Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers
15 tracks of folk and cosmic Americana classics, compiled exclusively for Uncut by Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold featuring Roy Harper, Mountain Man, Dungen, PG Six, Sandy Denny & The Strawbs and more
I was just about to start this column by writing about what's in the new issue of Uncut, including the return of Fleet Foxes, who I interviewed recently in Seattle. My attention, however, has been claimed by the arrival in the office of copies of our most recent Ultimate Music Guide, a series in which we've so far covered the careers of U2, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon and The Rolling Stones. The new Ultimate Music Guide is dedicated to The Who, all 40 and more years of them. There are, as ever, new looks at all their albums, from My Generation to Empty Wire, by Rob Young, David Cavanagh, Neil Spencer, Bud Scoppa, Garry Mulholland, Andrew Mueller, Graeme Thomson and David Quantick. John Robinson, Michael Bonner and Rob Young also look at Who-related film projects, including the movie versions of Tommy and Quadrophenia and The Kids Are Alright documentary. There's also a full guide to the many Who compilations and a round-up of the band's solo albums, collectable rarities, memorabilia and more.
As much as it may seem like blowing our own trumpet, these pieces are among the best things I've ever read on The Who. Just reading them now makes me do exactly what they are meant to do, put on the albums, the volume turned up loud enough to make your head explode, and be reminded once again of the band in all its resplendent glory and the times I saw them when they seemed unmatchable including in 1969 at the Albert Hall, on a double bill with Chuck Berry, just after the Stones had played in Hyde Park, and an appearance at Charlton football ground on the Who Put The Boot In tour, the band playing in often torrential rain, that's among the most amazing live shows I've ever seen.
Additionally, there's also a vast amount of archive material drawn from the pages of NME, Melody Maker and Uncut, classic interviews from the vaults, the earliest from 1965, a year into their career as The Who, after changing their name from The High Numbers. Taken as a whole, these revisited interviews are gobsmacking epic, revealing stuff that's been unread for years. Boy, could Townshend talk! He's also, by the way, written an exclusive introduction to the thing. What would I have done differently? he asks.
I would never have joined a band