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Articles Home » 1992 Articles » Daltrey, Roger - 1992 Rocks In The Head
Daltrey, Roger - 1992 Rocks In The Head

ARTIST: Daltrey, Roger
ALBUM: Rocks In The Head
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 82359
YEAR: 1992
CD REISSUE: 2004, Wounded Bird, WOU 2359


LINEUP: Roger Daltrey - vocals, guitars * Gerard McMahon - guitars, keyboards * Ricky Byrd - guitars * Shaun Solomon - bass * Tommy Price - drums * David Katz - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Who's Gonna Walk On Water * 02 Before My Time Is Up * 03 Times Changed * 04 You Can't Call It Love * 05 Mirror Mirror * 06 Perfect World * 07 Love Is * 08 Blues Man's Road * 09 Everything A Heart Could Ever Want * 10 Days Of Light * 11 Unforgettable Opera


Roger Daltrey never gets the credit he deserves for his solo work, with some outstanding work over the years, including 'One Of The Boys' (1977), 'McVicar' (1980) and the essential 'Under A Raging Moon' (1985), the latter an AOR great barely recognised. Understandably then his last solo album to date, 'Rocks In The Head', went missing upon release in 1992, despite being a work of considerable melodic merit, although far removed from 1987's synth driven 'Can't Wait To See The Movie'. This was due to the influence of Gerard McMahon, an AOR veteran himself who virtually assembled this project single handedly. McMahon co-wrote ten of the albums eleven tracks, was responsible for the musical direction, not to mention producing it! Under McMahon's guidance Daltrey updated his sound to suit the 90's, losing the heavy keyboards, while retaining a hard rock edge with AOR flurries.

The Songs
The McMahon written opener 'Who's Gonna Walk On Water' is a bouncy rocker with Daltrey in fine voice. This track is far more accomplished than anything off Pete Townshend's 'Psychoderelict' from 1993, notably the fast excerpt towards the end, a fine juxtoposition of melodic riffs and barely noticable synthesizers. 'Before My Time Is Up' is precise early 90's AOR, crystal clear production, a highlight of a tattered scene for that era. 'Times Changed' sees Roger lamenting how London's changed since his youth, a serious piece with Daltrey's appropriately desperate vocals. Far lighter is the beautiful 'You Can't Call It Love', with mostly acoustic guitars but an impeccable backing vocal display. Always one for an anthem, Roger rouses all and sundry with the unifying 'Perfect World', which could be an United Nation's piece! 'Love Is' recalls The Outfield, slightly more 80's in execution, an unknown AOR classic that demands to be heard. 'Blues Man's Road' is a fun slice of cornball blues hard rock, seeing Roger returning to his R'n' B roots of the early 60's. Roger pays tribute again, this time in 'Everything A Heart Could Want (Willow)', a lovely ballad devoted to his daughter who featured on backing vocals, demonstrating the mans range, an emotional delivery which solidifies his position as number one with a microphone. Ever the working class hero, Daltrey pays homage to the common man with the acoustic 'Days Of Light', a positive message to the overworked and underpaid. A sturdy melodic hard rock treat concludes Roger's solo career to date, 'Unforgettable Opera' seeing Roger screaming the lyrics in true Who style.

In Summary
I played this to death in 1992 and enjoy it as much as I did then. Gerard McMahon might have been the brainchild behind much of this, but Daltrey makes it happen. His unmistakable presence gives the songs an edge that many solo artists never could, save for Michael Bolton perhaps. It's sad that Daltrey hasn't recorded any solo material since, a waste of his talents. He could have made the 90's melodic rock scene that much more memorable based on this worthy effort. That said it was pleasing to hear Daltrey back with Townshend earlier this year for two new Who tracks on a greatest hits collection which showed he hadn't lost a thing, even at the ripe old age of sixty! AOR fans owe it to themselves to seek this and Daltrey's other solo work to embrace how much he delivered to the genre.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on December 06 2009 19:06:10
Love this album! Just returned to it after an absence of a few years and have to say it's even better now..McMahon's songwriting is very, very good. Some nice touches on guitar from Ricky Byrd (Susan/Joan Jett) and ever reliable drumming from Thommy Price.....he's now married to a girl I met on a Britny Fox tour in 1988.....
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