Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane

Rough Mix, Pete Townshend, Empty Glass
Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane

Two important Townshend solo albums have received their long-awaited vinyl reissue. Internal friction gnawed at the Who in the mid ’70s as they focused on outside projects; Pete Townshend was tapped to produce an album by Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane that turned into a collaboration. While 1977’s Rough Mix isn’t entirely cohesive, it’s the sound of rock royalty having fun. Guests include John Entwistle, Eric Clapton, Boz Burrell, and Charlie Watts. The title track lets the guitars loose, with Clapton on lead.

1980’s Empty Glass – superior to Who albums of the same era – was Townshend’s powerful reaction to punk and a host of personal problems. On vinyl, FM staple “Rough Boys,” retains its glassy, shimmering chords and sexually provocative lyrics. “Let My Love Open the Door” delivers buoyant pop, punk beats and cutting guitar dominate the rocker “Jools and Jim,” and aggressive guitar parts highlight “Empty Glass.”

These reissues utilize Abbey Road’s half-speed mastering (an alluring feature for audiophiles) and sound quality is excellent. Rough Mix is best, as the warmth and clarity of the instruments is outstanding. On Empty Glass, guitar, bass, and piano leap out of the grooves. These are must-have LPs for Townshend fans.

This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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