Additional comments on the 2010 reissue.
It was great news that Apple decided to reissue their four Badfinger albums and give them a remastering. The first CD release of "Straight Up" dates back to 1993, and although the sound on the old release was great, this is a clear improvement.
The number of bonus tracks is the same, but it must be noted that four of them are different. These come from the originally unreleased Geoff Emerick produced follow-up album to "No Dice" from late 1970. This album has never been released in its entirety. But with the previously unreleased bonus-track on this release, along with the digital download only version of "Sweet Tuesday Morning" it is now possible to compile your own version of that album. A great sham that the album was never released, as it would really have been a great album, that might have secured Badfinger even more recognition.
The long period between the releases of "No Dice" and "Straight Up" did not help the band sustain their popularity, so when the group finally did release "Straight Up" around new year 1972, they more or less had to start over again. They did manage to return to the charts with the two great singles from "Straight Up", "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue", but bad management meant that their succes more or less ended there; but that's another story.
Actually among the bonus-tracks you'll find two great singles that never were. Both were stronly considered; "Name of the Game" even was given catalog number in both the U.K. and in the U.S. ( Apple 35 / Apple 1833 ). "Name of the Game" is one of Pete Ham's very best songs, which really deserves recognition as a classic. "I'll Be the One" wasn't even released until 1993, which is just as sad, as it's an extremely cacthy song that captures the folky trends of the time, and has a feel very much like that of early Lindisfarne.
Three of the bonus-track are released here for the first time ever. They're all great additions to the Badfinger song catalog, and deserve a few comments each.
The legendary unreleased Pete Ham song "Baby Please" is actually a group composition, but clearly with Pete Ham in the lead. Pete sings this great boogie-rocker and also delivers some great lead-guitar. A song worthy of Status Qou.
Tom Evans' "No Good at All" is a straight forward blues-rocker, with great vocals from Tom and some great slide guitar from Pete Ham.
"Sing for the Song", also written by Tom Evans", is probably the strongest composition of the three. Unbelieveable that it wasn't released at the time. Apple really did a bad job there, missing potential hit-songs and shelving first class material. "Sing for the Song" is a Beatles-influenced, very much in the vein of the "Magical Mystery Tour" approach. Note that this time Pete Ham excels at the piano. By the way the track-listing of the unreleased 1971 album is supposed to have been like this:
Side One: Suitcase ( Molland) / I'll Be the One (Badfinger) / No Good at All (Evans) / Sweet Tuesday Morning (Molland) / Baby Please ( Ham/Gibbins/Molland) / Mean, Mean Jemima (Molland) Side Two: Name of the Game (Ham) / Loving You (Gibbins) / / Money (Evans) / Flying (Evans/Molland) / Sing for the Song (Evans) / Perfection (Ham) - An album that really deserve an official release in its entirety.
There are fine and informative liner notes written by Andy Davis. A strongly recommended release.
By the end of 1971 Badfinger had actually recorded two albums since the release of "No Dice". The first remains unreleased to this date!. The second was released in February 1972 ( a bit earlier in the USA ), and was titled "Straight Up". Apple did not like the sound of the original album - they wanted a more polished sound. The rejected album had been produced by Geoff Emerick, and in spring 1971 George Harrison expressed wish to produce the band. Of course this was an offer that could not be rejected. George finished 4 tracks before he had to pull out to work on the Bangla Desh concert . To finish the album Todd Rundgren was recruited. Rundgren went through the recordings done with Emerick and Harrison and did some remixing on some of the tracks. Furthermore 7 new recordings were done for the album, which ended up to be Badfinger's most "produced" album - maybe along with "Wish You Were Here" - and it's indisputably among their finest. This album is one of their best loved, and it ranks among the greatest albums to come out of the seventies.
Pete Ham is the main contributor of songs to the album. His 5 songs on the album are all among his greatest. The two hits, "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue" are well-known ,and "Take it All", "Name of The Game" and "Perfection" are all stand out tracks. Tom Evans wrote "Money" and "It's Over" - the latter considered by many to be one of his greatest with Badfinger. Molland wrote the acoustic ballad "Sweet Tuesday Morning" "I'd Die Babe" ( an optimistic country styled George Harrison production ) and the two rockers "Suitcase" and "Sometimes" - both became part of Badfinger's standard concert repertoire. The album is very well produced by Rundgren/Harrison - a bit overproduced at times, some might say. The bonus-tracks are all excellent - Name of The Game and Perfection even better than the album-versions.
My favourites: Take it All, Baby Blue, Name of The Game (both versions), Day After Day, Perfection and It's Over