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A QUICK ONE

The Who

Proto-Prog


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3 stars Whether or not The Who belongs in the progarchives, i am not the one to decide, since my experience of their music is admittedly rather limited, but if there is one reason for them to grace the proto-prog sub-genre with their not so vast discography, then this might very well be it.

At this stage in their career the who were not much more than a steady, ordinary, 60-s rock band, and they would most certainly have stayed that way, despite the amazingly good rhythm section, if it were not for the visionary genius that is Pete Townshend. Pete is simply one of the most inspiring men in music, in my opinion, and this is the album where he first got the chance (and took it) to experiment with the idea of a rock opera. The 10 minutes long title track is quite simply reason enough for anyone to buy the album, even if it's nowhere near the sophistication of their later, more expanded rock operas, Tommy and Quadrophenia. It's alot of fun to listen to, and it must have been pretty ambibious for 1966. The album version is a little tame compared to the different versions of it live that i have seen, however.

While the title track is where the prog starts and ends on "A quick one", the rest of the album is very enjoyable, with contributions from all band members. Keith's piece (Cobwebs and strange) is a fun and wacky instrumental which goes faster and faster until it almost breaks, really good, fun tune, sounds like it was a sweaty day in the recording studio.

John's two pieces (Whiskey man/Boris the spider) are the most humoruous, lyric-wise, and in my opinion, the least interesting, but they are not bad at all, just not in the same vein as most of the other songs on the album, and a bit slower.

The rest of the songs are very ordinary, poppy, enjoyable songs with the usual enjoyable drumwork fom Keith Moon. The music on the album is pretty thick, and the refrains on "i need you", when Keith bangs his cymbals, hurt my ears when i use earphones.

I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars for "A Quick One". On a progressive rock site, it has no real place, but since it's labeled "proto-prog", it fits neatly in, and the music on the album is good, with the title track as the masterpiece, even better performed on the video from "Rock & roll circus" submitted above, but since i haven't heard all of the other Who albums and am not quite done with this one yet, i'm giving it 3 stars so far, with reservations for the future.

Doesn't have to be on the top of your "The Who"-albums priority list, but it's not one you will want to miss.

Report this review (#129774)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Proto-prog, eh? I'm not sure if such a term can be applied to A QUICK ONE as a whole (excellent fun though it is) but it definitely applies to the nine-minute title track which, as "mini rock opera", neatly prefigures Genesis' "Harold the Barrel", Zappa's "Cheepnis" and a multitude of more recent pseudo-operatic theatricals.

Just like the B-side of the Beatles' ABBEY ROAD or, indeed, "Supper's Ready" itself, "A QUICK ONE, WHILE HE'S AWAY" is actually a sequence of separate songs welded together. The 'country-and-western' bit in the middle ('We'll sooon be home...') invariably gets on my nerves, but this is mainly because I just can't wait for the astonishing finale, which was to receive its best ever performance within the Rolling Stones' Rock 'n' Roll Circus. As any well-informed The Who fan will tell you, this finale is introduced by the band's members shouting 'Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang!' and warbling 'Cello-cello-cello-cello' ONLY because their record company couldn't afford a proper orchestra! Well, thank heaven they did it THIS way. Keith Moon's Rock 'n' Roll Circus performance would turn out to be one of his most electrifying, although that isn't actually his sweat you can see bouncing off his drums, but water - poured on to the kit by a roadie, presumably while the cameraman wasn't watching...

Report this review (#129791)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Unlike their debut album, this one does not contain any great hymns. No "Substitute" nor "Pictures Of Lilly" (my first Who single - actually an EP with "Doctor, Doctor", "Don't Look Away" and "Whiskey Man" which I received from an aunt of mine in 1970 - thanks auntie).

"Whiskey Man" with its "Underture" mood (this one with vocals) is one of the best songs featured of the album. It' amazing to hear how close The Who are from some parts of "Tommy".

"I Need You" also belongs to the good songs (poppy and as Beatles-esque as The Who could get in those days). The beat and bass play during "Run Run run" has definitely "The Who" trademark but does not belong to their greatest songs (and is therefore not well known unless you are a Who maniac).

Same applies to "Don't Look Away", "So Sad About Us" and "Boris...". Nice little tunes as The Beatles have written a lot.

The worse being achieved with "Cobwebs And Strange", a real masquarade. "See My Way" is just a littlle better (but only by half an inch).

"A Quick One, While He's Away" is a very long song and the last one of the original album. It features rock, blues elements as well as some flavour of the later "Tommy". A more "concept" song than usual for that period, definitely. But that does not make you prog, right ? So, here again, don't expect any prog moments because there aren't just any. Like in each Who album.

As mentioned earlier on in this review, the EP coming out of these sessions is definitely a better buy than this LP. Two stars is just as high as I can rate this one. If you want to get the essence of their work, just grab a "Best Of". For maniacs, "Tommy", "Live At Leeds", "Who's Next" and "Quadrophenia" are of course essential.

Report this review (#129966)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just listened to this album for the first time in my life, Knowing The Who aren't exactly a full out progressive group I decided to acquire this album along with "Who's Next" and "Quadrophenia". Why I choose this particular three albums? Because they represent apparently three different states in The Who's career. If Quadrophenia is The Masterpiece from The Who, and Who's Next is a great album from their's, then A Quick One represents the time when they were still a Beatle style group, and when they wrote their first long track and one that represented a major influence in progressive music (what a track) .

But in my opinion, although this album is not all progressive per se (in standard) I gotta tell ya, this guys ROCKED even more than The Beatles at the time! I listened to Beatles albums and compared to these guys, even the small rock tunes they wrote were incredibly catchy and well written (with hints of some progressive future, even if a small one) and some fun tunes as if criticizing or making just fun of other groups (Batman and Barbara Ann). Now and though as music be told, this album is one of the best i've listened (in what we may call mainstream pop from the sixties) their tune A Quick One WHile He's Away, is really really good, I mean, here's probably the beggining of progressive rock, a tune that varies in its nine minutes length and is interesting to hear, and by its own makes it worth to get the album. I acquired this album with no great expectations (only for the track A Quick One) and got surprised for all the other tracks, which for me flow really well together and are fun to listen. But as this is a prog site I should just give them three stars, but what the hell this one deserves at least four, because progwise or not, Its a great rock music album, well performed. Now you better expect a sixties kind of rock pop album, but its a must have, if only for history of rock music purposes.

Report this review (#130051)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After tearing up so much expensive equipment in their concerts that they were well into the red financially, The Who's publisher made them a deal. If each band member would write at least one or two new songs for their second album they would each receive a sizeable cash advance, helping them out considerably. Unfortunately, it was a rather absurd idea because neither the drummer nor the singer had ever written a note of music and the bass player was still a novice. The result was a mish-mash of unrelated styles and varied influences that made them sound like a group in desperate search of an identity. The good news is that Pete Townsend was just starting to come into his own as a gifted songwriter as evidenced by several superb tunes included here.

The album opens with "Run, Run, Run," a driving number that Pete had written and produced for a fledgling group called The Cats. It has a strong energy about it but it never really goes anywhere, becoming monotonous in a hurry. One of the many stories behind John Entwistle's infamous "Boris the Spider" is that when Townsend asked him to sing one of his required compositions John said "sure thing" and hummed the first stray melody that popped into his head. This entertaining song about a creepy-crawly arachnid is the result and, in those days when you were lucky to even hear the bottom end on a record, Entwistle's huge bass guitar tone blew every bassist in the world away. What a fat sound! Keith Moon's amateurish "I Need You" is next and it is predictably lame. At the end you can't help but notice guest Nicky Hopkins' odd C&W noodling on the harpsichord.

"Whiskey Man" is one of my favorite tunes by John. In addition to his cool French Horn solo, I admire its smooth, simple melody and eccentric lyric about a drunkard's imaginary friend who has to be left behind when the old sot goes in for detox. Their unremarkable cover of "Heatwave" by Martha and the Vandellas follows and the fortunate thing for us Yanks is that it was replaced with their popular radio hit "Happy Jack" when the LP was released stateside in April '67. (Sadly, it's not substituted for it on this CD). The group's infectious and unfailing sense of humor fueled by Keith's wild spirit and unfettered imagination combine to produce the joyful instrumental "Cobwebs and Strange." To get the sound they wanted they paraded around the mike in the studio playing bass drum, cymbals, tuba, penny-whistle, trombone and trumpet like a high school marching band on acid. I love how Pete continually ups the tempo ante on his guitar for Moon to answer on drums. It's a frivolous but fun track that I adore.

I've always been bewildered by so many English musicians' fascination with American country & western music. It seems like everyone from The Beatles to The Stones and even Sting has tried to imitate it and here you'll find Pete the mod giving it a go on "Don't Look Away." I'm sure it's one he'd like to forget he wrote. Roger Daltrey's lone contribution is "See My Way," little more than a rough demo put together at Townsend's basic home studio with Keith's drums dubbed in later. It's the low point of Roger's limited writing career. Next you're treated to the best track on the album, "So Sad About Us," a powerful song that Pete originally wrote for The Merseybeats. At a time when hard rock was barely in its infancy, this intense ball breaker provided a fitting soundtrack for every hyperactive teenage air-guitarist of that day and age, including myself. No intricate finger-picking on the Rickenbacker 12-string here, just Townsend banging out big, beautiful chiming chords over John and Keith's kickass rhythm section. It still rocks today.

"A Quick One" is just one example of why this group belongs on the archives. Pete wanted to take the stuffy, arrogant atmosphere of high-brow opera and poke more than a few holes in the snooty genre by adapting the concept to rock & roll and, in the process, he paved the way for others to explore the untapped world of extended tracks. This tongue-firmly-in-cheek, daytime TV drama storyline about doubt, loneliness, adultery, guilt, confession and eventual forgiveness is a hoot and their let's- not-take-ourselves-too-seriously, over-the-top performances throughout all six sections bring a smile to my face every time I indulge in this landmark epic. Sure, it's flawed but it was 1966 for heaven's sake! Let your hair down and enjoy the ride.

That's where the original LP ended but on the 1995 re-issue some rarities and B-sides were added on. Their covers of "Batman," "Bucket T" (a surprise hit in Sweden) and "Barbara Ann" are goofy diversions. The quirky "Disguises" is weak pop despite its enormous bass sound, the LOL "Doctor, Doctor" (about a hypochondriac who even thinks he might be shrinking) is shrilly, "I've Been Away" (yet another attempt at country & western) is forgettable and "In the City" is just an off-night studio ditty that has only John and Keith on it because Pete and Roger were not informed about the session. Their refreshing acoustic version of "Happy Jack" doesn't reveal any new wrinkles but it does further prove what a great song it is. Their dubious take on the Everly Brothers' "Man with the Money" is a true rarity in that it hasn't appeared anywhere else that I know of. The finale is a very rough combination of "My Generation" and Edward Elgar's regal "Land of Hope and Glory" from a never-released EP that is, as you would guess, quite insane.

Special note should be made of Alan Aldridge's sleek Pop-Art cover. It's one of the classics of that and any era. Most likely many copies of the LP were purchased because of this eye-catching cover alone.

Aside from the groundbreaking mini-rock opera of "A Quick One" and the overall unbridled, free atmosphere of creativity I won't try to argue that there's a plethora of progressive rock to be found on this album. But this confident, force-to-be-reckoned-with band was steadily improving as they headed further and further down the road into rock and roll infamy and this collection of early songs and experiments is still one of my favorite relics from the 60s. Its appeal may not extend farther than prog historians and Who fans like me when all is said and done but it definitely rates a solid three stars.

Report this review (#130365)
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Progressive pop? Maybe?

I absolutely love this album. It's a brilliant collection of easy to listen tunes followed by the title track which is a great epic and also one of the first. However, it really isn't progressive. As an album, definitely 4 stars, but according to the guidelines of this site, I'm forced to give it three stars. Good album, but not really essential to a prog collection.

A Quick One is full of humor, basically the summary of early Who songs combined with great musicianship from every member of the band. It ranges from the wacky antics of Keith Moon in Cobwebs and Strange to the treble bass lines of John Entwistle in Boris the Spider. The title track often described as a mini-opera, is a great combination of melodies by Pete Townshend with a very powerful ending. On top of the original album, the bonus tracks are just as good and its hard to tell that they're actually bonus tracks. If there was an album to describe each of the members of The Who's personalities, this would be it. Obviously it was not meant to be something mind blowing, but is a beautifully written album with very upbeat and catchy tunes. Really I would love to give this album a 4 star rating but I suppose I'll have to settle with 3.

Report this review (#146451)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This second album by The Who I would say was the expression that they wanted to be viewed as a band instead of Pete Townsend's band as it was with the first album. One of the indication was that all members of the band contributed writing the music, at least one song. Musically, I can not differentiate a lot on music that came out mid to end 60s where they sounded alike. It's probably music was not that so fragmented as we see today as you might even encounter many new bands under crossover prog. From the music of 60s, I find the Who, Pink Floyd or The Beatles sounded alike. Probably The Beatles sounded alike because by the time this "A Quick One" was released, The Beatles was releasing "Revolver" and the year later they released the seminal work "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" has been widely considered as progressive album.

In my opinion "A Quick One" deserves to be recognized as having progressive elements. This is especially true if you think progressive refers to different styles, moods and sounds, structurally. "A Quick One, While He's Away ", which has been considered as mini rock opera, represents how the style and moods change throughout the same song, it's like a progressive music. Even though the music is very basic but the structure represents what progressive music is all about. I have noticed that on recent days there are many albums in opera style are considered as progressive albums. One of the examples is probably Ayreon with their space story-line.

On top of the mini-opera track, the rest of the albums are basically good pop rock track with its vintage composition with vintage instrumentation. The first track ""Run Run Run" (2:42) is very The Beatles. "Boris The Spider" (2:28) is psychedelic in nature with solid basslines. "I Need You" (2:24) is another The Beatles. It's a nice song. "Whiskey Man" (2:57) combines good guitar and bass work accompanying vocal. "Cobwebs And Strange" (2:29) is like a circus music with dynamic arrangements, featuring excellent drum solo.

Overall, I think this album is a good one, especially if you explore vintage music in the 60s. This album had formed a solid foundation on further development of the Who music - especially in its long epic at the end of the album which brings grandiose experience to the listeners.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#180154)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars A Quick one? Does this mean it is shorter than their debut, and therefore better?

Oh, but this IS better, and it shows. First off, they can actually hold a decent rhythm on this. Run Ru Run, while lyrically about as enticing as sawing off one's foot furiously, they rock harder, and with more cohesion and focus.

Boris The Spider is somewhat weirder, and more interesting. Not spooky in a brilliant way, but a nice song. One of the best moments on the album, but it isn't anything spectacular. Silly to the point of being painful, but the quirky melodies and overall fun the song bleeds makes it tolerable. I Need You is more concise and well played pop. This record is a lot like their first, only better. Nothing is amazing, but they rock harder, the lyrics are better (but NOT good). The singing is a bit stronger, and they have more experience writing a song.

Whiskey Man is average rock. That is it, that is the best thing this album has, average rock. Everything else is substandard pop punk. Still owing to the Beatles, they are trying to find a full identity, and not doing so well. The melodies tend to fall flat, and the hooks have been done before. But there is an honest sign of improvement. Heat Wave rocks hard. The "ooh's" are getting old, though. But what better way to avoid writing bad lyrics than to not write any at all? This is a hooky and harmonious track, and possibly my favorite song on here. They groove heavy. Cobwebs and Strange sounds bad. This is just not good. Carnival hell. Progressive? Hardly. Fun? Is stabbing knives in your ears fun? If it weren't so quirky, I'd stop listening to the album this moment. Don't Look Away has them grooving weakly, again. It gets old, quickly. The solo is a throwaway, anywho.

See my way is laughable. Another track that would have fit on the debut quite well. Although it still feels a bit more focused than that. The horns added are not good. They are just a gimmick, really. Don't add much to the diversity (it is just a couple toots here or there) and it is hardly emotional. Give me something memorable, damn it! Nothing here is memorable. It all feels like filler pop punk, save for a couple examples.

So Sad About Us is a bit relieving in its fast rocking. Still not much more than average, at best. It is also a bit too long. (yeah, at 3 minutes). At least the album is finally over. Or is it? Do we have time for one more song? Oh, come on one more? Just another track please? I promise we will make it...

A Quick One. The opening vocal hooks are nice. And this is the best moment of the album, which isn't saying too much. The guitars are nice, and everyone works together to make a fun track, though. The lyrics don't terribly offend, and this is actually an average song! The different movements fail to impress, and the progression is still highly lacking. Considered the first rock Opera, though. If so, it is a mediocre one. The soft section feels bubbly in an ok way. The acoustics are nice, even if the singing is lame. And oh my does the singing hurt my ears. The best thing here, and a decent closer.

Yeah, an improvement over Sings My Generation, but sometimes I think silence is an improvement over that. Oh well. The lyrics are still bland and disappointing, their singing still isn't great, and they don't do much more than pop punk, barring a couple excursions. Mediocre.

Best Song - A Quick One

Worst Song - Not again! Oh, how about Cobwebs and Strange?

** Very Weak Stars

Report this review (#212801)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Definitely one step further than their debut, A Quick One (released as Happy Jack in the US the following spring of 67)s not great as some would have you believe, but it's definitely holding a few keys for the future of rock and "prog" in its content. Graced with a slick and shinny Yellow Submarine-type of cartoon artwork on its sleeve, the album shows a few weaknesses, mostly because of its concept, and having all four musicians writing their own track separately, which was not a very bright idea as some achieved the goal effortlessly, others didn't.

If Entwistle (the group second writer behind Townsend) manages quite fine the entertaining Boris The Spider and Whiskey Man (and its signature of brass instrument in the background), it must be said the Moon's Cobweb (a bizarre walk around mikes) and I Need You (with an interesting harpsichord outro that could've served as a start of a new song) are still correct, Daltrey's song See My way (laden with Entwistle brass) is also average, but even Townshend two shorter tracks are lacking the oomph. Gladly there is the 9-mins mini-rock opera about a wife's infidelity. Generally over-rated, this track does throw the premises of Tommy, but there is a ocean to cross before this tidbit becomes the rock opera of Tommy, it is effectively ahead of its time. The unsung hero of the album is definitely Moon the Loon that was probably the most active in finding new sounds and echoes and using whatever dinosaurian studio techniques to use it as an instrument. Remember that the first 8-track studio is for the following summer.

One of the (probably many) re-issue of this album holds the content of the Ready-Steady Who EP that includes a Barabara Ann version and a bunch of B-sides of non-album singles, but unfortunately not their A-sides. Again given the group's first records appearing very early in the site's time frame makes The Who groundbreaking, but progheads will find that much to

Report this review (#235133)
Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I actually bought this album only for the 9+ minute medley A Quick One, While He's Away but unfortunately found it less entertaining compared to the excellent live version performed at The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The music is still here but I lack the magnificent level of energy and the fact that there isn't any transition between the sections make it completely inferior.

As for the rest of the album, the whole idea of letting all the members write their own original material has never really worked in a band setting especially since Pete Townshend is a genius who never needed competition in that area from the rest of the band. Having said that I still consider John Entwistle's penned Boris The Spider to be a quite enjoyable little tune. So Sad About Us is also a very nice track that I enjoy despite its obvious Beatlesque sound might have felt dated even by 1966-standards!

This album has basically a couple of fun tracks but the overall experience leaves a lot to be desired of, especially considering the music this band performed later on in their career. A Quick One is a good but non-essential release from the Who.

**** star songs: Run Run Run (2:42) Boris The Spider (2:28) So Sad About Us (3:01) A Quick One, While He's Away (9:10)

*** star songs: I Need You (2:24) Whiskey Man (2:57) Heatwave (1:54) Cobwebs And Strange (2:29) Don't Look Away (2:51) See My Way (1:52)

Report this review (#258847)
Posted Friday, January 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As far as Who albums one, A Quick One is a really *weird* one. Particularly side one - on which five of the six songs weren't written by Townshend, and four of them don't have Roger Daltrey on lead vocals. But actually, the songs gel together quite well - the first four all of them have a slightly off-kilter, gritty, even slightly dark tone shot through with flashes of humour here and there (often thanks to John Entwhistle - Boris the Spider and Whiskey Man sit perfectly halfway between creepy and funny), until the triumphant cover of Heat Wave comes on and breaks through the booze-and-pills-induced haze with a little sunshine. (Keith Moon's Cobwebs and Strange, closing off the side, is a bit of silliness acting as a cover for some furious drum solos.)

The other side sees Daltrey finally returning to the mic and Townshend taking the lead on songwriting (aside from See My Way, which is by Daltrey and, bless him, might be a little explanation why he didn't write more). The first three songs are fairly light R&B numbers that are a bit closer to the material on My Generation - the best is probably So Sad About Us - but then you have A Quick One (While He's Away), famed as Townshend's first flirtation with the idea of rock opera.

Musically speaking we're talking mid-60s rock with psych influences, though a few notches heavier and just a little faster than many of their contemporaries could manage. Both the recording quality and songwriting have come on leaps and bounds since the previous album, and the Who's own bizarre personality at last shines through - whereas on My Generation I thought they were a bit too similar to the other British Invasion groups of their era. Comparable to little else from the same time period - aside from, perhaps, Brown Shoes Don't Make It by Frank Zappa, the song is obviously important to prog fans because, whilst no individual segment is particularly complex, the overall effect achieved by taken all of these little songlets and stringing them together into one piece is undeniably influential on later prog epics - prior to A Quick One and Brown Shoes, long tracks on rock albums tended to be one song stretched out to epic lengths rather than a whole bunch of different tunes integrated into a single composition, as tends to be the norm for prog epics.

I can't in all honesty give this one a high rating, however, because whilst there's some great moments here and there there's also some clunkers - even a few parts of A Quick One aren't to my liking (usually the ones which borrow the heaviest from actual opera) - and to give full marks to an album with See My Way on it would be a travesty. Though A Quick One is undeniably important to the Who's continued development, at the same time it's a bit of a weird, directless beast judged on its own merits, with all the band members pulling in different directions and none of them quite reaching the full mastery of their particular compositional styles they would attain on subsequent releases.

Report this review (#445847)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'A Quick One' - The Who (4/10)

The Who's 'A Quick One' is a fairly overlooked album in the scheme of their career, and after giving it a listen, it isn't difficult. to see why. While the band's debut had some classic tracks of the British Invasion- most notably 'My Generation'- the band's second album is defined by it's generally loose and unfinished feel, lacking the sort of hits that would have made the record notable. With the record label wanting a quick album out of the new hitmakers (hence the title), each member in The Who was enlisted to write a couple of songs each, whereas that duty usually fell solely to guitarist Pete Townshend. The result of this rushed album writing and recording makes 'A Quick One' a very incoherent, inconsistent album, with some songs turning out quite good, and others being utterly forgettable. In any case, The Who does make a notable development in their sound and ambition here, and a couple of songs make the grade, although the album as a whole will likely disappoint someone looking for an immersive album experience.

Contrary to what one would think, the most memorable tracks on the record are not penned by Townshend, but rather by bassist Pete Entwhistle, who really makes a good impression with 'A Quick One'. The album as a whole is fairly light on memorable songwriting, but the two Entwhistle tracks penned here ('Boris The Spider' and 'Whiskey Man') are also the two best things that the album has going for it. While the other members of The Who would use these short and simple rock songs to recount stories of various romantic encounters, Entwhistle's tracks are quirky and twisted, using subject matter about ill-fated arachnids and mental illness and turning them into catchy and fun tunes. In this sense, it was to the album's benefit to be rushed, because otherwise, Entwhistle may not have been pressured into writing a pair of songs which are among the greatest that The Who have to offer from their early career.

These songs are generally very simple in both their writing and execution, rarely venturing out of basic chord progressions. The Who does show a sense of ambition here however, a French horn can be heard of several of these tracks, a marching band interlude, and the closing track here 'A Quick One, While He's Away' is a primitive attempt at a song suite, hinting at the band's progressive rock-leaning future. However, the parts to this nine minute track feel very disparate and don't work together nearly as well as they would have needed to in order to be a successful experiment.

Possibly a bit better of an album than The Who's debut, but there are far too many songs here that could go without mention to call it a good one.

Report this review (#463202)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Who were always ambitious musically, and A Quick One captures them at their most playful and light-hearted. The tunes are catchy and full of adrenalin. There are a few surprises unleashed as well. This is where the band threw off the shackles and just went for it. "Run Run Run" starts it off with some exciting R&B, and good harmonies. Best tracks of all are 'Boris The Spider', with it's heavy bassline and fun lyrics, (The line 'Never More Will He Crawl Round, He's embedded in the ground' is unforgettable!) "Whiskey Man", with more great melodies and lyrics, 'Cobwebs And Strange', which is a nutty anarchic, brassy mixture from the mind of Keith Moon, and the nine-minute title track, which is the genesis of Pete Townshend's rock opera ambitions. Though it comes across as a medley rather than a seamless whole, it is definitely proto-prog and a sonic participant in the pop art movement. In 1966, many artists took a leap forward and used their own imaginations rather than continue to rely on outside material. 'A Quick One' is a big part of that, and it marked a big step towards The Who's more sophisticated works as well as influencing other great bands to come. Good album!
Report this review (#610114)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Necrotica
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My Generation was more than just an album when it came out back in 1965... it was a game-changer. The way it mixed soft R&B covers and pop rock tunes with a previously-unheard hard rock edge and raw production was ingenious, and the affectionate nods to the Mod subculture were icing on the cake. It seems as though I'm exaggerating when I state that The Who's debut was a decade-defining piece of work, but it truly was. So how would these London boys follow it up? Well, how about giving songwriting roles to every band member while becoming a hell of a lot sillier in the process?

What came of this question was A Quick One, one truly bizarre and inconsistent foray into more cheery and poppy territory. Here, we get everything ranging from blues rock, quirky comedic tunes, the band's first "rock-opera" track," folk rock sections, and more. It becomes clear very quickly which musicians really shine in the songwriting department, however: Pete Townshend and John Entwistle. In fact, the latter created perhaps one of the band's most iconic and entertaining songs in the form of "Boris the Spider"; aside from containing vocals that likely (and probably inadvertently) influenced a legion of death metal singers, the song's cheesy horror lyrics just add to its fun camp value. Curiously, Entwistle's other contribution "Whiskey Man" is a pretty standard fast-paced blues rock track compared to the amount of personality "Boris the Spider" had, but it's still a decent addition nonetheless. Of course, just as with My Generation, Townshend still manages to be the real driving force writing-wise. The title track, which is easily his best contribution on here, is an excellent prelude to the band's future rock operas; it also ends up being among the first progressive rock tunes with its varying sections and relatively long length of nine minutes. The whole thing is very elaborate, especially in terms of Roger Daltrey's vocal harmonies and Keith Moon's busy percussion, as the lyrics essentially give the listener a prelude to the story of the 1969 record Tommy. Seriously, this was some ambitious stuff in the mid-60s, especially considering the fact that it predates other proto-prog gems of the decade such as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Days of Future Passed.

Unfortunately, the biggest mistake of A Quick One was letting Keith Moon assist in any part of the songwriting process. He might be an amazing drummer, but his songs are seriously lacking compared to what the other members bring. First, we get an uninspired folky power ballad with "I Need You," which has some extremely obnoxious and raucous drumming during the chorus; it's so raucous that it literally overpowers the production itself. The other song he wrote might just be the single worst track to ever be released by The Who, that tune being "Cobwebs and Strange." Remember what I said about this album being really cheery? Well, "Cobwebs and Strange" basically manages to sound like a marching band performance at a Disneyland parade with its bright horns and stiff, angular drumming; that is, until the song turns into a disjointed mess of disparate musical ideas. The second half of the song is pretty much just a glorified Keith Moon drum solo, but it's not very engaging when combined with such an ugly jumble of instruments and styles. As for Roger Daltrey, his sole contribution "See My Way" is a decent pop song that thankfully tones down the dynamics of the album along with the previous Pete Townshend number "Don't Look Away." However, despite the weird mishmash of styles present in A Quick One, I have to give it credit for at least having some sort of overall focus and knowing what it is: a cheesy pop rock record. It often doesn't take itself too seriously, which is why incredibly fun songs like "Boris the Spider" and the title track were able to fit in so well with the experience as a whole. Basically, my advice is to enjoy the Townshend and Entwistle tracks and try to forget the Keith Moon tracks ever happened; I know that sounds harsh, but Moon is simply better off doing what he does best: drumming. In the end, if you don't want to stick with the familiar Who classics and want to delve into something a bit more quirky and strange, this is a pretty good bet. Despite how unusual and flawed it is, A Quick One is actually really fun and a refreshing oddball in the band's catalog.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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Posted Saturday, August 1, 2015 | Review Permalink

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