Label: Cleopatra

For most tribute collections, the game plan is to create a song list and distribute it around various performers and allow them to put their own spin on classic songs. For Who Are You, producers Gurgen Engler and Chris Lietz apparently had a more experimental project in mind. Not only did they reach out to a wide range of artists, they mixed and matched them in sometimes surprising combinations. The result, which isn't surprising, is a mixed bag of typical tribute album hits and misses.

Take, for example, "Magic Bus" performed by the strange bedfellows of Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), Peter Banks (Yes), and Ginger Baker (Cream). Or "My Generation" knocked out by Knox (The Vibrators), Dave Davies (The Kinks), and Rat Scabies (The Damned). Despite such star power, only occasionally do these "supergroups" really come up with something fresh. To my ears, Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere & The Raiders) and Wayne Kramer (MC5) kicked out the jams with an energetic rendition of the criminally neglected "I Can See For Miles." An outstanding Keyboard driven "Love Reign O'er Me" is a prog rock primer with Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Huw Lloyd-Langton (Hawkwind), and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge).

 While many of these ensembles don't really altar the spirit and flavor of the originals, the track with the Most personality stamped on it is "Who Are You" featuring Gretchen Wilson and Randy Bachman (Bachman-Turner Overdrive). Perhaps the song attempting to really stretch out sonic possibilities is the album's opener, boasting a Credible Roger Daltrey impersonation in an electronic funk arrangement for "Eminence Front" by John Wetton (Asia), K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), and � Derek
Sherinian (Dream Theater). On the other hand, a very distant hand, while I've always loved The Who's garage/punk early hits, I wasn't enthralled with some annoying vocal renditions of "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" (Todd Rundgren) and "I Can't Explain" (Iggy Pop).

Along the way, some songs are served up by bands whose interpretations are more likely to please their followers more so than Who devotees. Such offerings include the Soft pop of The Raveonettes' "The Kids Are Alright," the Electric hoedown of "Squeeze Box" by John Wesley (Porcupine Tree) and David Cross (King Crimson). On and on. For the record, as it were, other musicians include Leslie West, Pat Travers, Sweet, 38 Special, And members of Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, and Nectar.

So, once again, we get a tribute collection that deserves a first listen for curiosity's sake, but I suspect few will give the full package a second run through. Pick your favorites, discard the rest, and pass this one along to your friends so they can do likewise.

Follow Here To Purchase Who Are You - An All-Star Tribute To The Who