Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Bad Company" by Bad Company (1974)

(...more cover artwork by Hipgnosis)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Fun Fact: The only other bands I know of that have not only a self-titled album, but also a self-titled song are Black Sabbath and Wilco.

Filed between: Bachman-Turner Overdrive and a compilation called "Banjo in the Bluegrass."  (No Bad Brains or Bad Religion on vinyl.)

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
HIGHLY Recommended (3.5/4 stars)

Key Tracks: 
Guitarist Mick Ralphs penned three the four megahits on "Bad Company."  It turns out that I prefer the songs Paul Rodgers had a hand in.  They all have a great late-era Beatles vibe.  My faves are: Rock Steady, Don't Let Me Down (NOT a Beatles cover) and Bad Company ('cause cowboy rock songs are cool).

I have heard the same argument used for Bad Company that is often used for Def Leppard: "But they sound so [wistful sigh] perfect."  I respond, as I do in regard to Def Leppard, with "but they sound so [deflated sigh] perfect."  Boston is really the only band that toes that line in a great way, IMO.

I think maybe Bad Company (and "Bad Company" - quotes are critical in this post) sounds a little TOO clean and pristine.  I also think maybe that's why they get a bad rap in some circles.  Sometimes, music just needs a little dirt on it; I think it could have elevated "Bad Company" even further.  [Editorial Note: I want to point out that this is a positive review, despite how it may sound.  I just feel like the band left something on the table that might have resulted in a REQUIRED LISTENING assessment.]  When you get studio perfection, it most often comes at the cost of soul and authenticity.  Usually, it also makes for really good music (as is the case here), but it can feel like something is missing and you think maybe something even more magical could have happened if the engineers and producers just got out the way.  For the record, "Bad Company" was self-produced by the band.

Rock Steady is the closest they get to letting go of the reins and just going with it.  It's also the ballsiest (and
simplest) track on "Bad Company."  Rock Steady is a lot of easygoing fun. I wish more of "Bad Company" was.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  Precision and perfection do have their merits.

Up next, we keep with the self-titled trend and get "Genesis" by...

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