Sunday, July 31, 2011

Woodstock '94 Saugerties, New York 8/13/1994

The Band played a superb set the with special guests of Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Rob Wasserman, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Roger McGuinn going through tunes old and new including a version of the Grateful Dead's "Throwing Stones" Fitting show for a fitting concert.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Band

The Band's first album, Music from Big Pink, seemed to come out of nowhere, with its ramshackle musical blend and songs of rural tragedy.The Band, the group's self titled second album, was a more deliberate and even more accomplished effort, partially because the players had become a more cohesive unit. The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal, while the lyrics continued to paint portraits of 19th century rural life (especially Southern life, as references to Tennessee and Virginia made clear), its sometimes less savory aspects treated with warmth and humor.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Music from the Big Pink

At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. The album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock making it's mark in rock and roll.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Voodoo Highway

Plenty of great music slips off the radar, and Badlands is among the greatest crimes of overlookage in the hard rock lexicon. Combining intelligence, chops, a reverence for "roots" music (true blues homage is all over the place here, just like with early Zeppelin) with modern metal sensibilities produces a shimmering rock experience in the form of Voodoo Highway. While Jake E. Lee was never really excepted by many Ozzy fans because he had to follow Randy Rhoads, he has done excellent on his own. He has his own distinctive way of playing and the guitars on here are raw and scorching. With Ray Gillen singing, these guys fit like a glove together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Features former Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Jake E. Lee and Black Sabbath's vocalist Ray Gillen. Badlands' self-titled debut featured a refreshingly stripped-down blues metal sound, which cut against the grain of the polished pop metal then in vogue. Exploding with Lee's impressive chops and Gillen's powerful Robert Plant-like screams, opener "High Wire" sets the energetic tone, and leads the way to other outstanding melodic rockers like "Dreams in the Dark" and "Winter's Call" -- both of which received generous MTV rotation. In retrospect, the album's enduring relevance places it not alongside glam metal groups like Motley Crue or Ratt, but in the better company of other retro-minded hard rock bands such as the Black Crowes

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ginger Baker's Air Force

For a change, the late 1960s yielded up a supergroup that lived up to its hype and then some. Ginger Baker's Air Force was recorded live at Royal Albert Hall in January of 1970. A show that must have been a wonder to watch, as the ten-piece band blazed away in sheets of sound, projected delicate flute parts behind multi-layered African percussion, or built their songs up Bolero-like, out of rhythms from a single instrument into huge jazz-cum-R&B crescendos, considering that this was only their second gig. The band features Steve Winwood, Denny Laine, Chris Wood, Rick Grech, Graham Bond, Remi Kabaka and Ginger Baker himself. It's a must-own for jazz-rock, Afro-fusion, blues-rock, or percussion fans.

Monday, July 25, 2011

River Songs

Bringing the message that life is good and so is the music, Pennsylvania rockers the Badlees bring forth their own brand of rock roots to the table. With an ethnic bluegrass feel to the music, Rivers Songs' instrumental credits shows, in addition to traditional instruments, mandolins, harmonicas, dulcimers, fiddles, harps, kazoos and organs. The lyrics are insightful and full of potential...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here is a glistening, powerful rock record that stays true to power pop while sounding as contemporary as any mainstream rock band of the mid-'70s. It was the kind of record that could have been a hit, but due to a series of legal and managerial entanglements, it was pulled from stores before it had a chance to find its audience. Despite its relative obscurity, most die-hard Badfinger fans maintain that the group shines brilliantly on Wish You Were Here and they're correct.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Badfinger produced the sessions for the Straight Up sequel themselves, abandoning its lush production for a live, hard-rocking sound. Apple wasn't keen on the record, insisting that it be remixed, then, once it was remixed, refusing to release it, so the band jumped ship to Warner Bros. In the fall of 1973, just after Badfinger released their debut single for the label and were prepping a new album, Apple sprung Ass on the world. It certainly hurt the band, since its heavier rock alienated some pop fans and its chart belly-flop tainted plans for a triumphant return on Warner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Straight Up

Straight Up winds up somewhat less dynamic than No Dice, largely because that record alternated its rockers, pop tunes, and ballads. Here, everything is at a similar level, as the ballads are made grander and the rockers have their melodic side emphasized. Consequently, the record sounds more unified than No Dice, which had a bit of a split personality. This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make this album one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Dice

No Dice bears out, boasting old-fashioned rockers, catchy pop tunes, and acoustic ballads. On the surface, there's nothing special about such a well-crafted, sharply produced, straight-ahead pop record, but the pleasure of a power pop album is in the craft. It does achieve the right balance of craft, fun, and emotion. Badfinger proves that songcraft is what separates great power-pop from good, and it's what makes this album a superb pop record.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Magic Christian Music

Since their breakthrough hit "Come and Get It" was written by Paul McCartney, Badfinger was dogged by comparisons to the Beatles, but they were hardly copyists. Elements of the Hollies,the Kinks, and very mild psychedelia are discernable throughout the album, all part of the band's search for their own voice. It's a great collection of dreamy post-psych pop tunes driven by strong hooks and harmonies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The 'Original' Bad Company Anthology

Featuring the voice of Paul Rodgers, one of rock's greatest singers, the thoroughly excellent Original Bad Company Anthology re-establishes Bad Company as a force in the music world. The 33-song, two-CD set contains all the classic songs that made the band a top-selling recording and concert attraction, as well as four brand new songs and six B-sides and outtakes. The new songs are (surprise!) awesome. The only downfall of this album are the exclusion of tunes like "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Electricland".

Friday, July 15, 2011

What You Hear is What You Get -The Best of Bad Company Live...

With only their original guitarist and drummer intact, Bad Company flail away at all of their trademark rockers, winding up sounding like a distasteful parody of the real thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Here Comes Trouble

The repeated AOR formula was sinking the Brian Howe led Bad Company's ship-and fast. Interest began to wane as the group churned out another single, "How About That". This would be the final studio album Howe to appear in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Holy Water

Holy Water is a formulaic yet reasonably engaging collection of AOR hard rock. Although the only original members on Holy Water are guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke, the band does a fair job of approximating the sound of classic Bad Company while adding enough elements of '80s pop-metal to make the record sound appealing. What that success signals is not a creative rebirth for the band, but that the group knew how to follow a formula very well. Holy Water hasn't aged as well as their original hit albums -- instead of the clean, ballsy attack of the first two albums, it's awash in echo and synths -- but it is a finely crafted, big-budget record of the late '80s and early '90s. It's just as indicative of its era as Bad Company is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dangerous Age

Bad Company launched a major comeback in 1988 with Dangerous Age. It wasn't the original lineup, lacking Paul Rodgers, but Mick Ralphs was still on board, and he could still turn out some pretty solid numbers, like the title track and "No Smoke Without Fire". The album also suffers from a slick, late-'80s AOR production, but compared to some of the albums that came later, Dangerous Age was satisfying.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fame and Fortune

Singer Paul Rodgers leaves Bad Company to join the supergroup The Firm with Jimmy Page. Enter former Ted Nugent singer Brian Howe. Definitely a whole new ball game here. Fame and Fortune abandons the classic rock sound and is an unadulterated excursion into AOR territory. The songs are highly melodic, lyrically unsophisticated, and aim to please with a memorable chorus. Not their best album to me, reminds me of Foreigner.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 From 6

A single album compilation of Bad Company tunes from the Paul Rodgers years. Although it is not a bad overview of the band, I feel that a double album would better cover the best stuff from Bad Company.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rough Diamonds

After a three year hiatus, Bad Company returns to action with a new album, Rough Diamonds. Received poorly and critically dismissed due to a mellower approach. Personally, I think its underrated. Paul Rodgers and the boys shine on tunes like "Electricland" and "Untie the Knot". Nevertheless, Paul Rodgers departed soon after the the album release.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Desolation Angels

The good news is that Desolation Angels is a noticeable improvement from 1977's Burnin' Sky, with Bad Company's sound taking on a smoother, more polished feel than its predecessor. Tunes like "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy", "Gone, Gone, Gone," and "Oh, Atlanta" worked in the band's favor, pushing the album past the double platinum mark. The tunes I loved here were "Crazy Circles" and "Evil Wind".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington, DC 1978

Basically what I have here is a taped bootleg of Bad Company live in Washington DC circa 1978. Nothing more known here except for an excellent set of songs including some from a yet unreleased Desolation Angels. Since Bad Company never released a live album from their heyday with Paul Rodgers, it's the only documentation I have from them in concert from back then.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Burnin' Sky

The string finally ran out for Bad Company with their fourth album, Burnin' Sky. Their approach was so simple that it almost inevitably became formulaic, yielding only one single, the title track. This album may be a little rougher around the edges than the previous ones, yet die hard Bad Company fans will like this one.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Run wIth the Pack

It was no surprise they wouldn't mess with the formula on this, Bad Company continues their streak of hits. Radio friendly anthems such as the remake of the Coaster's "Young Blood", "Live for the Music" and the title track became concert favorites. The gorgeous "Silver, Blue and Gold" remains a favorite on the classic rock airwaves...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Straight Shooter

Though not quite as strong as their predecessor, Straight Shooter does bring some strong material up to the plate. The Paul Rodgers penned ballads "Shooting Star" and "Feel Like Makin' Love" would live on forever in the annals of great rock history. The rest the album however containing the rockers of "Good Lovin' Gone Bad", "Wild Fire Woman" and "Deal With the Preacher" remain regular staples on classic rock radio.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bad Company

Bad Company's 1974 self-titled release stands as one of the most important and accomplished debut hard rock albums from the '70s. Though hardly visionary, it was one of the most successful steps in the continuing evolution of rock & roll. This album signified a return to more primal, stripped-down rock & roll. Throughout the 35-minute album, Paul Rodgers' mesmerizing and gritty vocals hardly vary in tonal quality, offering a perfect complement to Mick Ralphs' blues-based guitar work.