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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Entwistle, John - 1981 Too Late The Hero
Entwistle, John - 1981 Too Late The Hero

ARTIST: Entwistle, John
ALBUM: Too Late The Hero
SERIAL: SD 38-142
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2005, Castle Music (UK), CMRCD1200


LINEUP: John Entwistle - bass, vocals * Joe Walsh - guitar * Joe Vitale - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Try Me * 02 Talk Dirty * 03 Lovebird * 04 Sleepin' Man * 05 I'm Coming Back * 06 Dancin' Master * 07 Fallen Angel * 08 Love Is A Heart Attack * 09 Too Late The Hero

When The Who reached superstar levels in the early 70's the bands output began to slow down to an album every couple of years or so. For John Entwistle it was only just beginning however and from 1971 to 1975 he released four solo albums, one of which 'Mad Dog' was actually a band effort. It has to be said all four were quite ordinary, with Entwistle's penchant for the offbeat overshadowing the music. None of these albums captured the essence of the legends bass playing and his tracks for The Who were far more inspired. It wasn't until six years later that Entwistle tried again and this time the results were superb. Aligning himself with Walsh and Vitale ensured Entwistle of a power trio to be reckoned with and sensibly he opted for a more straight ahead radio friendly hard rock direction. This is easily his best solo album and probably a better album overall than The Who's baffling 'Face Dances' album released only months earlier that year.

The Songs
Keyboards are everywhere here as are AOR melodies which were clearly a shot at the charts. 'Try Me' sees John asking his old lady to try him for a high instead of drugs, with his thundering bass always at the forefront but offset by a sleek hook which would raise a few AOR fans heads or two. 'Talk Dirty' is another terrific track, juxtaposing bass and synthesizers quite handsomely resulting in a melodic treat. Walsh's distinctive guitar work gives 'Lovebird' an Eagles flavour while 'Sleeping Man' is a lumbering rocker which would be at home on any Who album. 'I'm Coming Back' is similar, lots of guitars and perfect harmonies which are in the spirit of 'Postcard', The Who relic from 'Odds and Sods'. For an insight into why Entwistle is regarded as the greatest bassist of all time, the masterclass of 'Dancing Master' makes it abundantly obvious, with excursions in funk, heavy metal and disco, all courtesy of dear, departed John. Here the bass is take an epic turn with the seven minute title track, which sees Entwistle taking a Genesis like turn, only better, with layers of keyboards dominating the track. Very ambitious, this is a melodic delight to the ears and if The Who had recorded this it would have been considered a major classic... maybe. I'm sure Pete Townshend thought 'I've Known No War' was going to be lauded as a modern day anthem too... the lead guitar, as heard so many times with The Who. The pairing of 'Fallen Angel' and 'Love Is A Heart Attack' result in more commercially appealing melodic rock, the latter an amusing track about some bloke risking death by getting into the sack with his wife one more time! After this things take an epic turn with the seven minute title track and it's layers of keyboards, similar to Genesis only better. A melodic delight to the ears this would have been considered a major classic if recorded by The Who... maybe. I'm sure Pete Townshend thought 'I've Known No War' was going to be lauded as a modern day anthem too?

In Summary
This was the last true Entwistle solo album, with the previously reviewed 'The Rock' not officially released. This was the crowning achievement of his solo years and it's sad this hasn't been identified as a significant rock classic. It outweighs the solo work of Townshend in the same period anyway. It was also good to finally get a proper copy of the album after years in obscurity and having to rely on cassette copies which were always chewed up after years of abuse!

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#1 | MUSCLE on October 11 2009 15:38:48
81 at the roxy and a sharp suited entwistle is in the bog with a bit o skirt chopping up a couple of lines. a snort or two later and the dancing master and his bit of rough are on the dance floor tearing it up before a bunch of woofters dressed in spandex leather and lace. 'on me 'ead son...wooo!'lol
#2 | Eric on October 14 2009 21:46:39
I pulled this out last night and gave it a listen. The review is spot on!
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