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Entry date: 6-12-2024 – Passion for Bass – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Happy Wednesday. I’m going straight into today’s record today. I had a lovely Tuesday, for the most part, and music was made.

 

*****

 

I always wanted to be a bass player and I’m glad that I finally got off my ass and did it when I was about 23. I’m not one for hero worship when it comes to musicians. I have people I admire and who inspire me, but if there was one musician that I did kind of worship, it was John Entwistle from The Who.

 

My fondness for The Who extends beyond Entwistle, of course. Their songs would be littered in my top 100 songs and one of the great things about them is that they were great for a long time. Even in their more recent stuff, I found things I really liked.

 

Pete Townsend is one of the all-time great guitar players and great songwriters. Roger Daltrey is a powerhouse of a vocalist, too, and Keith Moon. Damn. What can you say about Keith Moon except, “Wow.” Four virtuosos came together and made history.

 

But Entwistle, for me, was the most special of them all. I could never replicate his bass style in a million years and that’s okay. I’ve never wanted to copy him. I just love listening to his powerful yet nimble basslines.

 

The Who created what I consider the best live album of all-time with Live At Leeds. I’m trying to remember when I fell in love with it, and I can’t. It feels like I have always loved it, to be honest. When I got the extended version around 1999, I couldn’t believe how much more I loved it.

 

The extra songs brought a new life to a trusted, old friend, and it became one of my most played records for a good decade.

Initially, the song that really drew me to Live At Leeds was the cover of Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues.” During high school I happened to see the Isle of Wight Festival footage where The Who just tore that song a new one. In fact, I started telling people that I thought the Who invented punk rock at that concert. They were just so vicious.

 

“Young Man Blues” is pretty fucking great on Live At Leeds. This recording was from 1970 (and I think Isle of Wight is right around then, maybe ’71) and it slays. On the original version, The Who go right into “Substitute,” then “Happy Jack” then “I’m A Boy” right out of “Young Man Blues” and it is just so stellar.

 

Chills.

 

Goosebumps.

 

After they tear through those songs, “A Quick One, While He’s Away” happens and I think I would be happy if that was the only song I could listen to for the rest of my life. Truly. As much as I love “Young Man Blues” and “Magic Bus” on this record, “A Quick One…” is just a song that I love listening to any time. I bet there were days in the early 2000s where I listened to it about five times.

 

Again, these guys are/were virtuosos. There is not a bad moment on the original Live At Leeds or the Expanded Edition. I love the lesser-known songs at the beginning like “Tattoo” and “Fortune Teller.” I also love the hits as they are packaged here, too. It’s a great version, for example, of “My Generation” and the opener, “Heaven and Hell” is nothing short of magnificent.

 

This one is further proof that time machines need to happen.

 

For years I told people that my favorite band is The Who if I have to choose just one. Just like Jaws is my favorite movie. I can choose, I suppose. I love a lot of bands, but The Who are the ones I choose for my favorite.

 

They barely beat out The Damned most days, but there are a lot of similarities between the two, at least in my eyes and ears. If you listen closely, you can hear Entwistle, Townsend, and Moon creating punk rock on Live At Leeds.

 

Disagree? Bite me.

 

***** 

 

See you tomorrow.



Drive that engine, Iver.

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