MFSL 1-115 Face Dances
Produced by Bill Szymczyk
Released on March 1981
UK CHART POSITION #2 . . . US CHART POSIITON #4
Find it at GEMM
MFSL 1-115 cover  

A remarkably tuneful record (now minus Moon) designed to rinse the collective bad taste out of everyone’s mouth. The prospect of The Who’s demise seemed to light a fire under Pete Townshend, who first channeled his energies into a new solo album (Empty Glass) and, finding a receptive public, Face Dances. Of course, this time there’s something missing: the energy, the anger, the warmed-over teenage angst are absent, replaced by a maturity and songcraft that somehow let Townshend’s contributions overshadow the rest of the band. The only two tracks that really rock are from John Entwistle, “The Quiet One” and “You.” Here, Roger Daltrey and Entwistle rumble like thugs -- even new member Kenney Jones gets into the action. Otherwise it’s an unusually mannered album, primped to a pleasant appearance by producer Bill Szymczyk (best known for his work with The Eagles). Townshend is far too talented a songwriter to fall into bland pop pitfalls, spiking songs like “Another Tricky Day” and “You Better You Bet” with biting commentary and flashes of brilliance, yet it did seem that Szymczyk had smoothed out too many of the rough edges. The result is an album of sometimes dark subjects (“How Can You Do It Alone,” “Did You Steal My Money”) that come across remarkably light. Maybe that was the intent all along with The Who Part 2, or perhaps the band had dropped their compass in the confusion. Whatever the reason, Face Dances holds the dubious distinction of being a very good album that few thought made a particularly good Who album. If this had simply carried Townshend’s name, critics would have been delighted, as it’s a better album than Empty Glass. Still, audiences were reluctant to let go of the band’s coat, inducing an encore (It’s Hard) by giving Face Dances such a warm reception. Both albums represent something of a postscript to the tale of The Who, but for many Who Are You was a cliffhanger that required some sort of closure. FYI: among Mobile Fidelity pressings this is a lame duck, so save your money for the expanded CD reissue.

MFSL 1-115 back cover MFSL 1-115 lyric insert
MFSL 1-115 back cover MFSL 1-115 lyric insert

TRACK LISTING

  1. YOU BETTER YOU BET    5:36
  2. DON'T LET GO THE COAT    3:43
  3. CACHE CACHE    3:57
  4. THE QUIET ONE    (John Entwistle)    3:09
  5. DID YOU STEAL MY MONEY    4:10
  6. HOW CAN YOU DO IT ALONE    5:26
  7. DAILY RECORDS    3:27
  8. YOU    (John Entwistle)    4:30
  9. ANOTHER TRICKY DAY    4:55

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. I LIKE NIGHTMARES
  11. IT'S IN YOU
  12. SOMEBODY SAVED ME
  13. HOW CAN YOU DO IT ALONE (LIVE)
  14. THE QUIET ONE (LIVE)    (John Entwistle)

    All songs written by Pete Townshend unless noted

CREDITS

ROGER DALTREY -- vocals
JOHN ENTWISTLE -- bass
KENNEY JONES -- drums
PETE TOWNSHEND -- guitar, backing vocals
Rabbit (John Bundrick) -- help and inspiration (9)
Billy Nicholls -- backing vocals
Bill Szymczyk -- engineer
Allan Blazek -- engineer
Clive Barker -- paint box, painting
Peter Blake -- sleeve concept and design, painting
Gavin Cochrane, Brian Aris -- back sleeve photography and reference for the portraits
Richard Evans -- graphics
Paul Hutchings -- rostrum camera photography
Bill Jacklin, Tom Phillips, Colin Self of Norwich, Richard Hamilton, Mike Andrews, Allen Jones, David Inshaw, David ockney, R.B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield, Joe Tilson, Patrick Procktor, David Tindle -- paintings

return to THE WHO discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK March 1981 Polydor LP/CS WHOD/WHODC 5037 inner sleeve
US March 1981 Warner Bros. LP/CS HS 3516 poster, lyric sleeve
CAN March 1981 Warner Bros. LP XHS 3516 poster, lyric sleeve
GER 1981 Polydor LP 2311 065  
NET 1981 Polydor LP 2302 106  
US 1984 Mobile Fidelity LP MFAL 1-115 original master recording, lyric insert
US 1988 MCA LP/CD/CS MCA/MCAD/MCAC-25987  
UK May 21?, 1997 Polydor CDX 537 695 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US/CAN June 3, 1997 MCA CDX MCAD-11634 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2000 Polygram Int'l CDX POCP-9207 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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