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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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It must do someone some good, this practice of stepping out of a famous band to do "solo" albums, but that someone is seldom one of us listeners. Roger Daltrey cannot, of course, really solo, since he is a lead singer and not an instrumentalist or much of a songwriter; what he does here, one supposes, is run things his own way. He comes off better letting Pete Townshend run things and the Who do the playing -- which is hardly surprising, since the Who may be the best rock band there is. This is rather dully by comparison; the (temporary) rock-band backing is just too usual, and most of the tunes are worse than that. The one cut that strikes me as out of the ordinary is "Milk Train," which uses the undertone of violence in Daltrey's straining, rangy voice a little differently from how Townshend might have used it. The rest is Daltrey's trip, perhaps a necessary one for him, but it isn't mine.

- Noel Coppage, Stereo Review, 11/75.

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.

 Reader's Comments

foxexploder

I'll tell you what Howlin Wolf said, when were doing an every thursday night jam session, called "Blues of the Slaves" in Columbus Ohio 1970. Blues artists would drive in from Chicago for free BBQ and booze and then play all together for half the door at a $2.00 show! We were playing some of the promo records I had gotten from labels when Wolf picked up a Who record and said I likes what this band is doin with the Blues"! So, we played "Young Mans Blues" from Live at Leeds and he said "Play that one more time"!

So, Roger, you must have done something right! Money can't buy that kind of comment!

If your O.K with Wolf, "Your O.K" with me!

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