BADFINGER No Matter What Revisiting The Hits

BADFINGER No Matter What Revisiting The Hits 
Cleopatra Records [Release date 02.04.21]

Badfinger were one of our greatest pop rock bands with a criminally short life-span, not least due to the sad demise of the band’s two main movers and shakers Tom Evans and Pete Ham.

Since that time Joey Molland (vocals, guitar) has carried the torch for the band whilst also releasing solo works in his own right.

The latest is perhaps long overdue, a collection of the band’s most popular songs performed by Molland with a bunch of rock A-Listers.  Vanilla Fudge’s Mark Stein opens shop with ‘No Matter What’ whilst Rick Wakeman contributes to ‘Come And Get it’.

One of the band’s biggest hits – the George Harrison-produced ‘Day After Day’ – is given empathic treatment by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson with Terry Reid and a string quartet.

‘Without You’ – here performed by a somewhat subdued Todd Rundgren – was a major hit for Harry Nillsson in 1970 but sadly the success of the song contributed to Tom Evans’ suicide in 1983 as he battled for songwriting royalties.  (Rungren, by the way, co-produced the band’s ‘Straight Up’ album).

Straight Up also yielded ‘Suitcase’ (here performed by Sonny Landreth).  One of the highlights of my TV music diet in the early 1970s was Badfinger performing this piece as an extended jam on the regional ITV show ‘Set Of Six’.

It may be said that these Beatle protegees never realised their full potential but now some fifty years later they can be re-evaluated.  If this tribute has us all reaching for the band’s original albums, job done.  ****

Review by David Randall

Badfinger: reissues (2013)

CACTUS Tightrope

CACTUS Tightrope Cleopatra Records [Release date 02.04.21]

Who would have ever thought that in 2021 we get a new album from hard rockers Cactus?  The band originally formed out of the remnants of Vanilla Fudge – psychedelic heavy rockers of the late 1960s and the original line-up included that band’s Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums).

Bogert sadly died in January this year but the last man standing Appice is here together with Jim McCarty (on two tracks) and long-term members Jimmy Kunes (vocals) and Randy Pratt (harmonica).

Historically Cactus were a blues-based hard rock band and ‘Tightrope’ is a minor revelation with the band firing on at least three of all four cylinders.  New guitarist and co-producer Paul Warren (Rod Stewart, Richard Marx) adds purpose to songs like ‘Tightrope’, the Zeppelin-esque ‘Primitive Touch’ and ‘Elevation’. There’s even a cover of ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ whilst ‘Poison In Paradise’ is a tasty slow-blues.  An extended piece – ‘Suite 1 and 2′ – evokes the band’s post-1960s origins and influences.

We have no right to expect a new album from a band with such legendary credentials.  And we certainly might not expect such an impressive update.  ****

Review by David Randall

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.

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MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
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