The recordings for
Badfinger's third Warner album began at the end of November
1974. You would expect the members of the band at this
point to be totally exhausted from touring, financial
worries, commercial and the departure of Molland; and
of course they were.Never the less they were still convinced
that they could/had to work their way out of their crisis.
For their latest British tour they had recruited Bob Jackson
(keyb.), because of a short departure of Pete Ham. This
tour had been as a 5-piece and by the end of the tour
Molland had left the band. Two you producers were found
for the new album; Kenny Kerner and Ritchie Wise - before
Badfinger they had produced The Stories.
New songs did not
come easily to Pete at this point; he was losing faith
in the the whole thing, but he worked hard to come up
with more quality material. Of his three contributions
for Head First the two of them are among his best ever.
The opener "Lay Me Down" is a very catchy and powerful
rocker with great commercial potential. "Keep Believing"
was written to Joey Molland and it's a typical Ham ballad;
a very beautiful melody. Pete's third track is a short
instrumental called "Saville Row". Tom Evans is back as
a very important songwriter on the album. He'd written
two songs alone and two songs in collaboration with with
Mike and Mike/Bob. The first two are angry comments to
the music business; both of them very intense; especially
Mr. Manager is bound to become an all-time Badfinger favourite.
Rock'n Roll Contract was rerecorded for Say No More, but
this version is much better - I love the middle part.
Passed Fast and Moonshine are well-known from Best of
Badfinger Vol 2 - both of them very strong and indicating
that this new line-up might have become their most interesting
ever. Bob Jackson demonstrates powerful vocals and songwriting
abilities on Turn Around; a track that could have been
written and sung by Steve Winwood. Mike wrote Back Again
and Rocking Machine. Back Again is close to My Heart Goes
Out in style and feeling - perhaps even better. Rocking
Machine though it sounds a bit unfinished is a charming
little tune; I think Mike sounds a lot like George Harrison.
All in all the band
play and sing their best on this album that is among Badfinger's
strongest - perhaps the best. Pete Ham does not sound
burdened by having to play all guitars and they all appear
had originally planned to release the album in April 1999,
but there were complications and delays. Forbidden Records
did not possess the original master-tapes but a 4-track
reference master copy. The original master-tapes which
have been considered lost seem to have been rediscovered
in the vaults of Warner Brothers. This means that they
may release the album some time in the future. or maybe
license it to another label. Until that may happen luckily
we have this Snapper release remastered from Bob Jackson's
tape copy of the original Apple mixes.
The bonus tracks
are all great songs; some are them are at an early stage
and the sound quality is not very good on most of them.
Still it's always nice to hear new songs by Pete Ham.
I believe his 4 new songs here could have been developed
into great Badfinger tracks. Of the other songs I especially
like Mike's You Ask Yourself Why
Lay Me Down, Mr Manager, Keep Believing, Moonshine, Back
Other very good songs:
Rock'N Roll Contract, Passed Fast, Turn Around. Rockin
Machine, You Ask Yourself Why, Keep Your Country Tidy,
I Can't Believe In
Of 10 possible stars I
would give this album: 9