05 June 2006

Pete Townshend & John Williams - Won't Get Fooled Again

Island
12WIP6598
1979




The Secret Policeman's Ball was a comedy/music fundraiser for Amnesty International. The four shows at Her Majesty's Theatre, London ran on consecutive days from 27th-30th June 1979. Two live albums came out from the gigs, one comedy one music.

Performers included Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Connolly and most of the Monty Python team for the comics, and Pete Townshend, Tom Robinson, Neil Innes and John Williams in the muso corner.

Incidentally, that's the British classical guitarist and then Sky member John Williams, not the guy who does the music for all the Spielberg movies.

One of these days I'll sort out doing a Glad To Be Gay month, putting up the dozen or so released versions of Tom Robinson's masterpiece (the Secret Policeman version is particuarly good, the first updated lyric and delivered with more venom than on any other).

But for now, Pete Townshend's startling acoustic Won't Get Fooled Again. It's credited to the unlikely combo of Townshend and Williams, but you have to strain to hear anything that could be the latter fret-fingerer.

Not that it matters. The real glory is hearing Townshend's masterful riffing unaccompanied. For all his electric powerchordery, it's that clipped staccato approach, that tight twitchy tension that grips you so hard.

These are tight, mean hard riffs right in your face. The sparse setting makes them all the more powerful in the same way that a psychotic killer creeping up behind you and whispering in your ear is much scarier than seeing them come screaming from 800 metres away.

I'm this far in and I haven't even mentioned that this is one of his greatest lyrics; whilst not shying away from the late 60s revolutionary fervour, he points to the way all changes of leadership are just a switch of the brand name on your shackles.

A couple of years back there was a documentary on Jagger's latest tedious solo effort, and it showed Townshend recording a guest guitar spot. On the album it's buried politely in the mix, but on the TV show it had Pete in the studio, greying and a tad rotund, yet as soon as his guitar was on it was a loud, violent ak-ak-ak-ak of power and control that blew your head off. This track has much the same effect.

[MP3 deleted to make room for new ones. Sorry!. Leave a note with your email address in the comments if you want me to send it to you. I've also encoded Pinball wizard and Drowned from the same album, if you want either of those too just say]

29 comments:

Milarepa said...

Great song blog Friend, thanx you very much...
PD: La Granja's song is s dead link. please repost...:)

merrick said...

Thanks for pointing out the broken link - it's fixed now.

Anonymous said...

My friend put me onto your site, he thinks very highly of your website and the music you post. I've heard the tracks - brilliant! Unfortunately this one has quite a few disruptions (record skips - too much dust on the stylus perhaps?). Would it be possible to upload it again? Thanks!

merrick said...

Hey Anonyperson,

someone else complained about the glitchiness of it so I re-uploaded it. However, as you've complained since then I'm guessing the problem's in the encoding.

I've re-encoded it from scratch and uploaded it, so it should be fine now. Thanks a lot for pointing it out.

Jim said...

Wow, I hadn't heard this in years. I loved this LP, and always wished it came out on CD. The Tom Robinson performances were particularly great as well. Hope you'll post those sometime, but thank you greatly for this posting.

Anonymous said...

Merick,
I was really pleased to be reminded of this excellent performance so I have cleaned up your mp3 (removed pops, clicks & crackles). It's not perfect but allows the performnce to shine through. If you would like a copy let me have an address and I will e-mail it.

merrick said...

Anonymous cleaner-up, thanks a lot. Drop me a line via here and we'll sort out getting that clean version online.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I spun this record on the turntable for the first time in a good while recently. The song was not over before I was asking myself how I could have left the record on the shelf so long. They don't make Pete Townsends like they used to.

Anonymous said...

John Williams English! I don't think so cobber, try Australian!!!

Anonymous said...

Great blog, thank you. Please, please, please repost this--I'd gotten it from you when first posted, then the hard drive with my music library was stolen and I just can't find it anywhere else. Thank you so much in advance.

merrick said...

Anonyperson,

I can't repost things due to server sapce, but I'll happily email this (or any other) MP3 to anyone. Just leave your email address in the Comments and I'll send you the file (via transferbigfiles.com - you get sent a link, no catch, and so your inbox doesn't get overloaded)

Anonymous said...

That's very generous of you, Merrick, and I really appreciate it. Do you have a private email address to which I could send my email address to avoid splashing it here? Once again, many thanks.

merrick said...

I didn't take it as ungrateful. I do wonder if the prospect of elaving an address puts some people off. You can (and many do) leave it in a format that can't be harvested by spambots (eg writing nameATdomainDOTcom or somesuch).

I've toyed witht he idea of deleting addresses in as a way of protecting email addresses, but they commonly come with interesting comments that I'd like to leave up, and I've no way of just editing somoeone else's comment to delete the address but leave the comment intact.

Hmm.....

Anyway, I'll send you the file via transferbigfiles.com when I@m next at home.

Anonymous said...

Got the link, thank you very much for a great post and a terrific site. If you wanted to delete the comment with the email address in it you certainly have my permission. And I'll be back to the site often...

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

I am seeking "Won't get fooled again" from this phenominal albaum.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Many thanks...

merrick said...

Charlie, see the 'Deleted Tracks' bit in the sidebar.

Basically, give me your email address and I'll send it to you via Transferbigfiles.com (then delete the post with the email address so it doesn't get harvested by spambots).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sending the link to the song! It looks like you've already deleted my post so we're all good. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks!

Leslie

Anonymous said...

Just to say a big thank you for posting these 3 tracks, all are wonderful songs with PT's acoustic guitar playing a marvel to listen to.

Hopefully you'll post Tom Robinson one day.

Nik

merrick said...

Glad you appreciate it, Nik.

I can do better than posting Tom Robinson, mind.

He updated the lyrics of Glad To Be Gay many times over the years, releasing live versions with the new words.

I'm currently making a website with all the versions as MP3s, the lyrics transcribed, changes highlighted and their references explained, and a big interview with Tom about the song and the social and political circumstances it came from.

Should be online in Aprilish I reckon.

http://gladtobegay.net/

David said...

Merrick,
Thanks so much for sending me these 3 songs, I really appreciate it.

David

alw said...

I got my file today -- Thanks so much for sending!
--Andrew

Rex said...

Greetings,
Requesting a link.
Thanks Mate

Cheers.
Rexxx

merrick said...

Rex - needs somewhere to send it *to*, mate!

See the 'Deleted Tracks' bit in the sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Received my files ... Thank you & a Merry Christmas.

Stephen

Jay said...

Thanks. Any chance that I can receive the links?

merrick said...

Jay - see the 'Deleted Tracks' bit in the sidebar. Put your email address in the comments (I wopn't publish it) and I'll send you the track via transferbigfiles.com

Dumpty said...

I'd love the links!

merrick said...

Dumpty, I'll gladly send you the MP3s, but you need to give me an address!

See the 'deleted tracks' bit in the sidebar.