"Some customer reviews here may prove misleading to some other customers. While Iron Man is a perfectly enjoyable and well executed piece of Townshend work, it is a minor one. Who and Townshend fans need to understand that this is a piece of musical theater based on children's literature. It features several guest vocalists and only one track that can really stand alone (Friend is a Friend)."
The Space Dragon Meets The Godfather
PHILIP S WOLF | SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA. USA | 10/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a Musical, Pete adapted from the Childrens Books of Author, Ted Hughes. Twelve Songs are Featured, 47 Minutes in Length. With the Authors Blessing, Pete records a Honest and Faithful Version of this Classic Story.
From Jazz Great, Nina Simone, Blues Legend, John Lee Hooker and John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey, Quite a cast has been assembled here. "I Won't Run Anymore" opens this Disc and sets the Tone, the Musicians are in Top Form, Simon Phillips on Drums, Chucho Merchan on Bass and Rabbit on Piano are the Foundation along with Pete's Guitar Work & Synthesisers. "Dig" and "Fire" are the WHO songs that attracted most folks to this Work. And as this was Released just prior to The Who's Tour of America, both were featured in the Live Show. "Dig" stood out as a Great Tune in the Live Concert, but "Fire" was less sucessful (As was "Love Hurts" by The Everly Brothers) and it wasn't Played every night of the Tour. The Who songs show the Band in Fine Form and indeed Still Alive, Roger's Vocals are of Note as they are some of his Best on Record. Since "Iron Man" DOESN'T sound like a WHO Record, the Band had evolved into what was known as: "The Who Big Band" with Brass, a large Backing Chorus, extra Percussion and a Lead Guitar Player Named Steve Bolton was duplicating Pete's parts. Except for "Magic Bus", Pete stuck to Acoustic Guitars.
Pete, wanted his Solo Material featured in the Concerts to give: "The Iron Man" a larger Audience (So, to keep the Peace AND get Pete back on the Road) John & Roger went along, whilst Pete Pulged his Record to the Press. The Record DID benefit from all this BUT it recieved mixed reviews because now it had "The Who" stamp, place upon it.
Now, Two Decades on everyone remembers The Tour, less remember this Record, and that's a Shame as it's really Good. One of Pete's Best Songs: "A Friend Is A Friend" was a Minor Hit (And a Key Link in the Story here). The two John Lee Hooker Tunes are a Relevation, and my Favorite track: "Over The Top" is kinda like The Delta Blues meets The Who, "Sell Out", it's Totally unique and Finely Crafted (As are ALL the songs here). Again, it is very different from what the Fans had expected. That said, this Record is one of the Main Reasons that The Who are still Active in Touring and Producing Records.
The Iron Man's Story is told in the enclosed Book, and by linking the lyrics to the Narrative (unlike "Tommy") the Story is easy to Follow. As this Piece was created for the Stage, I wouldn't count out Pete to return to it for a proper Staging for the public. This is an Overlooked Gem of a Record...FOUR STARS !!! "
This album is underrated because...
whipitgood | 02/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This album represents two things: 1) the first new "Who" tracks (featuring Roger Daltrey/John Entwistle) to surface after their dissolution and subsequent farewell tour in 1983, and 2) the first new Pete Townshend studio release in four years (the previous one being "White City" in 1985).
As such, expectations were very high for both Pete Townshend individually and the Who collectively. Fans were forced to come to grips with a number of realities with this album:
1) Pete Townshend's hearing loss had limited his output to some degree 2) Pete Townshend is sometimes whimsical with when and how he chooses to apply his artistic ability, and does not consistently bow to what is fashionable with the general populous OR what his fans have come to expect. This project falls somewhere in-between those extremes. 3) This album doesn't really qualify as a "Who" album, nor does it qualify as a "Pete Townshend: Former Member of the Who" album. 4) Pete Townshend was settling into his role as a balding, middle-aged elder statesman at this point (saying goodbye to the "Brilliant Blues" as it were).
I have enormous respect for Pete Townshend as a songwriter, producer, singer and guitarist/pianist. Anyone who has ever listened to his demos (via the "Scooped" series) understands the weight of his contributions to both "The Who" in particular and popular music in general.
Because I am a true fan of his work, I am open-minded to his forays into unfamiliar territory. When I listen to his recordings, I surrender myself to his musical judgment, with the hopes of discovering something new and worthwhile. It is because of this approach that I was able to truly enjoy the "Iron Man" disc, although it is an eclectic group of songs to be sure.
Without putting TOO much thought into it, I would say that this collection of tunes is sort of a "Tim Rice meets Mannheim Steamroller" thing, with a couple of "Who" tracks thrown in (which stack up well against most of 1982's "It's Hard") and some moderately gritty performances from John Lee Hooker and Nina Simone. I've heard it said that the songs lack a sense of melody and are "overwrought". I think this was a conscious choice by Pete, because he was trying to create something with that ambiguous new-age-jazz feel. Many soundtracks are heavy on ambiguous-sounding mood music and interesting snippets that don't seem to go anywhere. This disc is no exception.
If you can except this title on it's own terms, then you will probably grow to like it. If you are expecting to hear a follow up to Townshend's "Empty Glass", "Chinese Eyes" or "White City", then you will be disappointed. If you are expecting to hear "The Who" at their peak (1969-1973) then you will be even more disappointed. Try to relax and accept this piece of work for what it is."