What does it sound like?:
What was very nearly the name of Free’s second album (taken from Kerouac’s novel) finally surfaced as Bad Co’s 5th album, first released in 1979. This time round there are 19 extra tracks, most of which are alternate takes.
In the 5 years since their debut Bad Company had established themselves as the platinum album global stadium act. Not that you would have expected much else given their Free and Mott credentials along with Peter Grant’s management heft. And whilst they were untroubled by punk, there’s a melancholy weariness here that saw this incarnation of the band manage just one more album. Or as Rolling Stone said at the time, the ballsy rocking was constrained by “a jockstrap of despair”. Now there’s a band name in the making.
The album yielded two strong singles – the well known “Rock N Roll Fantasy” and less familiar (but equally as good) “Gone Gone Gone”. Thereafter pickings were slim. It’s not that there were any real stinkers (although for me the plodding “Early In The Morning” certainly whiffs a bit), it’s just that the rest remain fairly unremarkable. “Crazy Circles” suggests a beefed up “Seagull” from the debut album and “Lonely For Your Love” boogies along nicely, it’s DNA shared with “Can’t Get Enough”. Unfortunately “Rhythm Machine” is undermined by boppy plucked bass, and several tracks incorporate syndrums. For the original release they picked the wrong version of “Oh Atlanta” – the alternate take, slowed down with less harmonica and more Rhodes piano is miles better.
Amongst the other extra tracks are two versions of the fairly ordinary “Smokin 45” which was (rightly) left off the album but appeared on a compilation a few years back, and the unreleased “Rock Fever” which huffs and puffs to no great effect. A bluesy piano led jam titled “What Does It Matter” sounds like it had potential but it’s gone after 2 minutes. Otherwise there are 3 more versions of “Rock n Roll Fantasy”, which mostly document the different guitar sounds considered. “Gone Gone Gone” can be heard with more handclaps and there’s a more stripped down “Evil Wind”. The set signs off with an acapella “Amen”. So be it indeed.
What does it all *mean*?
It means that time was nearly up and before long Paul would be part of The Firm.
Goes well with…
A deep sigh.
Out now pop pickers
Might suit people who like…