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A Quick One

A Quick One (1966) is The Who's second album. American record company executives released the album under the title Happy Jack rather than the sexually suggestive title of the UK release.

The album was intended to be Pop Music (capital 'P'), a sonic participant in the Pop Art movement. The front cover is a Pop Art depiction of the band playing their instruments. The back cover is a black-and-white photo montage of the band members accompanied by a short personality sketch of each. A track listing, a couple of paragraphs touting the band, an ad for their first album, and a technical blurb are also crowded onto the back cover.

The blurb reveals the recording technology of the time by announcing "This is a high-fidelity record! For proper reproduction use RIAA or a similar Record Compensator setting."

Part of the marketing push for the album was a requirement that each band member should write at least two of the songs on it, so this of all the Who albums is the least dominated by Peter Townshend's writing.

Track List:

A Quick One (UK Release)Happy Jack (USA Release)
"Run Run Run""Run Run Run"
"Boris the Spider" (Entwistle)"Boris the Spider" (Entwistle)
"I Need You" (Moon)"I Need You" (Moon)
"Whiskey Man" (Entwistle)"Whiskey Man" (Entwistle)
"Heatwave" (Holland/Dozier/Holland)"Cobwebs and Strange" (Moon)
"Cobwebs and Strange" (Moon)"Don't Look Away"
"Don't Look Away""See My Way" (Daltrey)
"See My Way" (Daltrey)"So Sad About Us"
"So Sad About Us""A Quick One While He's Away"
"A Quick One While He's Away""Happy Jack"

All songs are by Peter Townshend except as noted. Notice that Daltrey did not actually meet the two-song requirement.

"Heatwave" is a cover of a song by Martha and the Vandellas[?] that was very popular in the UK at the time. For the USA release "Heatwave" was dropped and "Happy Jack" was added at the bottom of the track line-up.

Though this is deemed one of the weakest of Who albums it is still notable in several regards. "Boris the Spider" became identified as "the John Entwistle song" and was still performed live decades later; in later years photos of John almost always show him wearing a spider necklace.

"Happy Jack" was quirky in both lyrics and sound, but was popular nonetheless and has aged much better than anything else on the album other than "Boris".

"A Quick One While He's Away" was Townshend's first move toward the production of the Rock operas that he is so much noted for. Though it is a simple medley of song fragments the band came to refer to it as their "mini-opera", and on the remastered CD release of their Live at Leeds album Townshend can be heard introducing it as "Tommys parent".

The album's engineering produced a mushy sound that could not even be cured by the remastered[?] CD release, and for reasons described above the songwriting is weak in comparison to the usual standard for Who albums. However, a careful listen reveals that most of the songs have merit. A notable instance is "A Quick One While He's Away", which was performed semi-live for The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus[?] film. The performance somehow manages to come across as cute and aggressive at the same time. Whether on film or audio the take is ravishing. Legend among Who fans holds that the the film was never released because the Who's take so much upstaged everyone else. (The film, made in 1968, finally came out on video in 1995. The track can also be heard on the soundtrack of Jeff Stein[?]'s film The Kids are Alright[?].)

"Happy Jack" and "A Quick One While He's Away" were performed live at the Leeds concert in 1970 and can be heard on the remastered CD release of Live at Leeds.

Editions:

[1966] Reaction 593 002
Original UK LP release. Titled as A Quick One, with cover and track listing as given above. Producer: Kit Lambert[?]

[1967] Decca DL4892 (mono) / DL 74892 (stereo)
Original USA LP release. Retitled as Happy Jack, with cover and variant track listing as given above. Producer: Kit Lambert[?]

[19??[?]] MCAD-31331 (ISBN 7673-11331-2)
Original CD release (AAD). Double titled as A Quick One (Happy Jack). Original cover (except for the title) on the front; simple track listing on the back. Standard MCA silver label with title and track listing. The tracks are as on the original UK release, plus USA-style "Happy Jack" added at the end. The front insert folds out for a somewhat modified version of the original back cover, another copy of the CD's track listing, and some spamish advertisements for other MCA CDs. Producer: Kit Lambert[?]. Executive Producer: Chris Stamp[?].

[1995] MCAD-11267 (ISBN 08811-12672)
Remastered CD release (ADD). Title reverts to A Quick One. Original cover on the front; portrait of the band with "The W H O" painted on their faces on the back. Custom black disk label with "the who" written over arrows and a plain title. The tracks are as on the original UK release, plus 10 bonus tracks. Includes an acoustic version of "Happy Jack", but not the version from the original USA release. The cover insert is a 10 leaf booklet including extended credits, facsimiles of period posters and articles, an article and track background information by Chris Stamp[?], the front and back covers of the Ready Steady Who EP of 1966, and period photos of the band. (Most of the tracks from the EP show up as bonus tracks on this CD.) Producer: Jon Astley[?]. Executive Producers: Bill Curbishley[?], Robert Rosenberg[?], and Chris Charlesworth[?].

References:

  • Many of the factual details in this article are derived from the insert to the remastered CD of 1995, ISBN 08811-12672.



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