Roger Daltrey — As Long As I Have You
AS AN actor, Roger Daltrey played Franz Liszt, reformed bank robber John McVicar and the ‘deaf, dumb and blind kid’ in Tommy. For more than half a century, he brilliantly played the frontman of one of the great bands, The Who, bringing life to Pete Townshend’s anthems of class rage and emotional alienation.
On his last LP, Going Back Home, Daltrey played a gruff, bar-room blues howler, which suited him well. Here, he’s a soul singer. It just doesn’t work. Daltrey was never a great soul belter – earnest and gutsy, yes, but too bombastic to breathe life into soul.
It makes this mix of covers and originals rather patchy. Daltrey’s chesty baritone is effective on originals Where Is A Man To Go and the heart-tugging, closer Always Heading Home. He brings conviction to Joe Tex’s divorce ballad
The Love You Save and makes Stephen Stills’ How Far sound like an early-’70s Who song.
But he’s not much good at righteous anger – literally straining for credibility on Stevie Wonder’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’. On Boz Scaggs’ I’ve Got Your Love he sounds like a third-division Rod Stewart impersonator, while there’s an air of pub-rock pointlessness to other tracks. Not one of the finer moments for rock’n’roll’s greatest frontman.