The Who

My Generation [Bootleg]

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The British version of this album, in its original form, runs circles around the American version, which, as of 1998, is also the only album by the band not to have received a major upgrade. Enter some anonymous bootleggers, who have done a nearly perfect digital transfer of the British original, but an ultra-clean mono source and also re-created the original's ultra-cool British cover art (the bandmembers standing next to some metal drums looking up at the camera). The audio quality here is a match for any of MCA's upgraded reissues of the band's later albums, and the mono sound gives everything lots of punch -- Townshend's guitar on everything (but especially "The Good's Gone") has an impact like a sledgehammer and the texture of an ice pick chopping away; you can hear every detail of Entwistle's hyperactive bass work on "My Generation" and everything else here; and Daltrey sounds like he's in the room with you. For bonus tracks, you get the Brunswick Records (U.K.) single versions of "I Can't Explain" (the only flaw is a missing note in the opening of the latter), "Bald Headed Woman," "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere," "Daddy Rolling Stone," and Daltrey's two dazzling early R&B workouts, "Shout and Shimmy" and "Anytime You Want Me." As an added bonus, the makers have thrown in "Young Man Blues" in a studio stereo version from the House That Track Built LP. There are no notes, but the music speaks for itself, in loud, crunchy, soulful tones.