formalized" thoughts of why I like, don't like or feel neutral about any of this...


What I find going on with this album is that it takes "Rigor Mortis Sets In" and turns it up a few notches. Whereas "Rigor Mortis" is a combination of contemporary and "later" 50's style music, but mostly in the familiar form of John's writing style, "Mad Dog" tries a little harder and from my point of view, sometimes it works well, other times it doesn't.

This album has a combination of the contemporary/earlier 50's/doo-wop/rockabilly and at times gets musically very 'busy' (too many backing vocalists, violins, guitars or the kitchen sink - all fighting to be
heard or maybe in some cases heard too much). The latter could be corrected by a great remix - but the likelihood that will ever happen is slim/none.

So thematically, I find the album to be a little confusing and I'm not a real fan of all of these various styles - but I am a huge fan of John Entwistle!

So, which songs do I like on this album?

After all that I said above, at the ripe old age of 1,000 (give or take 50 years), I like all of them. I guess I've reached a point where I've "grown into" the album. Do I think that I would enjoy it as much as some of John's other albums? Probably not, but I found new "respect" for it in listening to it again and I believe it could grow on me further.

My favorite songs on the album are:

* Cell Number 7 - Based on the true story of The Who getting arrested and thrown in jail in Canada

* Mad Dog - John doesn't sing on this song, but I've always liked it! Perhaps the next CD release could feature a John vocal version (from either the multi-tracks or the demo - I think that would be really cool)

* Jungle Bunny - This is an instrumental. Seems like it could have been used on an early 70's movie soundtrack.

The 2005 UK/2006 USA releases include bonus tracks of the single versions of "Mad Dog" and "Cell Number 7" - which are mixed differently than the album versions. "Mad Dog" seems to lower the backing vocals into the mix, while "Cell Number 7" (which also includes some chatter before the song starts) swaps the "Boris" vocal from the album version to the "Mr. Bass Man" vocal on the single version.

The original LPs came with a nice poster (John's dogs sitting in his Cadillac convertible). In Spain, they used the poster artwork as the LP cover.

Track Listing: I Fall To Pieces, Cell Number 7, You Can Be So Mean, Lady Killer, Who In The Hell?, Mad Dog, Jungle Bunny, I'm So Scared, Drowning

Track Listing (Castle (UK), Sanctuary (USA), Strange Days (Japan)): I Fall To Pieces, Cell Number 7, You Can Be So Mean, Lady Killer, Who In The Hell?, Mad Dog, Jungle Bunny, I'm So Scared, Drowning, Mad Dog (single mix), Cell Number 7 (single mix)

TOO LATE THE HERO

Album: Too Late The Hero

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: WEA (UK), Atco (USA), WEA (Germany), WEA (Portugal), WEA (Japan)

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

Non-album Tracks: None. However, the single version of "Too Late The Hero" is edited for length.

LP Comments: The Atco (USA) sounds excellent and is my first choice. After that, the WEA UK or German pressings.

CD Comments: The Castle (UK), Sanctuary (USA) and the Repertoire (Germany) all sound excellent. The Strange Days (Japan) CD is a slight step down from the above.

Summary: This is a well-recorded album, with excellent production quality. The Repertoire (Germany) CD and the Atco (USA) sound about equal and are both good choices. However, the Castle (UK) & Sanctuary (USA) have John Entwistle demos for bonus tracks, making it more desirable than the other releases.

Other Comments: The song, "Dancing Master", contains one of the best-recorded bass solos that John has ever released on any album. I use it whenever I demonstrate my stereo system. The demo for "Love Is A Heart Attack" (on the Castle UK & Sanctuary USA CDs) has a completely different music track than the released version.

About: Too Late The Hero

I don't actually recall when I first bought this album. Was it in 1981 (when it came out) or in 1982 when I began serious collecting? hMMM... (Seems like 1,000 years ago...)

Either way, this was the very first John Entwistle solo album that I bought. At the time, the others were "out of print" and this was released before I went to record shows and was mostly at the mercy of the record bins at "regular" record stores at the time. Loved the artwork of the cover, loved all the songs. Great album!

I believe John started recording this album sometime in 1979 and worked on it (on and off) for the two years until its release in 1981. It was a "3 man band", John,
Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale (who also played for/with The Eagles).

John wanted something "different" than his usual solo material for this album - since he wanted to make a serious attempt at a solo album vs. "an album to record while in-between stints with The Who". So, John put "some" of his humor aside and wrote a bunch of "love" songs, but "John Style".

The recording process that John used was terrific. This album does a great job recording each element of his bass as well as what sounds like a well recorded drum kit and Joe
guitars.

As an aside, what is also ironic about this relationship between John and
Joe Walsh, is that John eventually ended up with Lisa Pritchett-Johnson, who was previously Joe's girlfriend. For those of us who knew Lisa, she was a very special and sweet person. She truly loved John...

The music:

* Try Me - Just like the title says. "Try me, I can be all that you need to get high..."

* Talk Dirty - John does a funny explanation of this song during his
November 6, 1987 interview with Howard Stern.

* Lovebird - About the breakup of a relationship.

* Sleeping Man - As I was listening to this, I could help thinking of John himself. John liked to stay up all night and sleep all day. The very first time I met with him and sat down with him was at an event to promote "The Rock" in New York City. It was about Noon and John seemed almost like he was in a coma. I was a little concerned (i.e. is John ill? What's wrong with John???). The response was, "Oh, John is usually sleeping now. Give him some time and he will eventually get up." OK... (So, the song could very well have been about John!)

* I'm Coming Back - John loved life on the road (coincidentally, he has a song called, "Back On The Road"). This song is to remind everyone that he will be back. Sadly, this is no longer true.

* Dancing Master - One of my favorite songs. The "master manipulator" is going to "make you dance" and "making you do things you really don't want to do". Great lyrics and unbelievable bass playing. There are 3 known released versions of this song (2 of them on the version of this CD with the bonus tracks). If you ever want to demonstrate a good stereo system, play this.

* Fallen Angel -Sort of a precursor to "Too Late The Hero". People love you when you are "somebody", but when you "hit bottom", nobody loves you.

* Love Is A Heart Attack - In 1988, I saw the re-formed John Entwistle Band at a little club called, The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. I stood right in front of John and he was amazing. He said, "We're now going to play, 'Heart Attack' " and then went on to play a blistering version of this song - much more powerful than the studio version. I've always loved this song and couldn't help thinking about John's death while listening to it. "Death is nature's way of telling you to stop." RIP John.

* Too Late The Hero - This song seems to be one of John's more intricate and detailed songs. "I wish I could stop and start it again." Regret? 2nd chances? hMMM... At my very first Who concert, John wore his red "Too Late The Hero" album cover outfit. I thought that was unbelievable.

The 2005 (UK) and 2006 (USA) CDs have the following bonus tracks, which are all listed as "demos".

Sleeping Man, Dancing Master, I'm Coming Back, Love Is A Heart Attack, Overture

The tracks from "Too Late The Hero" appear to be more "work in process" songs, than John's demos. I have 2 of his
demos from "Who Are You" and they are more rudimentary than these. While the first 3 are  rougher versions of the album tracks, "Love Is A Heart Attack" has mostly the same lyrics, but played to a completely different song - perhaps recorded for an earlier period. "Overture" may or may not belong with this album. There are elements on here that were used for the "Music From Van Pires" album. However, since some of the music on there came from previous periods, it is entirely possible that John simply re-worked some of the music (recorded 1979-1981) for that project.

This album was the last of the "John Entwistle studio solo albums". John's next 2 studio albums were "band albums". I always looked forward to John's new music. He had a "warped perspective" on life that shined through on his writing. He had a unique voice and nobody played bass like John.

1979 Sessions

I received this CD from a Who fan in Georgia. He knew of my involvement in John's band and was a fan of my website, so he said, "Hey, would you like a disc of some rare John material from 1979?"

YES!
 
So, he sent me a disc.
 
I had no idea what to expect, but when I played it - I was like "Wow!" Where did this stuff come from??? Perfect quality audio and it just fell in my lap as I was "minding my own business" - very cool.
 
The songs on the disc seem to be more "work in process" than demos - although with John's stuff, sometimes there's a fine line between the two categories. The versions of these songs that have been released as bonus tracks on John's CDs are *different* than those versions. The track list is:
 
* Countryside Boogie/Wild Horses
* Sleeping Man
* I'm Coming Back
* Love Bird
* Back On The Road
* Dancing Master
 
I added "Wild Horses" to the "Countryside Boogie" title - because I believe that was the original working name of this song. This song pre-dates these sessions. I have a few other versions of the song and I'm guessing it was originally written between 1975 and 1978.
 
"Back On The Road" was another song that John tried to "fit" somewhere. It's a great song and another "autobiographical" match to John's "The Quiet One". It didn't quite fit on "Too Late The Hero" and I believe it was presented for "Face Dances", but for whatever reason, not included. Kenney Jones might be playing drums on this version - apparently he is on another version that I have... (It was finally used on John's "Music From Van Pires" album.)
 
The above two songs are a bit more "finished" in production. "Countryside Boogie" seems almost complete and "Back On The Road" is a piano based song.
 
The rest of the songs (which were included on "Too Late The Hero") have either minimum/no guitar, lots of bass, drums and a rough vocal.
 
I recall asking John why he wouldn't play "Dancing Master" live with his band, and he said "It was impossible to play live." What I gathered by that (listening to this version) - is the bass overdubs. Could he have adapted it? Maybe...
 
I really like this disc - especially "Dancing Master". While the other
songs are somewhat similar to the finished versions, this version seems as if John is trying to figure out where he wants to the song to go and it seems more experimental than the 2 other released versions.
 
Great stuff!

Track Listing: Try Me, Talk Dirty, Lovebird, Sleeping Man, I'm Coming Back, Dancing Master, Fallen Angel, Love Is A Heart Attack, Too Late The Hero

Track Listing (Castle (UK), Sanctuary (USA), Strange Days (Japan)): Try Me, Talk Dirty, Lovebird, Sleeping Man, I'm Coming Back, Dancing Master, Fallen Angel, Love Is A Heart Attack, Too Late The Hero, Sleeping Man (demo), Dancing Master (demo), I'm Coming Back (demo), Love Is A Heart Attack (demo), Overture (demo)

THE ROCK

Album: The Rock

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: This album was not issued on LP

CDs Sampled: [No label] 1st test CD (UK), Whistle Rymes-limited edition (USA), Griffin (USA), Repertoire (Germany), Castle (UK), Sanctuary (USA)

Non-album Tracks: None

LP Comments: n/a

CD Comments: The Repertoire (Germany), the Castle (UK) and the Sanctuary (USA) sound vastly superior (with an exception) to the two 1996 USA versions (additional comments below). The UK (Castle) & Sanctuary (USA) have better slightly better sound quality than the Germany (Repertoire) and does not have the mastering flaw of the Germany (Repertoire) CD.

Summary: The Castle (UK) & Sanctuary (USA) CDs are the best choices.

Other Comments: Apparently the USA issues of this album are unmixed, which account for a somewhat "thin" (but clean) overall sound. The limited (5,000 numbered copies, with custom JAE artwork and liner notes) Whistle Rymes version sounds identical to the 1st test CD. The Griffin version was supposed to be the commercially released version of the same, but something happened with the record company shortly after its release and few copies actually got issued. The Griffin release might actually be rarer than the limited version. Unfortunately, the artwork on the Griffin is less than exciting and the sound quality, which is similar to the Whistle Rymes release, is just a tad duller.

The Repertoire (Germany) CD was described to me as a "rough mix" version (and brings this album to life). Unfortunately, there is a severe flaw in the mastering. Towards the end of the album's best track, "Life After Love", the song breaks down into nasty digital distortion (which apparently happened by allowing the peaks to exceed maximum tolerated levels during the digital recording/transfer process. This is very unfortunate, because it ruins this song and spoils an otherwise well-recorded version (and vastly improved version) of this album. Fortunately, this flaw was finally corrected for the 2005 Castle (UK) release, which also sounds slightly better too.

This is another CD which has shares some controversy among Who fans. Originally, the album was intended to be released in 1988. However, the FBI closed down the record label and the album went into hibernation until 1996. Having heard this material played live on the John Entwistle Band tour of 1988 and then listening to a radio interview of John (with some samples of the album), I wondered what happened to this album for years. In late 1995, I had the opportunity to work with the newly resurrected John Entwistle Band and was instrumental in helping to get this album released for the 1996 tour. This is the first of John's solo albums where John doesn't sing on any of the songs. Furthermore, he only wrote 4 of album's 10 songs, as this was supposed to be more of a "band performance" versus a JAE "solo" effort. The album does contain some fine music with "classic" John Entwistle song writing and bass playing contributions.

One of the other interesting facets of the Castle (UK) CD is that among the bonus tracks, it features John Entwistle singing lead vocal on "Love Doesn't Last". On the CD, this track is referred to as a "demo", but it is actually a work-in-process version, close to the final version featuring Henry Small (on lead vocals). Perhaps one day the other master tapes will be found (and released) which also features John's vocals on the songs he wrote for the album.

For more pictures and details about the original version of this album, click here.

About: The Rock

I can talk about this album forever. It has a long history and a lot of my personal involvement...

Sometime around 1988, I had the car radio on WNEW New York and heard
Scott Muni talking to John Entwistle about his new album, "The Rock". It was supposed to be released SOON. They played some tracks from it and I was excited to look forward to the first new John Entwistle album since "Too Late The Hero". I checked the bins in the record stores weekly - no "Rock"...

Then in February, 1988, John was playing live at
The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. He had his "new band" and I had the best spot in the house - standing right in front of John! The band played various tracks from his solo career ("Love Is A Heart Attack" and "Too Late The Hero" come to mind) and they played *great*.

To my surprise, they played many songs from the "soon to be released" album - "The Rock". "Last Song" was the song I recall the most...

But... no album.

I think after about a year, I gave up looking in the bins for "The Rock" - although I always looked in the bins anyway - but my expectations were significantly lowered...

Fast forward to late 1995. I had become involved with the John Entwistle Band in various capacities and during the course of conversations I asked "What the <Riker> happened to 'The Rock'???"

Apparently the record company that was going to release it, got raided by the FBI and the album was never released...

OK - so... WHY DON'T WE RELEASE IT AND SELL IT AT THE SHOWS???

Light bulb...

So, the next thing I knew, there was a mad scramble to get "The Rock" ready for release (probably less than a month). My wife is a graphic artist - so she took all of John's artwork and magically turned it into cover art. I actually took John's hand written liner notes and typed them up myself.

Here's a link on my website to this "stuff":

The Rock

And so "The Rock" was born. The master tapes were sent to
Discmakers in NJ, and 5,000 numbered copies magically appeared...

It is an "odd" album. In a polite way, I kinda asked John what he was thinking with this. He wanted a "band album" vs. a "solo album" - hence he doesn't sing on any of the tracks. Lead vocals and the most of the song writing were from
Henry Small. Zach Starkey played drums!

Conceptually, it made sense, but as a Who/John fan - the more JOHN - the better!

The new John Entwistle Band performed the 4 songs John wrote in support of the "new" album while on tour in 1996 (and on)...
Alan St. Jon sang the Henry Smal parts... :)

There are elements of the album I really like. "Life After Love" is just a great song. I wish John were on vocals - but it is what it is...

The bass playing is great on the album and the 4 "John Written Songs" are very good - with the above being my favorite.

In 2005, the album was re-released with bonus tracks from the sessions, including a demo vocal version of John on lead vocal for "Love Doesn't Last" (which would have been nice to have for the other 3 John written songs as well - maybe for the next version?) This is the version of the album I recommend - it has the best sound and the most tracks - a winning combo! 

Track Listing: Stranger In A Strange Land, Love Doesn't Last *, Suzie, Bridges Under The Water *, Heartache, Billy, Life After Love *, Hurricane, Too Much Too Soon, Last Song *, Country Hurricane

Track Listing (Castle UK): Stranger In A Strange Land, Love Doesn't Last *, Suzie, Bridges Under The Water *, Heartache, Billy, Life After Love *, Hurricane, Too Much Too Soon, Last Song *, Country Hurricane, Casualty (Out-take), Light In The Dark (Out-take), Break Your Heart (Out-take), Love Doesn't Last (John Entwistle lead vocal version), Heartache (Early version)

* Denotes songs written by John Entwistle

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