BBC In Concert 1972-3


Fuel 2000 Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For a while in the history of music, the only way you'd ever have heard of Badfinger was to either have tuned in to the local oldies station, stumbled upon an old, worn-out copy of one of their albums in a relative's collection or to have paid upwards of $100 for said record in much nicer condition from a dealer. (I was lucky, and happened to find a copy of Straight Up in my uncle's records. I still have that record.)

The re-release of most of Badfinger's catalog while on Apple helped to stir up some interest in the band (as well as the ghosts of the suicides of members Pete Ham in 1975 and Tom Evans in 1983), but after that, it again seemed like Badfinger was destined for the deepest realms of the vaults of obscurity.

With the recent release of BBC In Concert 1972-3, that just might change. These 15 tracks capture the band at the highest pinnacle of their career, and you can almost feel the glow coming through your speakers. Even in the rare shaky moment or two, Badfinger will quickly make you wonder why you haven't heard more from these guys.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The first half of the disc, taken from a June 1972 concert, inexplicably includes two Dave Mason covers. Granted, they do a killer version of "Only You Know And I Know" and a passable job on "Feelin' Alright" - one of the few classic rock songs I can think of that gets worse the more I hear it. But, come on ! They were working their Straight Up album at this time! Where's "Baby Blue"? Where's "Day By Day"? Where's "No Matter What" from No Dice? If any collection screamed for the definitive live versions of these tracks, BBC In Concert 1972-3 is it.

That being said, the songs selected for this part of the album are impeccable. "Better Days" is a wonderful start to the show, and two tracks from Straight Up that normally don't get attention, "Take It All" and "Suitcase", are given the chance to show their true glory. (Another version of "Suitcase" shows up in the next part of the disc.)

The second half of the CD (except for one track) features Badfinger at the same concert hall (London's Paris Theatre) in August 1973. Musically, Badfinger sounded a little shaky at times - check out the uncertainty on songs like "Love Is Easy" - and the band was in the midst of switching from Apple to Warner Brothers. Regrettably, the two CDs from this time are out of print, so unless you bought Ass (the only Apple release I believe that didn't get reissued) or Badfinger, chances are you're hearing most of these cuts for the first time. And if first impressions mean anything, the performances are decent but the material isn't anything to write home about.

Still, it's the performances of guitarist Joey Molland, guitarist Ham, bassist Evans and drummer Mike Gibbons that sells this set, and it's more than enough to carry the songs through. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the album's closer, a 1970 "Top Of The Pops" version of their debut hit "Come And Get It," which occasionally sounds out of tune. (C'mon, guys, you're telling me with the vastness of the BBC's tape library, a better live version of this song doesn't exist? My arse.)

If there were any justice in this world, BBC In Concert 1972-3 would signal a rebirth of interest in a band who unjustly were compared to the Beatles for most of their career. If this disc does anything, it proves just how good and multi-faceted Badfinger were live, and this should be a welcome addition to your collection. Who knows - if this disc takes off, maybe then we'll see the rest of Badfinger's catalog grace CDs.

Rating: B+

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