Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Badfinger 2: No Dice

Having added the photogenic Joey Molland on lead guitar, Badfinger became a rock band (as opposed to a pop group). They weren’t able to escape the Beatle comparisons, especially being the only rock band on the Apple label, which had to promote No Dice alongside the other five Beatle solo projects that had been released in 1970. It also didn’t help when one of their songs was called “Love Me Do”, and another is a dead ringer for “Oh! Darling”.

But they do benefit from the jolt of electricity, with “I Can’t Take It” leaping from the speakers, and the stellar power pop of “No Matter What”, one of the greatest rock songs of all time, as the first single. “Better Days” chugs along amid an excellent guitar frame, and “Watford John” is a rollicking boogie-woogie.

Pete Ham starts to emerge as the hidden genius in the band, thanks to the sentimental “Midnight Caller” and the verse portion of “Without You”; the chorus was added by Tom Evans, and soon became a worldwide hit in a syrupy arrangement under Harry Nilsson’s added ache. “Blodwyn” is a nice dose of Welsh folk, and “We’re For The Dark” gets a touch of strings to help it along. Not to be outdone, drummer Mike Gibbins was responsible for the riveting “It Had To Be”.

No Dice is a decent album, and holds together as one, which is why it gets an edge in its rating. It was a moderate hit as well, partially from the Beatle connection and mostly because of “No Matter What”, and was one of the most anticipated reissues of the initial CD era. Of course, only one of the bonus tracks on that ended up on the 2010 CD, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the 12-track album proper.

Badfinger No Dice (1970)—
1992 CD reissue: same as 1970, plus 5 extra tracks
2010 CD reissue: same as 1970, plus 5 extra tracks

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