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Ride a Rock Horse
Roger Daltrey

MCA 2147
Released: June 1975
Chart Peak: #28
Weeks Charted: 23

Roger DaltreyRoger Daltrey's career outside the Who differs from most solo ventures. Rather than compete with his group, he chooses music very much out of their realm. Ride a Rock Horse, his second solo endeavor, differs also from his initial Daltrey, suggesting that on his own he prefers to experiment. And though he may not sound as anguished or as gentle as other singers, few can match his sheer power.

As Dave Courtney and Leo Sayer dominated Daltrey with sprightly and melodic pop treatments, so Russ Ballard (formerly with Argent) commands this record through more vigorous material. Daltrey includes three Ballard songs, each with more than a hint of rhythm and blues. Ballard also plays guitar and piano strongly here, and his production achieves a smooth, clear surface. An approach often cold in its perfection, it's excitingly alive here.

Roger Daltrey - Ride a Rock Horse
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Two songs by pianist Paul Korda are high points. "Heart's Right" builds on a series of haunting piano chords, rises with powerful orchestration and slips into a relaxing, airy vocal chorus at the end. "World Over" is satisfying as well, albeit in a lighter fashion -- a simple and catchy tune, delivered in Daltrey's higher, more delicate range.

He gives "Walking the Dog" a more throaty carriage (there's a cooking percussion section, too) but "Oceans Away" is a more reserved piece with a regal string arrangement. The craft of everyone involved, particularly Ballard, allows such seemingly unsuited choices to mesh on the album. Studio wizardry, of course, is a work -- but this is not assembly-line output. Ride a Rock Horse is instead a rare example of tried professionalism linked with creativity.

- Charley Walters, Rolling Stone, 9/11/75.

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Bonus Reviews!

Versatility is the keynote of "Tommy's" latest solo effort, from brightly soulful rockers to Garfunkel-esque ballad productions. But cut-for-cut the set uses Daltrey's voice for sweetness more than a Who album would. Most of the songs are straightforward and unpretentious, with producer Russ Ballard providing three of the tunes. Best cuts: "Walking The Dog," "Come And Get Your Love," "Oceans Away," "Near To Surrender."

- Billboard, 1975.

By the time Roger Daltrey was ready to make his second solo album, Leo Sayer, upon whom he had relied to provide songs for his first, had launched his own successful singing career and was keeping his material for himself. Daltrey, therefore, called on his producer, Russ Ballard, who wrote three songs, including the chart single "Come And Get Your Love," and one P. Korda, who wrote another three. On this material, Daltrey took a pop/rock approach, somewhat less aggressive than his work with The Who. He also tossed in some R&B with a cover of Rufus Thomas's "Walking The Dog" and sang in something closer to his actual British accent in the Cockney raveup "Milk Train." Ride A Rock Horse lacked the overall quality and cohesion of Daltrey, but was still a respectable effort, especially since Daltrey's solo career remained a side issue at this time. * *

- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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