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Entwistle Comes Alive on CD

Double-album features twelve unreleased tracks

November 20, 2002 12:00 AM ET
When bassist John Entwistle died of a heart attack on June 27th on the eve of the Who's summer reunion tour, he left behind many aggrieved fans and several unfinished projects. Some of that business will be settled on November 26th with the release of Left for Live: Deluxe, a twenty-four-track expanded version of the John Entwistle Band's 1999 Left for Live album.

In addition to a healthy dose of Entwistle solo material ("My Size," "Love Is a Heart Attack," "Too Late the Hero"), Who songs ("The Real Me," "Boris the Spider") and classic covers ("Summertime Blues," "Shakin' All Over"), the album features a never officially released Keith Moon drum track behind "Bogeyman," the band's walk-on music.

"This is something John and I planned to do before he died," said Entwistle's long-time friend and drummer, Steve Luongo, who produced the album following Entwistle's death. "I had listened to board mixes and there was no rush about it [at the time]. We thought the expanded version was a great opportunity to recreate a full one of our shows so people could hear what the band sounded like live. I re-sequenced things and added his stage chatter from different shows, because that was half the fun of it, how loose he was on stage. He was a very different guy in his own band than when he was with the Who."

The album chronicles more than fifteen different dates from the 1998-99 Left for Dead: The Sequel tour by the band -- Entwistle, Luongo, guitarist Godfrey Townsend (no relation to the Who's Pete) and keyboardist Gordon Cotton. It tacks twelve previously unreleased songs onto the 1999 original.

"This album is the best representation of this band that exists in the world," Luongo said. "And it lays to rest that whole 'quiet one' thing. John always used to say that when the Who were first taking off, Keith was the maniac, Roger [Daltrey] was the face and Pete [Townshend] was the intellectual, but nobody knew what to do with the bass player, so they made him the quiet one. Well, he wasn't, and you'll hear that on this album, which is what John intended."

In addition to his thundering bass lines, Entwistle's signature dark humor is all over the set, none of it more chilling than in the introduction to "Darker Side of Night." "This song is probably the last song I ever wrote," Entwistle says of the track from the never officially released Vanpires soundtrack album. Luongo quickly corrects his pal, saying, "most recent song . . . let's hope it's not the last." In an ironic twist the morbid bassist would have loved, Luongo says, it was the last completed song Entwistle penned on his own.

Earlier this year, Entwistle teamed with Luongo to write a dozen songs for possible inclusion on a potential Who album. Luongo said he is also considering recording one of the scotched Who songs for the debut record from his new band, Torque. Another Entwistle Band studio album might also eventually be released, composed of a least a dozen songs recorded for a never-aired second season of the syndicated Vanpires animated show.

In the meantime, Luongo is editing an Entwistle documentary he shot with Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer, Bill. "It covers his life from the time he was three years old and dancing on tables at a working man's club to how he was feeling about going out on tour with the Who this summer," said Luongo of An Ox's Tale, which has not yet secured a distributor.

Left For Live: Deluxe track listing:

Bogeyman
Horror Rock (Nightmare)
The Real Me
Sometimes
My Size
You
Darker Side of Night
Love is a Heart Attack
Success Story
Trick of the Light
Cousin Kevin
Under a Raging Moon
Boris the Spider
905
Had Enough
Endless Vacation
I'll Try Again Today
Whiskey Man
Too Late the Hero
Young Man Blues
Shakin' All Over
Heaven & Hell
Summertime Blues
My Wife

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