Roger Daltrey – As Long As I Have You – 01/06/18
Roger Daltrey rose to fame as the founding member and frontman of The Who. His career in music has spanned over five decades, and today sees him release a new solo album, inspired by his time in the early 1960s writing songs for The Who. Inspiration has been drawn from other great musicians and together this creates a soulful and emotional album.
Title track, ‘As Long As I Have You’ was originally recorded in 1964 by Garnet Mimms. Daltrey’s version showcases a wonderfully soulful vocal, but sees very little variance from the original. Despite this, Daltrey has executed this well, with the life experience needed to put raw emotion and power into his vocal. ‘Where’s A Man to Go’ slows things down, and further showcases the power in Daltrey’s vocal. With subtle keys from Mick Talbot and a gospel choir complimenting the lyrics, this track is stunning and heartwarming.
The themes flowing through this album surround love and heartbreak, which is common in pop music. One track that doesn’t follow the trend of the other ten is ‘Get On Out of the Rain’. It holds a political stance and makes a statement with distorted guitar riffs and powerful lyrics. With multiple vocal layers and the song closing with a horn section, this stands out as vastly different from songs of a similar style.
‘Into My Arms’ was originally written by Nick Cave, and Roger Daltrey has beautifully captured the essence of this song with his cover. His soulful vocal and the stripped back nature of the track, it recaptures attention that may have wandered since the beginning of the album. With subtle strings making an appearance, it’s clear that each tiny aspect of this track has been thoughtfully combined to create something beautiful.
Following this stunning cover is ‘You Haven’t Done Nothing’, originally by Stevie Wonder. This speeds things back up again with sleazy guitars and a much more powerful vocal. It brings more of a rock sound to the album, and draws influences and aspects from other genres to make a brilliant mismatch of music that works so well. As with the rest of the album, Daltrey’s vocal is the point of focus, with the emotion and power that he is able to convey. As a cover, it’s clever and works well, but perhaps isn’t quite original enough.
‘Always Heading Home’ is one of Roger Daltrey’s originals, and the last track on the album. It opens with strings and gentle piano, and Daltrey’s vocal is softer throughout. The stripped back nature of the song captures attention without being too much, and suggests that sometimes less is more.
As Long As I Have You is an accumulation of a life of listening to and playing music. There are moments of beauty dotted through this collection of songs, with each one being filled with emotion and produced perfectly. However, it does little to entice the listener; while it’s clear that the main focus of this album is the soulful and rarely-heard side of Daltrey’s voice, other aspects of these songs become
repetitive. Adding covers of the songs that have shaped and inspired Daltrey is a nice touch, but to recreate them without a stamp of originality is disappointing.
Review: Dottie Giles