Odd & Sods was issued to combat the proliferation of Who bootlegs and to fill some time while the group worked on the theatrical version of their rock opera Tommy. John Entwistle was given the task of assembling some rare tracks, B-sides and unused material. The finished product, issued in September 1974, may not have been of the quality of Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, but it was still a very solid album, proving that even Who rejects were better than most of the music that was being issued at the time.
It should be noted that the CD reissue is very different than the original release as it contains 23 tracks in contrast to the 11 which comprised the 1974 vinyl edition. Eight of the tracks were previously unreleased in CD form and, while more is not always better, in this case it proves quite interesting. The only real issue I have with the CD is that it is not loyal to the original sequence of the tracks. They are interspersed among the additional songs, which take away from the intent and feel of the original release. I would have preferred that the bonus tracks were added to the end of the album.
Anytime John Entwistle stepped forward there were always surprises and, on this album, he certainly lived up to his reputation. I was amused that since he was in charge, he led off with his own song, “Postcard.” There are very few bad Entwistle tracks anyway, but this one is very good. His steady bass pushed the song along. In addition, his choices of “Pure and Easy” and “Naked Eye” were outstanding as they were equal to almost anything that The Who had produced up until that point.
The CD bonus tracks also unearthed some rare gems, including a studio version of “Summertime Blues,” which retained much of the energy of The Who’s classic live performances. “Love Ain’t For Keeping” is a longer version than the one that appears on Who’s Next. The Mose Allison tune, “Young Man Blues,” was another discovered studio version. The two Holland, Dozier, Holland penned tracks, “Leaving Here” and “Baby Don’t You Do It” show an early Who, back when they tended to record cover songs.
In the final analysis of Odds & Sods, in its original incarnation of 1974 and the CD reissue, the album proved a valuable addition to The Who’s catalog. It may not go down in history as one of their best albums, but it does give a nice glimpse into the depth of their legacy.