The Best of Rockers & Ballads is an adequate overview of Roger Daltrey's solo offerings of the 1970s, taking the best work from his rather inconsistent career as a musician outside of the Who. Although his albums didn't achieve the prosperity that he and the rest of his fans might have expected, some of his material fit in quite nicely with the singer/songwriter formula of the decade. The 17 tracks are taken mainly from his self-titled debut album, 1975's Ride a Rock Horse, and 1977's One of the Boys. And, as this collection illustrates, most of Daltrey's better songs are ones that have been written by other artists. Murray Head's "Say It Ain't So Joe" and Russ Ballard's "Free Me" are two of his most passionate efforts, while both of the Leo Sayer-penned tracks, "It's a Hard Life" and "Giving It All Away," spotlight Daltrey's vocal strength. "Without Your Love" is the most beautiful ballad of the set, and represents his only Top 40 hit, going to number 20 in 1980. Average sounding rockers like "Walking the Dog" and "One of the Boys" are energetic enough, but they don't instill the enthusiasm that Roger Daltrey is capable of. Other compilations that are available offer up most of these songs, but add his more solid post-1980 contributions from Under a Raging Moon and a few of the better cuts from the disastrous Can't Wait to See the Movie and the Parting Should Be Painless album. Even so, Best of Rockers & Ballads is more of an entertaining listen (and more of a convenience) than embarking on Daltrey's solo albums.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne