John Entwistle's greatest failings as a solo artist are generally a matter of not being the best judge of his own work. He can't seem to tell his good jokes from the ones that sink without a trace, he sets his best songs right beside numbers that would have been best left in the rehearsal space, and for a guy who was one-third of England's greatest power trio (plus vocalist), he doesn't always know what to do with a large band. All of these flaws are certainly evident on Mad Dog, Entwistle's third solo set, but it's actually one of his better albums, one where the good songs really do work. "I Fall to Pieces" is not the Patsy Cline chestnut, but a snappy horn-fortified number, "Who in the Hell?" is a C&W parody that's both funny and tuneful, "Mad Dog" gets the Spector-esque girl group sound down cold (appropriately enough, Entwistle hands the lead vocal over to his female backing singers), and "I'm So Scared" is a charging rocker that could have passed muster with the Who. But "You Can Be So Mean" and "Drowning" are novelty numbers that wear out their welcome fast, the instrumental "Jungle Bunny" is just taking up space, and only Who fans interested in tales of woe on the road will be interested in "Cell Number Seven" (about the band's arrest in Montreal in 1974). Mad Dog is enjoyable in short bursts, but it also makes a good case for the conventional wisdom that even the best bass players are only so-so as band leaders.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming