SD 38-149 All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
Produced by Chris Thomas
Released on June 1982
UK CHART POSITION #32 . . . US CHART POSITION #26
Find it at GEMM
SD 38-149 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I f you’ve ever been collared by someone who just wouldn’t stop talking, you’ll be better prepared for All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. The Who were a band of action, but Pete Townshend on his own overanalyzes, overscrutinizes and overstates his emotions, overshooting his audience in the process. It’s too bad that this album numbs the listener so early, because isolated moments on here are brilliant, from “The Sea Refuses No River” to “Somebody Saved Me.” Many people weren’t inclined to play this album often, and so the more subtle arrangements never managed to weave their magic; radio stations salvaged “Slit Skirts” from the bookshelf and let the rest burn. If it’s not his best album (and it’s not), Chinese Eyes is still quintessential Townshend: the insecure poet debilitated by his own failings but finding hope in the light at the end of the tunnel. Not surprisingly, the album sounds a lot like It’s Hard, released by The Who three months later. And while some of The Who connections are obvious (“Face Dances Part Two,” “Stardom In Acton” re-cast as “I’ve Known No War”), Pete’s clearly trying to be himself on this album. The trouble is, a lot of Who fans didn’t want to watch their hero pick at his own wounds; self-deprecating is one thing, but self-immolating just weirds people out. And yet I find myself oddly captivated by Chinese Eyes’ flip-flopping between optimism and cynicism, like an internal dialogue being played out in a troubled but conscientious mind. It’s a thoughtful record, and some of the thoughts are dark, and some are deep. Fans who appreciate Townshend for who he is, and not who he was, will enjoy this in a different way than Empty Glass, but they will enjoy it.

SD 38-149 inner gatefold SD 38-149 back cover
SD 38-149 inner gatefold SD 38-149 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. STOP HURTING PEOPLE    3:53
  2. THE SEA REFUSES NO RIVER    5:56
  3. PRELUDE    (Pete Townshend/Andy Newman)    1:30
  4. FACE DANCES PART TWO    3:24
  5. EXQUISITELY BORED    3:41
  6. COMMUNICATION    3:18
  7. STARDOM IN ACTON    3:40
  8. UNIFORMS (CORPS D'ESPRIT)    3:41
  9. NORTH COUNTRY GIRL    (traditional arr. by Pete Townshend)    2:27
  10. SOMEBODY SAVED ME    4:53
  11. SLIT SKIRTS    4:51

    All songs written by Pete Townshend unless noted

CREDITS

PETE TOWNSHEND -- vocals, guitars and keyboards
VIRGINIA ASTLEY -- piano
MARK BRZEZICKI -- drums
TONY BUTLER -- bass
PETER HOPE-EVANS -- harmonica
JOHN LEWIS -- CMI Fairlight
JODY LINSCOTT -- percussion
POLLI PALMER -- tuned percussion
SIMON PHILLIPS -- drums
CHRIS STAINTON -- additional keyboards
Ann Odell -- brass arrangement (2)
Bill Price -- engineer
Chalkie Davies and Carol Starr -- photography, sleeve design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1982 Atco LP/CS K/K4 50889 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US June 1982 Atco LP/CS SD/CS 38-149 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
CAN 1982 Atco CS XSD/XCS 38-149 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
GER 1982 Atco LP ATC 50889  
JPN 1982 Atco LP P-11102 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US   Atco CD 38-149  
US October 1995 Atlantic CD 82812 digital remaster

 

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