jack rabid – the big takeover, issue #54, spring 2004

who’s not forgotten – we hate tribute lps so much, we’re shocked when one’s any good at all, let alone superb like who’s not forgotten! that its proceeds go to h.e.a.r., the hearing loss prevention charity created with a large grant from pete townshend, makes this all the more worthy. but it’s the nearly unwavering performances, mostly from a batch of no-name power-pop groups from new jersey and pennsylvania, that make it such a find.

as usual, half the groups stick to the customary singles and radio tracks, but most of them do great, unique versions. the lolas put ringing pop guitars into a sharp “the kids are alright” without sacrificing the weighty ballast, and man, do the dipsomaniacs do a hot garage rendition of who’s next’s “bargain!” the smithereenspat dinizio brings poignancy to “behind blue eyes” live, tommy conwell & those dipsomaniacs hit the r&b stomp highs of “long live rock,” cordalene wrench the comedy out of “i’m a boy,” taggart has high-octane fun with the dr. ruth-ian paternal advice of “pictures of lily,” and blank pages hit “substitute” hard. (guided by voices‘ live “baba o’riley” is alas poorly recorded, but the spirit is manifest. and glowfriends unplug and slow down “i can’t explain” even more than david bowie did on pinups 30 years ago, but win with lullaby harmonies.)

the nicer surprises are by big fans that know which non-hits to pluck. don’t miss the opening, crushing version of john entwistles’s finest tune, the immortal b-side “heaven and hell” by photon band. you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for an original who outtake, and that’s saying loads. likewise, kudos to bigger lovers for a choice look at the obscure who sell out outtake “glow girl” with a coda snatch of tommy’s “it’s a boy.” the bastards of melody really crank on quadrophenia’s “the real me,” nancy kalkow’s tommy track “1921” is likable, and you can’t go wrong with townshend’s three earliest masterpieces of pure pop, sell out’s “maryanne with the shaky hands” by chris richards, a quick one’s often-covered “so sad about us” (with some of “a quick one while he’s away”) this time by steve brown, and plays my generation-era “substitute” b-side “circles” as psychedelic pop by jeremy.

on the “forget it!” side, the contractions wreck “my generation” with a pointless monotone reworking that’s as welcome as last month’s milk, and grand fabric must be blind, deaf, and dumb to think anyone wants a fifth-rate post-keith moon-era dud like 1982 it’s hard’s “athena” again! not so bad, but less galvanizing are jim basnight’s too duplicative if decent “i can see for miles” and j. horndog’s ho-hum “boris the spider” (the late entwistle kicked this much harder), while the commons boogie-rock on the double entendre “squeeze box” is a little too trad bar band.

but with few taps of the skip button, the lp rates high marks. lord knows it’s usually hopeless to take on the towering originals of this incredible rock band and make them sound so fresh. it could only be done by committed fans who understand the who’s real fire/genius, to give us such a rousing one. who’s not forgotten is a gas, maybe the best tribute lp since the 1994 seattle-ified zombies one! (the big takeover)


andy – www.bigyawn.net, may 12, 2004

who’s not forgotten – look loyal bigyawn readers, we need to talk. i know you come to us for completely unbiased reviews, and, as pseudo-journalists, we have the right to give it to you straight. we can’t let our personal prejudices sway us from impartial reporting. that being said, there is something that I need to get off my chest, and i’ve put it off long enough. it’s time to clear my conscience: i despise tribute albums.

and how could i not? it’s a lose-lose situation, really. buy a tribute album because you love the band to which honor is being paid, and you get stuck with 20-odd lame ass versions of songs you love (does reel big fish’s version of “gigantic” ring any bells?). buy one because the so-and-so’s cover “this or that,” and you get the same outcome. either way, you’re fucked, and lord knows i’ve been suckered in by quite of few of both.

despite my preconceptions, you could do a lot worse than who’s not forgotten: fdr’s tribute to the who. forgiving a few weak tracks, this tribute album is downright enjoyable. filled with 21 tracks from a bevy of underground pop all-stars, who’s not forgotten manages to pay respectable praise to the who without ever trying to be more than just a tribute. in fact, many of the bands are happy handing in straight-forward versions of the classics, not flexing their creative muscle to “improve” a classic. the opening track, a rock-solid version of “heaven and hell” by philly’s photon band, provides a pretty good idea what the rest of the album will be like: the who covered by bands that just want to rock as hard as their idols did. while this doesn’t really lend itself to be a very surprising album, it’s still a good listen.

guided by voices, by far the biggest draw on this compilation, turns in a powerful live version of “baba o’riley,” but it’s the lesser known bands that really shine here. the lolas, hailing from alabama, have fun with a lively version of “the kids are alright,” complete with some pretty faithful keith moon drumming and wonderful harmonies. taggart give “pictures of pily” a fuller garage punch than the original had, and steve brown, the singer/songwriter behind the rigbees, offer a near perfect version of “so sad about us,” even throwing in a verse or two of “a quick one while he’s away” for good measure.

this formula isn’t always a winner. many of the tracks fade into the background because they are such faithful covers. “athena” was boring when the who wrote it, and grandfabric’s note-for-note cover doesn’t do anything to change that. and something about the dipsomaniacs take on “bargain” seems lifeless, especially in the lackluster vocals. overall, the album is fairly strong. things begin to go sour, however, when the bands try to give these songs their own feel. the only truly heinous example of this on who’s not forgotten is the contractions butchering of the who’s “my generation,” which winds up sounding like some pretentious punk rock opera gone astray. it quickly sends the album into a sharp downward spiral. by the time “i can’t explain,” turned into a moping song of longing by the glowfriends is over, you’ll wonder why they didn’t cut the album by two tracks.

if you’re a fan of the who, or even the power pop genre, you’ll be pleased with the album. it definitely delivers the goods, and, if you’re looking for a fun record, it’ll come through. however, don’t expect any surprises. (big yawn)

chris jordan – home news tribune, april 9, 2004

who’s not forgotten – in classic rock circles, the saying is that while led zeppelin were about sex, the who were all about anger.

anger, it seems, never grows old. there are signs that we are in the midst of still another who revival. the nu-metal band limp bizkit has a top-40 hit with the who’s 1971 single, “behind blue eyes,” and the who themselves are making news. the band — now just pete townshend and roger daltrey from the original lineup — will release a greatest hits record with two new tracks this year, and heading into the studio to record the band’s first all-new record in more than 20 years.

also, townshend and daltrey will tour with guitarist simon townshend, pete’s brother, long-time who sideman john “rabbit” bundrick on keyboards and zak starkey, ringo’s son, on drums, as the who this year.

who revivals come and go, but for some, their passion for the london mods never gets old. mick chorba of the trenton band the dipsomaniacs and face down records is one of those.

he attributes the current who revival to the resurgence of the garage rock sound.

“it seems like bands like jet and the hives have popularized the garage-y, stripped down sounds,” chorba said. “it’s going back to the mod scene, which seems to have a resurgence every dozen years.”

the mods were british kids in the 1960s who rode scooters and listened to american r&b. the who were the biggest band to come out of the scene, thanks to the 2 1/2-minute bursts of nervous energy that were their early singles.

heck, daltrey even stutters on “my generation.” not a lot of sex appeal going on there.

the who survived the decade intact — unlike many other ’60s bands — because they embraced the experimentation and the expansiveness of progressive rock, starting formally with 1969s’ “tommy” and reaching its apex a few years later on the “who’s next” album, which featured several lengthy tracks.

nowadays, the who has something for everyone, from the classic-rock geezer to the upstart garage rocker.

“in the 1970s, they established the rock ‘n’ roll big show and they played big arenas,” chorba said. “i think townshend and daltrey looked at the punk bands (in the late 1970s) and said that used to be us.”

the who story is filled with equal parts tragedy and triumph. In the late 1970s, drummer keith moon, regarded by many as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll drummer of all time, died of an overdose. then in 1979, 11 who fans were crushed to death at a show in cincinnati.

last year, townshend was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography. he was eventually cleared.

in 2002, bassist john entwistle died at 57. it was entwistle’s passing that prompted chorba to put together who’s not forgotten: fdr’s tribute to the who.

it’s a real treat. just about all the tracks channel the energy of the band, and most, pleasingly, stay true to blueprints of the original who songs. among the highlights are an explosive “the real me” by bastards of melody of west orange; a saucy “i’m a boy” by philadelphia’s cordalene; a crunchy “pictures of lily” by philly’s taggart; and an arena rock-ready “bargain” by chorba’s dipsomaniacs.

among the national acts contributing tracks to who’s not forgotten are jersey favorite pat dinizio, who performs a solo acoustic version of “behind blue eyes;” tommy conwell, who teams with the dipsomaniacs on “long live rock;” and indie gods guided by voices, who do a raucous “baba o’riley.”

it was guided by voices who hooked chorba up with the pete townshend-founded h.e.a.r., or hearing education and awareness for rockers. proceeds from the sale of who’s not forgotten will benefit h.e.a.r.

townshend has suffered hearing damage from his years of playing these songs.

tim sendra – all music guide

who’s not forgottenwho’s not forgotten: fdr’s tribute to the who is a tribute album that has two things going for it; a very strong lineup of modern-day power pop artists, and a wide-ranging approach that sees songs from the who’s entire career covered. from “my generation” and “the kids are alright,” all the way to “athena,” from the band’s last full-length album to date, it’s hard, the bands on who’s not forgotten offer up very faithful covers. the best tracks are turned in by the biggest names on the collection — the bigger lovers “glow girl,” the photon band’s and guided by voices’ impressive live take of “baba o’riley” — although some of the less well-known acts, like the lolas (“the kids are alright”), chris richards (“mary anne with the shaky hands”) and taggart (“pictures of lily“) do a nice job. the only songs that take liberties with the originals are at the very end of the disc: the contractions’ awful destruction of “my generation,” and glowfriends’ quite pretty take on “i can’t explain,” which takes the song into mazzy star territory. apart from those two songs, the tribute is sure to appeal to who fans, and fans of modern-day power pop. (proceeds of the sales of the disc go to h.e.a.r.; a non-profit group dedicated to fighting hearing loss. so when you buy the disc make sure you don’t play it too loud.) (all music guide)