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All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes [Bonus Tracks]
     

All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes [Bonus Tracks]

5.0 1
by Pete Townshend
 

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If Empty Glass, an album filled with songs that could have been performed by the Who, was a solo album because it was too revealing and personal, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes was a solo record since it's impossible to hear anyone but Townshend wanting to indulge in this deliberately arty, awkwardly poetic bullsh*t.

Overview

If Empty Glass, an album filled with songs that could have been performed by the Who, was a solo album because it was too revealing and personal, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes was a solo record since it's impossible to hear anyone but Townshend wanting to indulge in this deliberately arty, awkwardly poetic bullsh*t. Where his other albums showed an inclination toward classical-influenced art rock, this is defiantly modern art, filled with stagey prose, synthesizers, drum machines, angular song structures, and a heavy debt to new wave -- in short, Townshend's vision of what modern music should sound like in 1982. This kind of record taunts cynics and critics, being nearly impenetrable in its content even if the production and the music itself aren't all that inaccessible. The problem is, this is Arty with a capital A and Pretentious with a capital P, yet Townshend never seems embarrassed, never shies away from indulging himself in his own ego. While autobiographical to a certain extent (how else to read "Somebody Saved Me" or "Stardom in Acton," which drops the Who's home borough?), it's hard to tell exactly what he's on about. So it's easy to see why many listeners are exasperated instead of intrigued (or even admire its damn impenetrability), but it's also easy to get fascinated by the album's very obtuseness. This is very much of a piece and, apart from the gems "North Country Girl" and "Slit Skirts," it's hard to separate individual songs and see them as their own works. Indeed, separating All the Best Cowboys from its era is even difficult, since the album's surface glistens with new wave synths and guitars; this is clearly a record Townshend could only have made in 1982, emboldened by new wave, the reaction to Empty Glass, new sobriety, and general hubris. For these reasons, this is very much loved by a certain portion of Townsend's fan base -- and for the same reasons many, many people despise it. And any record that fractures an audience so considerably is worth a spin.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/29/2006
Label:
Hip-O Records
UPC:
0602498574751
catalogNumber:
000685702
Rank:
28773

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Stop Hurting People
  2. The Sea Refuses No River
  3. Prelude
  4. Face Dances, Pt. 2
  5. Exquisitely Bored
  6. Communication
  7. Stardom in Action
  8. Uniforms (Corp d'Esprit)
  9. North Country Girl
  10. Somebody Saved Me
  11. Slit Skirts
  12. Vivienne
  13. Man Watching
  14. Dance It Away

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All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pete Townshend became Virginia Astley's brother in law before she was 8 and along with her twin she was a bridesmaid at his wedding to her eldest sister Karen. When Virginia sessioned for this album she was a few months away from her own first record and only 2 years in the music business as she'd combined her studies at the Guildhall with 6 months in the Victims of Pleasure,sessioning at Crepescule,cutting demos at her Dad's studio in Oxfordshire and forming the Ravishing Beauties. Her piano can be heard at its most prominent on ''The sea refuses no river'',one of Townshend's finest songs for this.his 3rd solo album.The songs tend to grow on you rather than hit instantly. Much has been written about this album but heres a review from the perspective of one who collects Virginia Astley. She it was who inspired the song ''Split Skirts''...with a name change to ''Jeannie'',probably a chance \remark Townshend heard as Virginia was noted for wearing dresses of the Laura Ashley kind:the songs chorus should explain
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider this one of Pete Townshend's best solo albums. The ''professional'' reviewer dismissed this as ''pretensious'' and ''arty bull___.'' Actually, I find this one of Pete's most introspective albums and a litle more poignant than the more rockin' ''Empty Glass'' or the concept-oriented ''White City.'' Also, Pete had just giving up booze and was about to call it a day with the Who so this album sounds almost like a diary as it was a therapy for Pete. Yes, ''Face Dances (Part 2)'' and ''Uniforms'' have a ''modern'' sound to them, but the 1st one is catchy and the 2nd is a more tongue-in-cheek ode to the status quo (''What matters is your uniform''). ''Exquisitely Bored'' cynically questions organized religion and the status quo. I was not aware of Virginia Astley's role on piano (''Sea Refuses No River'') nor her inspiration on the closing track (''Slit Skirts'', one of the best songs). ''North Country Girl'' has a Scandanavian sound (if Abba stayed together, perhaps they could've covered it). ''Stop Hurting People'' almost sounds likes a confession, with Pete taking into account all he's learned. ''Prelude'' is almost like a prayer for something better ''before I say goodbye.'' ''Communication'' sounds a little like ''Cry if you Want'' from the Who's ''It's Hard.'' ''Stardom In Acton'' is a sardonic account of how it's not so ''fab'' sometimes to be a pop star, or as Pete called himself ''just another headline.'' ''Somebody Saved Me'' is one of the most poignant tracks, where Pete humbly counts his blessings that his ego, his feelings and his life have been spared.