Friday, December 9, 2011

Badfinger 5: Badfinger

Having said goodbye to Apple, the label that introduced them to the world at large, Badfinger found themselves shackled to a punishing recording schedule on a new label. While they were eager to do whatever it took to “make it”, they were in the position of having to come up with a brand new album mere months after completing Ass.
Given this background, it’s surprising that Badfinger is as good as it is. It’s evenly balanced between the three main singers, all of whom contribute superior, tuneful tracks. Pete Ham is back in his element, and his songs here are as good as any in his arsenal. “I Miss You” borders on the too sweet, but “Shine On” evokes a Wellie-shod ride through the green hills of the UK. Joey’s “Love Is Easy” fulfills the boogie quotient, and he’s supposedly the subject of “Song For A Lost Friend”, a title that can’t help but be suggestive. A minute of audio-verité bridges “Why Don’t We Talk?”, and the first side closes with “Island”, a toughly played love song from Joey.
Maybe it was because they were trying for a fresh start, but there’s something completely alien about “Matted Spam”, from the title to the prominent horn section. Tommy continues his questioning in “Where Do We Go From Here?”, and with Mike’s excellent “My Heart Goes Out”, it’s obvious that the band was obsessed with the uncertainty in their lives, and justifiably so. But leave it to Pete Ham to take that knotted brow and turn it into something as genuinely loving as “Lonely You”. Joey’s frustration closes the album, first with the slow-burning “Give It Up”, then with the frenetic snapshot of “Andy Norris”.
As good as Badfinger is, it wasn’t going to change their fortunes any. Which is too bad, since it was a decent album. Its limited availability over the years was certainly a hindrance, and even CD versions have been rare, but it became available as a legal download in time from the usual sources, and finally got an expansion in 2018. Outside of an unreleased Tom Evans song, the additions are rough mixes of album tracks with mostly mild differences, but at least it’s easier to find.

Badfinger Badfinger (1974)—
2018 expanded edition: same as 1974, plus 10 extra tracks

3 comments:

  1. always a great favourite of mine a big wall of sound, strong taut songs and no wasted space- only their next one comes close for me

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  2. According to the Badfinger book, "Song For A Lost Friend" is not about Joey Molland but is about one of Pete Ham's former girlfriends.

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  3. Interesting. I haven't read the book in a while, so I'll look into it.

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