Vinyl Record Reviews

The Who

Tommy
Classic Records/Track Record 613 013/4, two 33-RPM 200g LPs

Tommy Originally released in the UK in May 1969, Tommy is The Who's fourth studio album (excluding the compilation albums Magic Bus and Direct Hits). Tommy is a rock opera, telling the story of its eponymous protagonist who becomes psychosomatically deaf, dumb, and blind after witnessing the brutal murder of his mother's lover (in the 1975 movie version of Tommy, it is his father who is killed).

His parents try several cures, including a preacher who believes that Marilyn Monroe can heal and Gypsy, the acid queen. Exasperated, the parents go out and leave Tommy in the care of his relatives. His cousin, Kevin, bullies him and later his uncle Ernie sexually abuses him. Miserable throughout his childhood, the only solace Tommy found was playing pinball. He becomes the world champion, which brings his family fame and fortune.

A doctor advises Tommy's parents that there's nothing physically wrong with him, and that a suitable shock should cure him. This shock finally comes in the form of the breaking of a mirror that Tommy spends his time staring into blankly. Cured of his afflictions, Tommy believes himself to be a new messiah and starts a religious cult based around pinball.

Pressed on two thick 200g slabs of their Quiex SV-P (super vinyl profile) vinyl, Classic Records have done a great job of this release. The gatefold sleeve is made out of thick cardboard and has all the original artwork (including the lyric booklet), although the record pocket is a bit tight. An extra millimetre or two would make removing and returning the records much easier.

As for sound quality, the surfaces are very quiet. Considering the source material (i.e., a late-1960's commercial pop/rock record with no audiophile pretensions), this release compares well to an older pressing I have, having deeper bass and less splashy treble. Imaging is pretty much two dimensional though, with little depth. But that isn't surprising—and is probably to be expected—given the genre.

If you're looking for a pop/rock audiophile spectacular, look elsewhere. But if you're a fan of The Who, you should definitely check this one out.


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