GIVING IT ALL AWAY

My mate Steven (writer of the Vinyl Connection Hendrix posts) passed on a copy of the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ DVDs. For those unfamiliar with this revered TV music show, it ran from 1971 to 1988 in the UK, featuring an eclectic array of rock artists performing in a tiny studio. The DVDs include comments from various presenters reminiscing about their time as the face of the Test, and a smattering of musicians recalling their own and others’ exploits.

Across a few months, I’d slip a disc into the player during lunch breaks on ‘work from home’ days. Like all these things, there were moments of jaw-dropping amazement and others decidedly ho-hum. That’s what you get with ‘eclectic’.

One segment I was tempted to skip over was Roger Daltrey talking about his first solo album, but I let it run, Roger’s earlier comments having been self-deprecating yet sincere. This time he spoke about how he’d built this studio at his house (mansion, more likely) and was looking to have it used. A young singer-songwriter yet to release an album hired time to do some demos and Mr D was so impressed he laughingly suggested the diminutive musician write him some songs.

Quicker than you could say Just A Boy, Leo Sayer came back to Roger with a bagful of songs that The Who singer promptly committed to tape with the help of Sayer’s band. The result was Daltrey, the first solo outing of the man most famous for swinging his microphone out front of the ‘orrible ‘oo.

A week or two later I happened across a well-used copy of the album. The price was right, the memory fresh; the necessary folding money was exchanged.

Expectations were modest. 

But Daltrey delivers. His version of ‘Giving it all away’ (the song’s lyric provided the title of Leo Sayer’s own subsequent album) is simply excellent. So is ‘One man band’. In fact the whole album is a very pleasant surprise; a collection of soft-rock songs, neatly arranged and showcasing Roger’s slightly husky voice. The tone is sometimes soulful, sometimes playful, with moments of emotion (‘When the music stops’) as if the man responsible for delivering Pete Townshend’s lyrics for the previous ten years was relishing some elbow room. I found myself relishing it too, and in the unanticipated position of being more than happy to recommend Daltrey to you, if you come across it.

Any other fans of this 1973 LP out there?

22 comments

  1. I bought it when it came out but as it was, as you say, a collection of soft rock songs, I soon swapped it, probably for something ‘ard an’ ‘eavy. Haven’t heard it since then.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Contemporary enjoyment may well depend on how much you have mellowed in the intervening years, Paul. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like you may have misspelled Daltrey a few times in this article?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oopsies! Thanks Graham. The proofreader has been thrown under a magic bus.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Or under Ivor the Engine Driver’s train?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly. I won’t get fooled again.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. You can see for miles. They call you the seeker.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Actually, I’m the Bell Boy. I can’t explain.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t say I’m a fan of the LP (as I’m not familiar) – but I am a fan of the post all the same.
    Nice point about the not-so-great potential meaning of eclectic!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My old man had the LP and never played it. I’ve spun it a few times but can’t find anything to like aside for Roger’s voice. I started reading Mr Kibblesworth last night and it’s a fascinating write up of the early days. I’m in his skiffle period right now and I’d love to be able to have heard some of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a big fan of the “OO” i gobbled up everything they did together and solo. Yeah I like this one for some of the reasons you noted. Rogers albums always had some good cuts on them. Yeah and the Leo connection was a bit of a nice surprise. I was enjoying the “OO” tennis match with you and Aphoristical. The song is over?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers CB! Yes, Who-tennis over for now, unless of course we Join Together for another round!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to end this and say thanks and run run run over to another side of moon, maybe whistle a couple rymes then stop off at White City and empty a glass at the pub.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Done deal. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Never thought to check out Daltrey’s stuff, as I was never a big Who fan (only fairly recently been convinced to delve in and listen to stuff).

    I wasn’t aware of the connection to wee Leo. I’m more familiar with his stuff thanks to my parents (they had a few LPs when I was wee).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re The Who, I love almost all the singles, but never really considered them an album band, except for The Who Sell Out, which is brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I like that one *checks covers and nods* but I just never took to them previously. Last time I tried I was put off by Townsend’s, eh, ‘book research’ controversy. I only started to pay attention a year or so ago when a pal suggested they were his favourite ever band. Naturally I was intrigued as to why.

        I’m not convinced they were one of the best, but there are a load of enjoyable tunes (maybe more a singles band as you suggest).

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m late to the party, as usual, but I recognized the back of Roger’s head I could see on my phone. I have have this and many of Roger’s solo albums. “Daltrey” just seemed too sweet sounding for me.

    I have always liked 1977’s “One of the Boys” album. I prefer Roger’s version of Avenging Annie over Andy Pratt’s, the song’s originator. Now, I am not fond of Giddy, but it’s a McCartney song, so, no surprise. It reminds me of Wonderful Christmas Time.

    I will be listening to Roger the rest of my afternoon.

    Fantastic post, as always. I loved seeing Roger and his solo album. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Catching up on a backlog yet again! I’m not a huge Who fan and haven’t sampled Daltrey’s solo work, but I have to say that seeing Leo Sayer’s name in print for the first time in decades really made me smile. His “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” was a huge hit here when I was a teen. If the songs he penned for Mr. Daltrey are as enjoyable as that, it sounds like “Daltrey” is worth sampling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a pleasant pop album, JDB. No more, no less. Good luck working through the backlog; a measured approach is recommended, perhaps with sustaining coffees and small treats along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi

    I’ve just come across your blog. It looks great and I’m enjoying my first browse. I’m a music tragic with a stupid number of albums and also a player in a pub rock cover band who will always need that day job…

    I bought Daltrey when it came out. It was my introduction to Leo Sayer. I have loved The Who with a passion ever since buying Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in around 1971. I was surprised by Daltrey but the man can sing the phone book and as you note, the songs are great. For those who think Leo’s a bit of a joke I really recommend his first 2 albums, Silverbird and Just a Boy. Jammed full of great songs.

    Cheers, Dave

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Music tragics should feel right at home here, so welcome, Dave! Hope you enjoy browsing – comments on older posts are always a pleasure to receive.
      Agreed on the song craft of Leo S – though his slightly squeaky voice was always a bit of a problem for me!
      Anyway, thanks for joining in and once again, welcome.

      Like

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