Sunday, November 22, 2009

Badfinger - 1975 Head First 2CD (2000)


Badfinger completed their best album in 1975, then had it pulled from the shelves in a haze of managerial misdeals and contractual screw-ups. They were good soldiers, at least for a while, heading into the studio (without Joey Molland, who bailed at the last minute) to bash out another album for Warner, completing it in two weeks. Warner rejected the effort, lead songwriter Pete Ham committed suicide not long afterward, and the album sat in the vaults until late 2000, when Artisan/Snapper released Head First as a double-disc set (the second disc consisting of demos and outtakes). Head First confirms that Badfinger had settled into a groove with Wish You Were Here, finding an effective middle ground between their pop gifts and hard rock inclinations, with both Ham and Tom Evans contributing equally strong works. That they're equally embittered to the music industry (three of the songs deal directly with their business troubles) is no surprise, yet they manage to make it tough, melodic, and remarkably sympathetic. There are no songs that shine as brilliantly, when isolated, as those on its immediate predecessors, but Head First works as a cohesive album, holding together better than any Badfinger record outside of Wish You Were Here. It's not likely that it would have changed their destiny any if it had been released in 1975, yet it certainly wouldn't have been an embarrassment, and it's now a welcome addition to their catalog; it provides a sense of closure.
Badfinger  1975 Head First 2CD (2000 USA Snapper Music )

CD 1

1. Lay Me Down
2. Hey, Mr. Manager
3. Keep Believing
4. Passed Fast
5. Rock 'N' Roll Contract
6. Saville Row
7. Moonshine
8. Back Again
9. Turn Around
10. Rockin' Machine

CD 2 (Demos & Bonus tracks)

1. Time Is Mine
2. Smokin' Gun
3. Old Fashioned Notions
4. Nothing To Show
5. You Ask Yourself Why
6. Keep Your Country Tidy
7. To Say Goodbye
8. Queen Of Darkness
9. I Can't Believe In
10. Thanks To You All
11. Lay Me Down (Demo)

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