Monday, September 18, 2017

Badger - 1974 - White Lady

White Lady

01. A Dream Of You (4:15)
02. Everybody - Nobody (3:17)
03. Listen To Me (4:56)
04. Don't Pull The Trigger (4:02)
05. Just The Way It Goes (4:45)
06. White Lady (4:47)
07. Be With You (3:37)
08. Lord Who Give Me Life (3:04)
09. Onemore Dream To Hold (4:01)
10. The Hole Thing (6:09)

- Jackie Lomax / vocals, rhythm guitar
- Paul Pilnick / lead guitar
- Tony Kaye / keyboards, Mellotron, Moog
- Kim Gardner / bass
- Roy Dyke / drums

- Bryn Haworth / slide guitar (3)
- Barry Bailey / slide guitar (4-8)
- Jeff Beck / lead guitar (6)
- Allen Toussaint / piano (3,4), organ (9), congas (1-3,10), vocals
- Carl Blouin / baritone saxophone, flute
- Alvin Thomas / tenor saxophone
- Lester Caliste / trumpet
- John Lango / trombone
- Mercedes Davis /backing vocals (1,3,5-8)
- Joan Harmon / backing vocals (1,3,5-8)
- Teresipa Henry / backing vocals (1,3,5-8)
- Bobby Montgomery / backing vocals (2,9)
- Jessie Smith / backing vocals (2,9)

 In late 1993, I bought Jackie Lomax`s first solo album from 1969 called "Is This What You Want?" (which was produced by George Harrison and released by Apple Records). I found it in a supermarket in the records section being sold at a very cheap price with also other albums by other artists from the Apple Records label (Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston, Badfinger, James Taylor, etc.) that were re-issued in 1991 on CD with bonus tracks. In fact the price was so cheap that I bought some of these Apple Records` CDs from these artists. I had the curiosity to listen to Lomax`s album because it was produced by Harrison and also because it has two tracks recorded with an all- star line-up (with three Beatles: Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney; Eric Clapton; Nicky Hopkins) and with one song composed by Harrison. Lomax was a friend from The Beatles and he was also managed briefly as a soloist by Brian Epstein, and when Epstein died and The Beatles founded Apple Records in 1968, Lomax was given then a recording contract with the label. He recorded only one album for Apple Records and several singles, all of which unfortunately for him were not very successful. He later recorded other 4 solo albums for other record labels during the seventies and a final solo album in 2004, without having much success, before his death in 2013. His only solo album for Apple Records is a mixture of Rock songs, Ballads, Pop Rock music from the sixties, with some psychedelic influences, and also with some Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Motown music influences. He was a good singer and composer.
BADGER`s first album ("One Live Badger", released in 1973) was recorded live in December 1972 and was produced by Jon Anderson. That first album is a good Prog Rock album well played and produced. But unfortunately that album was unsuccessful. I don`t know the full details, but for this second album from BADGER called "White Lady" from 1974, only keyboard player Tony Kaye and drummer Roy Dyke remained from their first line-up and their first album. The band also changed record label, and had Jackie Lomax as their new lead singer and rhythm guitarist, plus new bassist Kim Gardner and new lead guitarist Paul Pilnick . This, their second album, was produced by Allen Toussaint, who also plays some congas, piano and organ on some tracks. There is also a horns section added to most songs. The band also changed their original Prog Rock style to a new style which is a mixture of Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Rock Pop music, with even some Funky influences. With Lomax being the composer of all the songs in this album, it is not really unexpected that the songs sound influenced a lot from his work as soloist. It really sounds like BADGER became a vehicle for Lomax as a composer and singer, not really sounding very different from his first solo album (which is the only one album that I have listened from him as soloist), but with only updating his songwriting in sound for the commercial music of the mid-seventies. Jeff Beck plays a guitar solo on the title track, doing a good job. There are also some female backing vocals in some songs. The songs all sound in a similar style. As a whole the album is not bad. But this album is not a Prog Rock album. The musicians are good and they did a very professional job. Tony Kaye`s keyboard playing is good, adding some good organ and mellotron parts, but in some songs his keyboards really sound distant and more in the background. With this album, it seems that the BADGER`s band name was only used to give a commercial connection to a previous band with the same name and with a previous album in the market, but this new line-up really sounds very far from the original Prog Rock style the band had in their first album. There is not a real connection between both albums and line-ups apart from having Kaye and Dyke. Maybe they should have changed the name of the band for this second album. Maybe this album was even more unsuccessful than their first, so they did not record another album. Kaye later formed a new band in the mid- seventies called DETECTIVE which recorded three albums for LED ZEPPELIN`s Swan Song records label, with a more Hard Rock musical style, before they split in the late seventies, also without having much success.

A curious thing: apart from playing with Jackie Lomax in BADGER, Tony Kaye also played with another Apple Records` former band called Badfinger. But it was with a reformed Badfinger, playing with them between 1979 and 1981, and in fact recording with them their last album as a band called "Say No More", which was released in 1981. In 1983, while recording the "90125" album with YES, Kaye left YES for some months due to some problems with producer Trevor Horn and re-joined Badfinger for their last months as a band, returning to YES when he was asked to do it in late 1983. Kaye also played with Alan White in YES, a drummer who also had connections with The Beatles thanks to his work with John Lennon and George Harrison in some of their solo albums.

Badger - 1973 - One Live Badger

One Live Badger

01. Wheel Of Fortune 7:40
02. Fountain 7:12
03. Wind Of Change 7:00
04. River 7:00
05. The Preacher 3:35
06. On The Way Home 7:10

- Brian Parrish / electric guitar, lead vocals (1, 4 - 6)
- Tony Kaye / keyboards, Mellotron
- Dave Foster / bass, lead vocals (2, 3)
- Roy Dyke / drums

Recorded live at the Rainbow Theatre 15th / 16th December, 1972.
Produced by Geoffrey Haslam, Badger and Jon Anderson
Cover art by Roger Dean

That the nucleus of Yes got rid of Peter Banks on guitar to make space for Steve Howe was not really a beautyful gesture , but to get rid of Tony Kaye was even worse ( they will invite him back during the eighties and those mediocre albums - feeling guilty Mr Anderson?) especially for the second most pompous KB player around (behind Keith) , Rick Wakeman . Of course this paid of incredibly well, as Fragile outsold all previous albums together, but the Yes Album is still my Yes fave album and Tony Kaye was really excellent.
So Kaye will first join Banks in a group called Flash (unlike most proghead , I never really enjoyed that openly commercial semi-hard-prog . Commercial ? look at the covers to see how hard they tried ) and after one album Kaye , obviously not pleased with this band , left to form the much better Badger. Most people think Highly of this album and I do too but just barely making the fourth star ( your life will not be affected if you own it or not or even if you never hear this while you are alive , you will not have missed that much) . But I do give this album four star because Kaye really got a bum deal from Yes and to a lesser Extent frm Flash , and here he shows what he can do. Releasing your first album as a live is rather odd choice , but why not ? It was probably cheaper than a full-blown studio album. I think the drummer was from Ashton Gardner and Dyke who made a few good almost prog albums .

If Kaye does not develop by himself the masterful songwriting from Yes (Anderson getting too much credit IMO for the composer part as he developped the idea and heard jingles and all the other four musicians ) but it is clear with this album that He held his share of the creation in his former group. This was of course very raw sounding and I would've like to hear the studio versions, but alas this never came to be as some of the members left after this and the following album sounds nothing like this , especially with Lomax singing. Give it a try , but I tell you there are better bands still to be discovered before this one. Worth a spin .

Badfinger - 2000 - Head First

Head First

101. Lay Me Down
102. Hey, Mr. Manager
103. Keep Believing
104. Passed Fast
105. Rock And Roll Contract
106. Saville Row
107. Moonshine
108. Back Again
109. Turn Around
110. Rockin' Machine

201. Time Is Mine
202. Smokin' Gun
203. Old Fashioned Notions
204. Nothing To Show
205. You Ask Yourself Why
206. Keep Your Country Tidy
207. To Say Goodbye
208. Queen Of Darkness
209. I Can't Believe In
210. Thanks To You All
211. Lay Me Down (Demo)

Vocals, Bass – Tom Evans
Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Percussion – Mike Gibbins
Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer – Pete Ham
Vocals, Piano, Organ, Synthesizer – Bob Jackson

Recorded at Apple Studios 1-7, 9-15 December, 1974.

The recordings for Badfinger's third Warner album began at the end of November 1974. You would expect the members of the band at this point to be totally exhausted from touring, financial worries, commercial and the departure of Molland; and of course they were.Never the less they were still convinced that they could/had to work their way out of their crisis. For their latest British tour they had recruited Bob Jackson (keyb.), because of a short departure of Pete Ham. This tour had been as a 5-piece and by the end of the tour Molland had left the band. Two you producers were found for the new album; Kenny Kerner and Ritchie Wise - before Badfinger they had produced The Stories. 

New songs did not come easily to Pete at this point; he was losing faith in the the whole thing, but he worked hard to come up with more quality material. Of his three contributions for Head First the two of them are among his best ever. The opener "Lay Me Down" is a very catchy and powerful rocker with great commercial potential. "Keep Believing" was written to Joey Molland and it's a typical Ham ballad; a very beautiful melody. Pete's third track is a short instrumental called "Saville Row". Tom Evans is back as a very important songwriter on the album. He'd written two songs alone and two songs in collaboration with with Mike and Mike/Bob. The first two are angry comments to the music business; both of them very intense; especially Mr. Manager is bound to become an all-time Badfinger favourite. Rock'n Roll Contract was rerecorded for Say No More, but this version is much better - I love the middle part. Passed Fast and Moonshine are well-known from Best of Badfinger Vol 2 - both of them very strong and indicating that this new line-up might have become their most interesting ever. Bob Jackson demonstrates powerful vocals and songwriting abilities on Turn Around; a track that could have been written and sung by Steve Winwood. Mike wrote Back Again and Rocking Machine. Back Again is close to My Heart Goes Out in style and feeling - perhaps even better. Rocking Machine though it sounds a bit unfinished is a charming little tune; I think Mike sounds a lot like George Harrison. 

All in all the band play and sing their best on this album that is among Badfinger's strongest - perhaps the best. Pete Ham does not sound burdened by having to play all guitars and they all appear extraordinary inspired. 

Forbidden Records had originally planned to release the album in April 1999, but there were complications and delays. Forbidden Records did not possess the original master-tapes but a 4-track reference master copy. The original master-tapes which have been considered lost seem to have been rediscovered in the vaults of Warner Brothers. This means that they may release the album some time in the future. or maybe license it to another label. Until that may happen luckily we have this Snapper release remastered from Bob Jackson's tape copy of the original Apple mixes. 

The bonus tracks are all great songs; some are them are at an early stage and the sound quality is not very good on most of them. Still it's always nice to hear new songs by Pete Ham. I believe his 4 new songs here could have been developed into great Badfinger tracks. Of the other songs I especially like Mike's You Ask Yourself Why .

Badfinger - 1997 - BBC in Concert 1972-73

BBC in Concert 1972-73

01. Better Days
02. Only You Know And I Know
03. We're For The Dark
04. Sweet Tuesday Morning
05. Feelin' Alright
06. Take It All
07. Suitcase
08. Love Is Easy
09. Blind Owl
10. Constitution
11. Icicles
12. Matted Spam
13. Suitcase
14. I Can't Take It
15. Come And Get It

Bass – Tom Evans
Drums – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Vocals – Joey Molland
Guitar, Piano, Vocals – Pete Ham

Tracks 1-7 recorded in concert 8/6/72 Paris Theatre, London
Tracks 8-14 recorded in concert 10/8/73 Paris Theatre, London
Track 15 recorded Top Of The Pops 1970

Badfinger did 3 live performances for The BBC, this CD contains the first two, the third unfortunately seems to have disappeared (erased?). The first 7 tracks are from a 1972 concert at Paris Theatre, London; the next 7 are from a 1973 performance also at The Paris Theatre and the last Come and Get It is from Top of The Pops 1970. The sound quality is good and the performances are mostly very good; a few wrong chords can be noticed some of last tracks. It's interesting to hear their versions of two Dave Mason songs. Both tracks feature long guitar-solos and are good examples of the difference between their records and their live-act. 

Badfinger - 1990 - Day After Day

Day After Day

01. Sometimes 2:58
02. I Don't Mind 3:13
03. Blind Owl 5:40
04. Give It Up 7:23
05. Constitution 4:14
06. Baby Blue 3:32
07. Name Of The Game 5:17
08. Day After Day 3:04
09. Timeless 7:57
10. I Can't Take It 4:58

Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Drums – Mike Gibbins
Guitar, Vocals – Joey Molland
Guitar, Vocals – Pete Ham

Recorded live in 1974 at the Cleveland Agora.

Day After Day - Live is undoubtedly one of the most discussed/criticized Badfinger CD-releases. Furthermore there have been/are legal disagreements about the financing of the album and division of the profits. What comes out of all this will probabably known in near future, when a court has come to a conclusion ( more details on the matter can be found in Matovina's Badfinger Biography p. 409-411). 

The album was first released in 1989 on Joey Molland's initiative, and it comes from a concert given in Cleveland March 4 , 1974. The concert was originally taped for a possible Warner Live-album release. Joey got hold of the tapes before he left the band late 1974, and towards the end of the 1980's he began to work on them. Joey has overdubbed most of his own singing and playing, which, judged from bootleg versions of the concert, was pretty bad. What's worse is that he's also overdubbed Mike's drumming; I've never heard a good reason for his doing this, and it seems to quite unnecessary as Mike's original drumming was quite okay, moreover the overdubbed drums are mixed too loud and a lot of the fill-ins are done very clumsily. Joey has also been criticized for changing the track listing so that his own songs come first and Pete's last. What his reasons for doing this were you can only guess. 

If you/ your ears able to repress the annoying sound of the drums, there is in fact a lot of good music on this album. Personally I believe it gives a pretty good impression of a Badfinger concert 1974. The sound quality on the bootleg version of the concert is very bad and Pete's guitar and vocals can barely be heard. Of course a release of the whole concert without too much overdubbing would have been more interesting; a little overdubbing may be required, though,as some of Joey's playing and singing is out of key. A shame, too, that Perfection is not featured on the album.

Badfinger - 1981 - Say No More

Say No More

01. I Got You 3:49
02. Come On 3:26
03. Hold On 3:30
04. Because I Love You 2:58
05. Rock N' Roll Contract 5:45
06. Passin' Time 3:33
07. Three Time Loser 3:31
08. Too Hung Up On You 3:24
09. Crocadillo 3:20
10. No More 4:42

Drums – Richard Bryans
Guitar – Glenn Sherba
Keyboards – Tony Kaye
Vocals, Bass – Tom Evans
Vocals, Guitar – Joey Molland

The new line-up which recorded Airwaves had already disbanded before the album was released. For Say No More Tom and Joey had brought together another strong version of Badfinger. Tony Kaye ( known from Yes) played the keyboards, Glen Sherba played guitars, Richard Bryans played drums and Tom and Joey played their usual bass and guitar. This album should be the last Badfinger album; Tony Kaye and Tom Evans actually did rehearse for a second Radio Records album, but nothing came out of that. 

Their ideas for Say No More was to produce a rock album; not so slick and commercial as Airwaves. Unfortunately the material on the album is not up to the same standards as its predecessor. A few strong tracks can be found here, though. Too Hung Up On You by Tom Evans is the outstanding track on the album; to my ears the only song where the vocals sound like Badfinger. Hold On is a good song too; it actually was a minor hit. Joey wrote some of his compulsory rockers for the album, but they all sound more or less noisy, probably due to poor production. He also wrote the commercial Because I Love You, a Blondie styled track. The song is okay, but the sound of it isn't very "clean". We can hope for a future release of the album will have a cleaner sound; after all the album deserves it. 

Badfinger - 1979 - Airwaves


01. Airwaves 0:30
02. Look Out California 3:27
03. Lost Inside Your Love 2:41
04. Love Is Gonna Come At Last 3:37
05. Sympathy 4:26
06. The Winner 3:25
07. The Dreamer 5:18
08. Come Down Hard 3:46
09. Sail Away 3:30

1997 CD bonus tracks

10 One More Time 2:57
11 Send Me Your Love 4:12
12 Steal My Heart 3:56
13 Love Can't Hide 2:45
14 Can You Feel the Rain 4:03

Tom Evans - bass guitar, vocals
Joey Molland - guitar, vocals (4,7,8,13)
Joe Tansin - guitar, vocals (10,11,12,14)
Ken Harck - drums
Andy Newmark - drums
Duane Hitchings - keyboards
Nicky Hopkins - acoustic piano
Steve Foreman - percussion

Airwaves from 1979 was the first Badfinger album to be released without Pete Ham, who tragically committed suicide in 1975. Of course he is sadly missed on this album, which only features two earlier members ; Tom Evans and Joey Molland. After Pete's death the group has disbanded and both Tom and Joey had been in other bands. 

In 1978 they felt like reuniting and drummer Mike Gibbins had also been at a rehearsal before this recording. Unfortunately Mike quickly left again and he is therefore not on this album. The line-up is: Tom Evans: bas vocals; Joey Molland: guitar, vocals; Joe Tansin: lead guitar; Ken Harck: drums; Andy Newmark: drums and Nicky Hopkins: keyboards. Ken Harck left during the recording and he was replaced by Andy Newmark to finish the album. Joe Tansin left soon after the final recordings. Nicky Hopkins only work a session musician; he was not a member of the band. 

The popular pop/rock music had changed during the 5 years since the last Badfinger album, so obviously the album had to be a lot different from their earlier albums. Producer David Malloy has often been criticized for poor production on this Badfinger album. "He had not been able to find the real Badfinger-sound". I think that's an unfair and wrong evaluation. Actually a lot of the album is pretty good. Tom Evans' songs Lost Inside Your Love and Sail Away are true highlights ( a version of Sail Away with bas, guitar and drums is supposed to have been recorded - I hope this will be featured as a bonus track on the CD-release ). Joey's Love is Gonna Come at Last is a very commercial number and it was released a single; it did not do very well, though. The Dreamer, also by Joey, is a nice ballad, a track you may not discover the two or three times you listen to the album; but it gets better every time. Joe Tansin wrote two songs for the album; Sympathy and The Winner. Sympathy is too commercial for my taste, almost disco-like; The Winner is a rocker similar to many of Joey's songs. Tansin shows on several tracks that he's a fabulous guitarist and some of the weaker tracks are helped a lot from his guitarplaying. The playing time is rather short, so luckily the CD version feature 5 bonus tracks. 

One More Time is an outtake from the original "Airwaves" sessions - It should have been included in the first place; it would have been nice ending to side one on the original LP. It's an acoustic song beautifully sung by Joe Tansin and Tom Evans - Beatles/McCartney-inspired. A highlight. 

Send Me Your Love A fine catchy pop ballad by Joe Tansin - it was written in the "Airwaves" days but recorded later by Tansin. When I first heard the guitar intro, I was sure that this was the "Molland" tune which I knew would be there. 

Steal My Heart Another Tansin song from the "Airwaves" days recorded later. An upbeat poptune - not very interesting. 

Love Can't Hide A Molland/Tansin collaboration. The sound of the rhythm guitar is very poor. Incredible that the sound could not have been improved. Molland is credited as the producer of it. The song is good - the lyrics sound familiar. 

Can You Feel The Rain This last tune was recently written by Tansin to the memory of Tom Evans. A fine song, though a bit far from the original album. 

Badfinger - 1974 - Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

01. Just A Chance
02. Your So Fine
03. Got To Get Out Of Here
04. Know One Knows
05. Dennis
06. In The Meantime / Some Other Time
07. Love Time
08. King Of The Load (T)
09. Meanwhile Back At The Ranch / Should I Smoke

Horns – Average White Horns (tracks: 1 & 9)
Orchestrated By – Anne Odell

Vocals, Bass – Tom Evans
Vocals, Drums, Keyboards – Mike Gibbins
Vocals, Guitar – Joe Molland
Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards – Pete Ham

Badfinger's second album for Warner Brothers was recording during two sessions - the first took place at The Caribou Ranch, Colorado in April/May 1974; the second at AIR studios, London in June. Though financial worries had begun to have great influence on the 4 members; they all felt that they had to put everything they had into these recordings. And this really shows on the album - another masterpiece - one of the really great albums of the seventies. It has been called "The Sergent Pepper of the 1970's"; personally I feel that it has more in common with "Abbey Road". 

Badfinger had grown into an albums-band, and this album really works as a whole, especially the original side 2 which features two very successful medleys. The album opens with Pete's very powerful Just A Chance and with Mike's light and catchy You're So Fine song by Joey and Pete - once again Mike proves himself as a competent songwriter. Joey's Got To Get Out Of Here really shows how Joey felt about about the music business and being in the band ( as we know he left shortly after the album's release) a very strong song by Joey. Know One Knows is another powerful melodic rocker by Pete - I love the Japanese voice that meddles with leadguitar part. The first side closes with another grand production which characterizes most of the album; Pete's Dennis written to his step-son. Besides the two medleys side two features Tom Evans' King Of The Load ( one of my favourite Tom Evans songs) and Joey's quiet Love Time. No singles were released from the album; this was a period when hit-singles didn't matter much to the progressive/ambitious bands. Just a Chance or Know One Knows might have been able to make the charts with the right promotion, though none of them have immediate hit-potential. 

Badfinger - 1974 - Badfinger


01. I Miss You 2:35
02. Shine On 2:52
03. Love Is Easy 3:08
04. Song For A Lost Friend 2:52
05. Why Don't We Talk 3:45
06. Island 3:40
07. Matted Spam 3:09
08. Where Do We Go From Here? 3:24
09. My Heart Goes Out 2:16
10. Lonely You 3:47
11. Give It Up 4:34
12. Andy Norris 2:59

Drums, Vocals – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Pete Ham
Guitar, Vocals – Joey Molland

Badfinger had signed with Warner Brothers around 72/73 before the release of their final Apple-album "Ass". The recordings for the first album for their new company began in June 73, with Chris Thomas as the producer. The title for the new album changed twice during its creation. Originally it was to be called "Wish You Were Here"; that title was later changed to "For Love Or Money" and finally the album ended up just being titled "Badfinger". The album has often been criticized for being rushed and inconsistent; and is often considered one of the band's weakest , which doesn't necessarily mean that is a weak album - in fact none of their albums are. 

Most of the music on this album comes as a logical continuation of "Ass". This doesn't mean that no new grounds are explored - on the contrary. On Pete's "Matted Spam" the band experiments with funky/jazzy rhythms and Tom's "Why Don't We Talk" doesn't sound like anything they'd done before; the song is quite Lennon like and features a short but great guitar solo from Pete. This on one thing characterising the album: some very inspired leadguitar parts by Pete Ham ( he played almost all lead on it). Pete is also back as the main contributor of songs, and among them is the majestic "Lonely You", which would have been a logical choice for a single. Unfortunately Warner chose Molland's Love is Easy, which although it had a good guitar-riff, suffered from strained vocals and a production that sounded unfinished; the song also lacks variation in rhythm and melody. The second single I Miss You was an almost equally poor choice. The song doesn't have a hit-potential at all, but it's certainly a fine album-track. Its B-side Shine On; similar to I'll Be The One in style and sound; would have been a much better choice. Mike Gibbins wrote My Heart Goes Out for the album and for the first time Mike really showed his songwriting abilities, the song was easily his strongest contribution to Badfinger so far. All in all the album Badfinger is really a very good album; much better than its reputation. It contains several very strong tracks, some good tracks and - admitted a few weak/unfinished tracks (Andy Norris / Love is Easy ). 

Badfinger - 1973 - Ass


01. Apple Of My Eye
02. Get Away
03. Icicles
04. The Winner
05. Blind Owl
06. Constitution
07. When I Say
08. Cowboy
09. I Can Love You
10. Timeless

Drums, Vocals – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Pete Ham
Guitar, Vocals – Joey Molland

The story behind the release of Ass is in several ways similar to that behind "Straight Up". The first recordings for this album, that turned out to be their last for Apple Records, began in January 1972; and the final recording took place in April 1973. The album was not released until late 73 in the USA and in March 74 in Europe. Their change of record company from Apple to Warner Brothers was one among other reason for the delay. Actually a first version of the album had been completed by the end of 72, but it was rejected by Apple. The original version of Ass had been produced by the band themselves, and they were going for a more basic rock album. 

In early 73 Apple called in Chris Thomas to produce new recordings and to look through, what had already been finished. A similar situation had occurred when Todd Rundgren had been recruited for finishing "Straight Up". The two earliest recordings on this album were in fact ("The Winner" and "I Can Love You") produced by Rundgren. Pete's "Apple Of My Eye" and "Timeless" were re-recorded and two new Molland songs ( "Icicles" and "Constitution") with Chris Thomas were added. The rest of the album are leftovers from the scrapped version. 

The album turned out to be a commercial failure; not because of the music but because of other things like little promotion, bad timing, the change of record company, lack of recent hit-single etc. The album was different from their earlier albums - they had wanted to do basic rock album representing the music they performed live, and that is mainly what "Ass" became. People who'd expected and hoped for another album similar to "No Dice" and "Straight Up" were obviously disappointed. Pete Ham only contributed 2 songs, of which only "Apple Of My Eye" was a typical Ham composition. Tom Evans wrote two very strong tracks, "When I Say" and "Blind Owl" - the first a lovely ballad and the second a wonderful rocker, which became a live favourite. Mike Gibbins wrote "Cowboy", a country styled song, which sound somewhat unfinished and which does not fit very well into the concept of the album. The rest of the album was written by Joey Molland. 3 straight ahead blues/rockers and two ballads. The album is the first where Pete Ham really gets a chance to demonstrate what a great lead guitarist he was, f. ex. on tracks like "Blind Owl", "Constitution" and "Timeless". The only bonustrack "Do You Mind" is an outtake from the first version of the album - it's written by Molland and it's one of his best early Badfinger songs. 

Badfinger - 1971 - Straight Up

Straight Up

01. Take It All 4:25
02. Baby Blue 3:38
03. Money 3:31
04. Flying 2:37
05. I'd Die Babe 2:05
06. Name Of The Game 5:49
07. Suitcase 2:53
08. Sweet Tuesday Morning 2:31
09. Day After Day 3:10
10. Sometimes 2:57
11. Perfection 5:10
12. It's Over 3:24

Drums, Vocals – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Pete Ham
Guitar, Vocals – Joey Molland

Producer – George Harrison (tracks: A5 to B1, B3), Todd Rundgren (tracks: A1 to A4, B2, B4 to B6)

By the end of 1971 Badfinger had actually recorded two albums since the release of "No Dice". The first remains unreleased to this date - more details in "The Unreleased Albums" section. The second was released in February 1972 ( a bit earlier in the USA ), and was titled "Straight Up". Apple did not like the sound of the first album - they wanted a more polished sound. The rejected album had been produced by Geoff Emerick, and in spring 1971 George Harrison expressed wish to produce the band. Of course this was an offer that could not be rejected. George finished 4 tracks before he had to pull out to work on the Bangla Desh concert . To finish the album Todd Rundgren was recruited. Rundgren went through the recordings made with Emerick and Harrison and did some remixing on some of the tracks. Furthermore 7 new recordings were done for the album, which ended up to be Badfinger's most "produced" album - maybe along with "Wish You Were Here" - and it's indisputably among their finest. The sound, though, is far from what they presented in their live shows, which had developed towards a more basic rock'n roll style blended with Pete?s great ballads. It would be very hard for the band to recreate the sound of this new album on stage, and some members have later expressed that it did not really represent the real Badfinger-sound. None the less the album is one of their best loved, and it ranks among the greatest albums to come out of the seventies. 

Once again Pete is the main contributor of songs to the album. His 5 songs on the album are all among his greatest. The two hits, "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue" are well-known ,and "Take it All", "Name of The Game" and "Perfection" are all stand out tracks. Tom Evans wrote "Money" and "It's Over" - the latter considered by many to be one of his greatest with Badfinger. Molland wrote the acoustic ballad "Sweet Tuesday Morning" "I'd Die Babe" ( an optimistic country styled George Harrison production ) and the two rockers "Suitcase" and "Sometimes" - both became part of Badfinger's standard concert repetoire. The album is very well produced by Rundgren/Harrison - a bit overproduced at times, some might say. The bonus-tracks are all excellent - Name of The Game and Perfection even better than the album-versions. 

Badfinger - 1970 - No Dice

No Dice

01. I Can't Take It 2:52
02. I Don't Mind 3:12
03. Love Me Do 2:57
04. Midnight Caller 2:48
05. No Matter What 3:00
06. Without You 3:40
07. Blodwyn 3:25
08. Better Days 3:58
09. It Had To Be 2:25
10. Watford John 3:21
11. Believe Me 2:58
12. We're For The Dark 3:52

Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Drums, Vocals – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Piano, Vocals – Joey Molland
Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizer, Piano – Pete Ham

No Dice was Badfinger's first masterpiece ( and my first Badfinger album!). Paul McCartney's positive influence on the bands sound on Magic Christian Music has been developed further on this album. The inspiration from The Beatles can be heard on most of these songs, but this album shows that they're much more than just a Beatles rip off. Some changes had been made since the recording of Magic Christian Music. Geoff Emerick (known from his work with The Beatles) produced most of the album; the rest of it was produced by Mal Evans who also produced some of Magic Christian Music. Ron Griffiths had already left before the release of the previous album so Tom Evans had now taken over the bass. Joey Molland ,who had played with Gary Walker, was chosen for a new guitarist. The material (the songs) on this album is very strong. Without You written by Tom and Pete has become an alltime classic - heres the original version - superior to any version I've heard so far. Enjoy Pete's organ line at the end of the song - sounds like something Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum could have done. No Matter What, Midnight Caller and We're For The Dark all show what a brilliant songwriter with an unique sense of melody Pete Ham had already become. The album is a perfect blend of ballads, rockers and a bit of country (Blodwyn), generally performed with more rocking feeling than their earlier recordings. Though the album is obviously dominated by Pete Ham's songs all other members contribute to it. The bonus-tracks are all very good - 4 of them hail from the never-released follow-up album to No Dice recorded early 1971. The strongest of them is the group-composition I'll Be The One, which at a certain point was considered as a single - I believe it had the hit-single potential. Another bonus-track is Joey's Mean, Mean Jemina rerecorded for his After The Pearl album; this version is much better. 

Badfinger - 1970 - Magic Christian Music

Magic Christian Music

01. Come And Get It 2:19
02. Crimson Ship 3:40
03. Dear Angie 2:37
04. Midnight Sun 2:45
05. Beautiful And Blue 2:37
06. Rock Of All Ages 3:12
07. Carry On Till Tomorrow 4:43
08. I'm In Love 2:25
09. Walk In The Rain 2:23
10. Fisherman 2:22
11. Knocking Down Our Home 3:37
12. Maybe Tomorrow 2:48

Bass, Vocals – Tom Evans
Drums, Vocals – Mike Gibbons
Guitar, Piano, Vocals – Joey Molland
Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizer, Piano – Pete Ham

There are few bands in the annals of rock music as star-crossed in their history as Badfinger. Pegged as one of the most promising British groups of the late '60s and the one world-class talent ever signed to the Beatles' Apple Records label that remained with the label, Badfinger enjoyed the kind of success in England and America that most other bands could only envy. Yet a string of memorable hit singles -- "Come and Get It," "No Matter What," "Day After Day," and "Baby Blue" -- saw almost no reward from that success. Instead, four years of hit singles and international tours precipitated the suicides of its two creative members and legal proceedings that left lawyers as the only ones enriched by the group's work.

Pete Ham (April 27, 1947 -- April 23, 1975) was born in one of the rougher areas of the port city of Swansea, Wales, the third of three children. A very active, adventurous, and moody youth, his biggest passion in life as a boy was music -- his father was a fan of big band music and his older brother played the trumpet. Ham began playing the mouth organ at age four and then turned to the guitar, at which he became extremely proficient, in the '50s. He got his first guitar in 1959, and in the early '60s formed a trio, called the Panthers, with two friends, playing the music of the Shadows, Cliff Richard's backing band. The group later became a quintet and began using other names, including the Black Velvets and the Wild Ones. Members came and went around Ham, and one of the new additions in the early '60s was bassist Ron Griffiths (born October 2, 1946), whose earliest musical inspirations included the Shadows and the Ventures. The group, with Ham, Griffiths, and guitarist Dai Jenkins at its core, eventually settled on the Iveys, after a street in Swansea, and also as a tribute to the Hollies, not to mention their appreciation of the American song "Poison Ivy."

In 1965, Mike Gibbins (born March 12, 1949) became the Iveys' drummer. Gibbins, a very powerful player, helped push the band to a new level of proficiency and by the end of the year, the group was being booked as an opening act for local appearances by the likes of the Who, the Yardbirds, the Moody Blues, and the Spencer Davis Group.

By 1966, they had a new manager in Bill Collins and were based in London, where they continued to make a name for themselves, both as a regular backing band for vocalist David Garrick and in their own gigs. It was Collins who encouraged the members of the Iveys to write their own songs -- Ham proved the most proficient of the quartet at this, with Griffiths a distant second. By 1967, various record companies and producers, including Decca, Pye, and CBS, expressed an interest in signing them.

That same year, Jenkins left the band and was replaced by Liverpool-born Tom Evans (June 5, 1947 -- November 19, 1983). Evans had been playing with a band called Them Calderstones, an R&B-based band whose main influence was Motown. The group was now one of the top outfits to come out of Wales, equally good at loud rock & roll and lyrical pop numbers, harmonizing Hollies style or rocking out '50s style, and the members were writing an ever-growing body of originals. This was the group that auditioned for the newly formed Apple Records label in 1968. First Mal Evans, the Beatles' longtime roadie -- and a friend of the Iveys' manager -- took up their cause, followed by Peter Asher, the head of A&R for the label. Finally, they attracted the attention of Paul McCartney.

The group's history at Apple was seldom a smooth one, despite their talent and the very favorable contract that they were offered. Somehow, between the disorganization that seemed to characterize the company's operations from day one and the sheer breadth of the group's talents, a suitable debut single proved very difficult to arrive at. They were too good at too many different sounds, and almost too flexible in their musical attitudes for their own good.

A debut single was selected in late 1968 in the guise of a Tom Evans original, "Maybe Tomorrow." The record never became a hit in England or America (though it charted very high in Holland and Germany), but the label did follow it up with an LP. Unfortunately, the Maybe Tomorrow album was something of a blown opportunity. Once one got past the title-track and a couple of other decent rock songs, it was top heavy with novelty tunes that sounded like resurrected '30s pop numbers. This error was a result of many problems: Neophyte producer Mal Evans, who lacked the confidence to assert any judgment, a manager who liked those old-style numbers, and the group's inexperience. The album passed with barely a ripple, never getting out in America and scarcely making it out the door in England, though it did get released in Germany, Italy, and Japan. The record's near-suppression had nothing to do with artistic objections, but rather, with the internal turmoil that Apple was going through at the time.
The group's fortunes were rescued by Paul McCartney, who brought them a song he'd written called "Come and Get It," all as part of the proposed soundtrack for a movie called The Magic Christian. They ended up with a number four British hit single and a number seven hit in America, with comparable sales throughout most of Europe; they were now the most successful group ever signed by the Beatles, the problem being that they weren't an intact group at the time of the release. Ron Griffiths, whose girlfriend had given birth to their child in early 1969, quit the group midway through the recording of the music for The Magic Christian.

More than a lineup shift was in the offing. The band used the opportunity to change their name, which had proved to be source of confusion thanks to the presence of an older and better established group called the Ivy League. The new name, Badfinger, came from the working title of the Beatles song "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Bad Finger Boogie." It beat out such suggestions as the Glass Onion and the Prix (which came from John Lennon, who surely hoped it would be mispronounced frequently).
Tom Evans switched to bass in the course of recruiting a replacement member. After trying (and failing) to recruit Hamish Stuart out of the Marmalade, the group found Joey Molland (born June 21, 1947), a Liverpool guitarist who had been associated with a group called the Masterminds, the Fruit Eating Bears (the backing group for the Merseys), and had been playing with Gary Walker. He joined the newly christened Badfinger just in time to play gigs in support of the release of Magic Christian Music, an LP assembled from the songs from the movie, augmented by remixed versions of the best songs from the Iveys' Maybe Tomorrow album.

The new lineup was the strongest yet, after some sorting out and Evans getting accustomed to working with the bass. Ham and Evans were already seasoned songwriters who proved themselves able to write songs to order when they worked on The Magic Christian. That score gave a good look at what this band could do and, apart from McCartney's "Come and Get It," what they could compose. "Carry On To Tomorrow" was a Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmony number with a high haunt count, while "Rock of All Ages" was greeted by some listeners as one of the best original British rock & roll numbers since the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There."

Gibbins had begun composing as well, and then along came Molland, who was a formidable songwriter in his own right. They developed a much harder rocking, more solid sound, and suddenly Apple Records found itself with more than just a hot rock act in their midst. During 1970-1971, Badfinger, on top of their own commitments, played on many Apple-associated sessions. Ham, Evans, and Molland had key roles in projects associated with George Harrison, including singles such as "It Don't Come Easy" and the album All Things Must Pass, and at the Concert for Bangladesh. They also worked on John Lennon's Imagine album. Amid all of this activity, the group also recorded what the group believed to be their best album, No Dice, which yielded one classic recording, "No Matter What," as well as an original song, "Without You," by Ham and Evans, that was turned into a monster worldwide hit by Harry Nilsson.

It was also in 1970 that the group first hooked up with agent Stan Polley, who ultimately became their manager. He seemed at the time to offer the kind of shrewd, ambitious management that they felt they needed, as all of these events and opportunities were breaking around them. The group liked Bill Collins well enough and owed their original intro to Apple to him; they kept him in charge of their English affairs, but Collins wasn't up to handling the kinds of six-figure deals and international commitments associated with a world-class music act, and Polley seemed to offer that expertise.

Polley reorganized the group's finances, supposedly to secure their futures, though ultimately they saw virtually none of the money they were earning. The band toured America and saw the No Dice album get rave reviews. They also found some less than pleasing elements to their success once they realized precisely how fixated American audiences were on their connection to the Beatles. They came to despise having to play "Come and Get It," and also resented being asked more about their relationship to the Beatles than about their own music.

At the end of 1971, the group released Straight Up, which today is generally regarded as their best album. Straight Up produced two huge singles, "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue," plus an FM hit in the form of "Name of the Game." To the outside observer, the group's future, like its present, looked ideal. They were all over the radio, touring the United States, and the release of the movie The Concert for Bangladesh, in which George Harrison introduced the band during the concert, was only icing on the cake that year.
In point of fact, Straight Up had been a very difficult album to record, going through two producers, George Harrison and Todd Rundgren, in the course of getting something usable. It sold well and might have even sold better had Apple promoted it more actively but, in a sign of the company's internal problems, the group was largely left to fend for itself when pushing the album on tour. Additionally, although the album was popular and Ham enjoyed working with and learning from Harrison, the other bandmembers, especially Molland, felt that Straight Up didn't sound very much like Badfinger. Certainly the two singles had textures and sounds that one easily associated with latter-day Beatles' records and Harrison's solo material.

Moreover, the connection with Harrison did nothing to relieve them of the Beatles connection. Furthermore, even at that point, there were problems developing collecting the money they were making -- Apple was in a state of chaos, with Badfinger and the individual Beatles the only artists who were making any money for the company. Additionally, their new manager, Polley, was making all kinds of moves involving their finances, supposedly looking after their interests, but effectively keeping their money from them. And they were still playing a brutal schedule of tours and recording sessions.

The year 1972 was one of constant touring and very little recording. A new album was needed, which the group proposed to produce themselves. Their attempt late in 1972 at cutting a fifth Apple LP failed to yield anything usable. In early 1973, producer Chris Thomas was brought in to help them complete the album, a process that delayed its completion until the spring of 1973.

By that time, the band was in an awkward, almost impossible situation with their record company. Polley, knowing that their Apple contract was ending in the summer of 1973, negotiated a multi-million dollar contract with Warner Bros., a fact that upset the people in charge at Apple, most notably George Harrison. Continuing at Apple was impossible, however: The record label was in the midst of a state of rapid decline and Allen Klein, still in charge, was insisting on a less favorable contract for the group.

In the meantime, the group kept touring and writing. Their final Apple album, entitled Ass, was released late in 1973 just as the record label was nearing the end of its existence as a viable company. The subsequent Apple bankruptcy (which would also tie up the group members' publishing royalties) and the settling of accounts would take many years, and in the meantime cost the group hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Just weeks after finishing work on Ass, which they genuinely wanted to support with a tour, they commenced work on a hastily conceived album, Badfinger, for which they had little enthusiasm. Ass, which appeared in November of 1973, had been a departure for the group in terms of its sound, and Badfinger, coming so close on its heels, had given audiences too much to absorb, even though it was a better album.

The group returned to the studio early 1974, just as the first Warner Bros. album was dying in the marketplace and the reviews, to cut Wish You Were Here. Meticulously recorded and produced, the album should have been a triumphant comeback for the group. It was at this time, however, that the financial machinations involving the group's accounts broke to the surface. Millions of dollars were gone from an escrow account set up to protect both the group and the record label and Wish You Were Here, which had gotten the group's best reviews in two years, was withdrawn weeks after its release in the fall of 1974, apparently on advice from the company's lawyers.
Previously, Gibbins had left the band for a time in late 1972; now it was Ham's turn to exit the group, or at least try to. The mix of personalities and legal entanglements had grown impossible, with Polley controlling all of their income and huge amounts of money seemingly vanished.

The year 1974 was, for the band, the culmination of a series of events that would keep lawyers and accountants busy for years. The individual group members found themselves impoverished and in debt despite their years of work, and with little prospect of seeing any of their money at any time soon. A third Warner album, entitled Head First, was hastily recorded by the group late in 1974, but was never released. By that time, the situation between the record label and the group had deteriorated, leading to the canceling of their contract in early 1975.
On April 23, 1975, a year into these financial and professional crises, Ham -- critically short of money, with no prospect of seeing any that was owed to him, and with a daughter on the way -- hanged himself in his garage. The group's affairs, already a shambles, had turned into a nightmare. The surviving group members tried to put their personal and professional lives back together over the next few years while the overlapping suits and counter suits wound their way through the system on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1978, with the help of drummer Kenny Harck and guitarist Joe Tansin, Evans and Molland tried reviving the Badfinger name with the album Airwaves. Harck left during the recording of the album as did Tansin soon after, so the remaining duo hired ex-Stealers Wheel drummer Peter Clarke and former Yes keyboard man Tony Kaye to round out the group. They later toured America and a second album, Say No More, followed in 1981, but there was little stability to any of these latter-day versions of the band. Evans, Molland, and Gibbins had an on-again/off-again relationship, and at different times were fronting rival groups exploiting the Badfinger legacy; the legal conflicts proved almost insoluble, as the members themselves disagreed with each other. Sometime early in the morning of November 19, 1983, after a loud argument with Molland over the telephone, Evans hanged himself.
The irony was that there was sufficient demand for Badfinger material, that their albums were widely pirated on CD in the late '90s. Among the non-Beatles Apple CD reissues, the Badfinger albums (apart from Ass) were the only group of recordings that sold well enough to justify remaining in print into the 21st century. Molland managed to entice and then alienate fans in the '90s with the release of a live Badfinger album from tapes dating from the early '70s -- on which the drums and other instruments had very obviously been re-dubbed. Various radio performances and concert recordings later surfaced, along with the documentary film Badfinger (1997), which recounts much of their story.

Magic Christian Music was the first album to bear the Badfinger name, though 6 of the songs on the album are in fact old Iveys recordings already released on Maybe Tomorrow. Some fans do not even consider this album a Badfinger record, since it does not feature Joey Molland,who is usually regarded as an original member. Actually the band decided to find a new name months before Molland entered in December 69. It cannot be denied that a good deal of the album is both in spirit and style more Iveys than Badfinger, but I think the recordings on this album done with Paul McCartney really show that the band was very close to the famliar Badfinger sound. Great tracks like Midnight Sun, Crimson Ship and Come and Get it would have fitted nicely into the follow-up album No Dice. Walk Out in the Rain is another stand-out track, in my view a potential evergreen. Rock of All Ages is probably the wildest rocker the band ever recorded. Beautiful and Blue and Knocking Down Our home were 2 of the strongest tracks on The Iveys album and they also suit this album well. Maybe Tomorrow which had been i minor hit, was also selected for this al bum. Though much better album than Maybe Tomorrow it suffers from some of the same flaws. The material is too varied in style and quality to make a real strong consistent album. In fact I find the American 12 tracks version of the album more listenable. The two bonus tracks are Iveys recordings from late 68 - none of them very interesting.