Towards the end of his career, Jon Entwistle formed the John Entwistle Project with longtime friend, drummer Steve Luongo, and guitarist Mark Hitt, both formerly of Rat Race Choir. This evolved into the John Entwistle Band, with Godfrey Townsend replacing Mark Hitt on guitar and joining harmony vocals.
Those of you who, like myself, are Who freaks will know that ‘The Ox’ was the nickname of the late, great John Entwistle. Entwistle was not only one of rock’s great bassists but he was also a songwriter and sometime singer. In fact, I featured his 1971 album Smash Your Head Against the Wall a few years back.
Goldmine: “During one of The Who’s many ’80s respites, Westchester, NY native and founding drummer of Rat Race Choir Steve Luongo crossed paths with Entwistle, kicking off a friendship that would last until the bassist’s untimely death in 2002.
During that time, Entwistle would create some of his most exciting work. Still, for many reasons, the music composed in the twilight of his life would remain unreleased until now, with Rarities Oxhumed – Volume One representing a previously unseen side of the legendary John Entwistle.
‘I had the distinct pleasure of working with John Entwistle for 15 years,’ said Luongo. ‘And I have been asked for over two decades since John passed if I would be releasing any material from the archives. I wasn’t sure about it for a long time because preserving John’s legacy is important to me.
It came down to the fans wanting to hear these rarities, and the timing of being introduced to Deko Entertainment was perfect, too. So, it seemed like the right time to do it. I want to preserve something by someone who brought me great joy.’
Oxhumed (named by Entwistle’s son) is a 13-track collection composed largely of songs by one of The Ox’s last ventures, the John Entwistle Band. If you come to this collection expecting that sounds even remotely like The Who, forget it. This is what I would call meat-and-potatoes rock.
I’ve listened to it and while not a great album, there’s some good playing on it. I believe the vocals are shared and there were a few times I swear it sounded like Phil Collins.
Let’s ease ourselves into this with Entwistle’s version of a tune that The Who routinely killed “Shakin’ All Over.” Some terrific solo Ox-age comes up at about 3:35.
Apparently Entwistle liked to draw too and they have the inevitable Deluxe Edition which includes some of his artwork. You will doubtless recognize the subject below:
I like this tune “Darker Side of Night.” It has an Ozzy-esque feel:
Certainly, you say, there must be a song or two on this album with one (or more) members of The Who. Well, yes there are two with Keith Moon and in fact, the tune “Bogey Man” kicks the album off. (The other one is called “Where Are You Going Now.”)
It contains some of that oddball humor that only the creator of “Boris the Spider” or “Fiddle About” could come up with along with some of those patented Moonie drum fills:
There’s even a completely ridiculous video:
Let’s end this Ox-fest with a tune featuring a title that virtually no guy has ever said to a woman, “I Wouldn’t Sleep With You.” (But which every guy not named George Clooney has heard at least once.)
I wouldn’t sleep with you
If you paid me
I wouldn’t sleep with you
If it would save me