Head First

Released on Snapper Music SMADD 829 - Nov. 2000.









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Tracks: Written By: Lead Singer: Time
1:Lay Me Down (Ham) Pete 3.35
2:Mr Manager (Evans) Tom 3.32
3:Keep Believing (Ham) Pete 4.08
4:Passed Fast (Evans/Jackson) Tom and Bob 4.18
5:Rock'n Roll Contract (Evans) Tom 4.39
6:Saville Row (Ham) 1.00
7:Moonshine (Evans/Gibbins/Jackson) Tom 3.55
8:Back Again (Gibbins) Mike 2.55
9:Turn Around (Jackson) Bob 4.21
10:Rocking Machine (Gibbins) Mike 1.27

Bonus Tracks :

11:Time Is Mine (Ham) Pete 1.45
12:Smokin' Gun (Ham) Pete 1.22
13:Old Fashioned Notions (Gibbins) Mike 4.12
14:Nothing To Show (Ham) Pete 1.03
15:You Ask Yourself Why (Gibbins) Mike 2.17
16:Keep Your Country Tidy (Ham) Pete 2.23
17:To Say Goodbye (Jackson) Bob 3.46
18:Queen of Darkness (Evans) Tom 2.13
19: I Can't Believe In (Ham) Pete 2.10
20:Thanks To You All (Gibbins) Mike 2.41
21:Lay Me Down (Ham) Pete 2.55

My comments:

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 extraordinary inspired.

Forbidden Records 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

My favourites: Lay Me Down, Mr Manager, Keep Believing, Moonshine, Back Again

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