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The Who - A Quick One CD (album) cover

A QUICK ONE

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

2.95 | 160 ratings

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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.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |

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