The Who

Dance to Keep from Crying

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The earliest tape of the Who ever to surface, and thus of substantial interest to diehards. It's interesting and not without its enjoyable spots, but it shows barely a glimmer of what would make the Who so special, presenting instead a fairly typical R&B-based band of the early British Invasion era. The liner notes say this was recorded at the Marquee Club in June 1963, which I suspect is too early, though it's certainly very early on in the band's career, as they stick exclusively to R&B covers. From listening, you can't be certain whether Moon has joined the band or not, but in any case it's a rough-and-tumble look at their R&B roots, with quite listenable (if hardly outstanding) fidelity. The Miracles' "Dance (To Keep From Crying)" and "Young Man Blues" (a much less heavier version than the one on Live At Leeds) are the best cuts; you get a glimpse of Townshend's feedback/distortion tricks in their embryo on "Pretty Thing." But Daltrey's vocals on some of the cuts (including "Pretty Thing") are laughably gruff and overwrought, and all of side two is taken up with extremely tedious jams on "Spoonful" and "Money."