Ignore the previous reviewer's comments this is Bad Company at their very best and easily compares with their stunning debut. Like that debut this 1975 follow up is chock full of classics from the stomping Good Lovin' Gone Bad, the bump n' grind sweatfest of Feel Like Makin' Love (surely one of Rock's horniest paeans to the horizontal art), raw Blues/Rock of Deal With The Preacher and Mick Ralph's mesmerising slide riffs on the scorching Wild Fire Woman. With Paul Rodgers amazing soulful vocals, Mick Ralph's tasty and economic riffs, Simon Kirke's rock solid drums and Boz Burrel's sinuous bass lines this album cemented Bad Co's position as peerless blues/rock giants who took up that mantle after Led Zep's more experimental forays (Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti) saw them moving away into more prog flavoured waters. With Bad Co what you get is no frills, no fuss, no histrionics and no flabby excess just pure stonking blues filled whiskey soaked rock with great melodies and incredible hooks. The albums highlight is undoubtedly Shooting Star an epic tale of a guitar gunslinger who hits the big time only to die tragically - considering Rodgers' old sparring partner in Free Paul Kossoff died less than a year after this album's release it now seems oddly prophetic and would stand as the perfect eulogy on the great Koss's extraordinary talents. The sweet honky tonk of Weep No More with it's acoustic guitar and orchestral strings is simple and emotional with none of that cloying sentimental cheesiness that affects rock bands when they go for a hit ballad (Whitesnake anyone?). Likewise the soulful Anna and Call On Me, with it's tasteful keys, recall the stunning ballads of Rodgers previous band Free and so make this album a perfect package - and a firm fan with female rockers too.
Sadly the rot began to set in with the next album Run With The Pack and by 77's Burning Sky Bad Co were a pale shadow of a once great band. This album is their peak and should be in the collection of any fan of classic driving bluesy rock.
on 19 November 2008
Many would agree that this album represents Bad Company at their most confident. Does that translate to quality? I say it does. This is their greatest achievement.
Contrary to popular belief, this was not a copy of the first BC album. SS is sassier, heavier, and more consistent, viz:
Good Lovin' Gone Bad - It may have those Ralphs trademarks, but is certainly not a Can't Get Enough clone. For a start, it was never a Mott the Hoople song! (CGE actually dates from 1970, when MtH were an Island Band.) This is tough hard rock at its most memorable, and crunchy.
Feel Like Making Love - A unique (apart from track 4) mix of acoustic wistfulness and heavy rock fire. Outrageous, in a nice way. And who can argue with THAT guitar solo?
Weep No More - A beautiful song that shows what a romantic Simon Kirke is. The other three make this a sublime moment too. Perfect.
Shooting Star - Structured like track 2, but still its own song. Simple but very effective. The heaviness that brings the song to its climax is again shocking amongst the country-esque charm of the verses.
Deal with the Preacher - Heavy and funky (hear Boz' clever bass-lines), with a great lyric about indecision over commitment. A great fave with the late Tommy Vance, bless him. One of Ralphs' greatest solos, rivalling Blackmore or Santana at the time.
Wildfire Women - The sort of laid-back heaviness that Bad Co excelled at. Slide guitar adds a certain musical menace. This shows Rodgers stretching out more than any other song I can think of. A gem.
Anna - Again Mr Kirke does the heartfelt thing. Possibly the most Free-like moment here. No flash, just feeling.
Call on Me - The perfect way to end an album. This is an uptempo ballad, with a funky backbeat. The lyrics are as evocative as the music. And one should again mention Ralphs' guitar artistry. He puts emotion before technique, but has the technical ability to make it work.
Sorry this review is so overwhelmingly positive - this can make for very boring reading! - but this album is so inspired and well-made that I couldn't find a single fault to get arty (or arsey) over. Buy with confidence.
on 12 April 2015
For many fans of classic rock, a reissue programme of Bad Company's work is long overdue. Therefore, it is all the more encouraging to discover that the band's first two albums have been given such satisfying overhauls at last. I have owned both of these albums on vinyl for some years and each one is great but, if I had to make a choice between them, i would say STRAIGHT SHOOTER (1975) just has the edge over the self-titled debut.
Featuring singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon kirks from Free, guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell, late of progressive rockers King Crimson, Bad Company coalesced in late 1973, cut a deal with Led Zeppelin's fledgling Swan Song Records and released a self-titled debut album in 1974 that was tailor-made for global success. Spearheaded by the Ralphs-penned single 'Can't Get Enough', the album topped the charts in America and made the Top Three here in the UK. A round of sell-out touring thus found the band brimming with confidence as they ventured to Clearwell Castle with assistance from Ronnie Lane's in-demand mobile studio to record what would become STRAIGHT SHOOTER in late 1974. And sure enough, this second long-player was another slice of excellence.
This time around, Mick Ralphs delivered an equally muscular opening gambit in 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad', while incomparably soulful vocalist Paul Rodgers came up with possibly one of his finest ever songs in 'Shooting Star'. Notably too, drummer Simon Kirke offered up two compositions of sensitivity in the lilting shuffle of 'Weep No More' and the ballad 'Anna'. For this listener, STRAIGHT SHOOTER showcases a little extra sonic variety than the debut record, where here the likes of the delightful acoustic-into-electric structure of 'Feel Like Makin' Love' ultimately makes for an album which is somehow less "dry" and more refined whilst still retaining Bad Company's signature sound of rock-solid crispness and power.
As for this reissue, well this listener is as happy as can be. The original album itself - contained on disc one - sounds very nice indeed. Audiophiles that bemoan the fact that they find the sound of some CDs too harsh and loud should be very pleased with this: the sound has a vibrancy with a nice bottom end which I think compares very favourably with my old vinyl copy. One crucial difference this time, however, is that I can finally appreciate the delights of Boz Burrell's bass playing, something which I always felt was unintentionally lost on the records (Burrell was a notable exponent of the fretless bass guitar). Like the original album, the bonus disc contained within this package is also filled with several highlights. As well as alternate versions of all of the album's songs, we also get two full-fledged outtakes which didn't make the final album - 'See The Sunlight' and 'All Night Long' - and the single B-side of 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad', 'Whisky Bottle'. The nice fold-out digipak contains an informative booklet containing a track-by-track breakdown of the bonus cuts, while the alternate band photos used on both the US and UK inner sleeves are reproduced on the inside leaves of the digipak (I didn't even know different shots were used in the two territories until I got hold of this reissue).
I am not entirely sure whether these reissues of Bad Company's first two albums are all that we can expect from this reissue programme - on a global scale, both BAD CO. and STRAIGHT SHOOTER were arguably the band's most successful records - or whether such albums as RUN WITH THE PACK (1976) and DESOLATION ANGELS (1979) will also be getting this deluxe treatment. On the evidence of STRAIGHT SHOOTER in particular, it would be nice to think so.
There can't be many FREE and BAD COMPANY fans the worldwide that don't look misty-eyed at the cool Hipgnosis cover art for 1975's "Straight Shooter" and feel a quickening of the pulse and parallel movement in their ever so tight leather pants (well maybe not so tight in 2015). Bad Company’s self-titled debut from 1974 and this "Straight Shooter" (their 2nd smash album on Island Records in 1975) were always going to get 'Deluxe Edition' treatment at some point - and with recent archival discoveries - a 40th Anniversary seems like as good a time as any. It’s just that few of us could have expected such a bonanza of properly classic 70ts Rock on Disc 2 - because this is a wickedly good 2-disc 'DE' when a lot in the last few years have felt superfluous to requirements or worse - callous cash-ins. Here are the loaded dices...
UK released April 2015 – "Straight Shooter: Deluxe Edition" on Rhino/Swan Song 081227955533 (Barcode is the same) is a 2CD set and breaks down as follows:
CD 1 – Original Album (2015 Remaster) – 38:49 minutes:
1. Good Lovin' Gone Bad
2. Feel Like Makin’ Love
3. Weep No More
4. Shooting Star
5. Deal With The Preacher [Side 2]
6. Wild Fire Woman
8. Call On Me
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 2nd studio album "Straight Shooter" – released April 1975 in the UK on Island ILPS 9304 and in the USA on Swan Song SS 8413. It peaked at No. 3 on both charts.
CD 2 – Bonus Tracks: Alternate Takes & Unreleased Songs – 68:48 minutes:
1. Good Lovin' Gone Bad (Alternate Vocal & Guitar)
2. Feel Like Makin' Love (Take Before Master)
3. Weep No More (Early Slow Version)
4. Shooting Star (Alternate Take)
5. Deal With The Preacher (Early Version)
6. Anna (Alternate Vocal)
7. Call On Me (Alternate Take)
8. Easy On My Soul (Slow Version)
9. Whisky Bottle (Early Piano Version)
10. See The Sunlight (Previously Unreleased Song)
11. All Night Long (Previously Unreleased Song)
12. Wild Fire Woman (Alternate Vocal & Guitar)
13. Feel Like Makin' Love (Harmonica Version)
14. Whisky Bottle – non-album track, B-side to "Good Lovin' Gone Bad' released as a 7" single in March 1975 on Island WIP 6223 in the UK and Swan Song SS-70103 in the USA
A clever touch in the foldout Deluxe Edition digipak is the photos adorning the inner flaps (they were on the inner sleeves of the original LPs). The leaning over the crap-table photo with the band dressed up in duds was taken by Aubrey Powell – but for some reason the US and UK inners had slight differences. The one used on the left flap of the digipak is the American version where Simon Kirke (on the far left) has just flung the two dices and they’re caught in mid air – the right flap has the UK variant where the dices have settled on the table (both showing sixes). What's also noticeable is that terrible photo of their posteriors that was on the other side of the LP inner sleeve is AWOL completely (someone clearly wants to forget that photo). The other inner flaps show master tape boxes and both CDs sport the Swan Song logos. The 20-page booklet is superbly laid out with new liner notes from band expert DAVID CLAYTON (author of "Heavy Load: The Story Of Free") and wonderful repros of French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian and Yugoslavian singles in rare Picture Sleeves (as well as other relevant memorabilia). Clayton (who coordinated and compiled the release) discusses the album's making and better still – gives a song-by-song breakdown of the Alternates so you know their musical history. Very tastefully done...
JON ASTLEY did the Remaster for the album at Close To The Edge Studios in the UK from the original production tapes - while RICHARD DIGBY SMITH did the Alternates and Bonuses on Disc 2 (mixed from the original multi-tracks). GEORGE MARINO did the original Remaster in 1994 and bluntly it's hard at times to hear the difference except that the Rhythm Section is clearer – a subtle warmth to the Bass and clarity to the Drums. What you can't mistake is the sheer power of the original RON NEVISON Production - this album sounds amazing - and Rocks for all the right reasons. Those who haven't heard it before on CD will be in for a treat...
Featuring Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke of Free on Vocals and Drums, Boz Burrell of King Crimson on Bass and Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople on Guitar - BAD COMPANY was virtually a Rock Supergroup right from the get go (apparently they took their name from a 1972 Jeff Bridges film). "Straight Shooter" is short as an album but oh so sweet (probably their best record). To tempt the market a month before the LP’s release Island Records put out the kick-ass "Good Lovin' Gone Bad" in March 1975 as a 7" single with the non-LP "Whisky Bottle" on its flip. It rose to a respectable 31 in the UK - but for such Mick Ralphs winner you would have expected a better position. When the album turned up in April 1975 and the public realised how good it 'all' was – it sold in truckloads and leapt up to No. 3 on both sides of the pond. And with killer ballads like "Weep No More", "Anna" and the epic boy-does-good-then-dies storytelling of "Shooting Star" – somehow the lyrics of this song alone echoed the British band's fortunes. Bad Company suddenly became huge. And being on the same label as Led Zeppelin in the States (Swan Song) and having the same maverick manager (Peter Grant) – helped proceedings too. By the time the sexy Rock Riffage of "Feel Like Makin' Love" hit the streets in August 1975 on island WIP 6242 – fans were digging the blistering axework of Side's 2 "Deal With The Preacher" and the funky swagger of “Wild Fire Woman" – as catchy a tune as Paul Rodgers and Mick Ralphs have ever penned. And the whole shebang sounds rip-roaring. But then you're hit with a genuine shock – nearly 70 minute of unreleased goodies on Disc 2...
CD2 - what's noticeable (and I'm sure this has been picked by many fans) is just how like FREE Bad Company sounded in rehearsal rather than the slick Rock machine of "Straight Shooter". There's a thrilling roughness and loose feel to these outtakes that makes you think you’re eavesdropping on a band recording greatness. Even though the earlier version of "Deal With The Preacher" (March 1973) lacks the magnificent riffage of the finished 1975 version – there's a gorgeous keyboard break and you can hear the amazing rhythm section of Burrell and Kirke for real this time. Simon Kirke's "Anna" has always been a pretty song – but here on the Alternate Vocal version Paul Rodgers gives it a really Soulful go and makes you appreciate what a great singer and interpreter he is (still sounds and looks great). Rodgers also keeps the keyboards going on a very rough version of "Call On Me" – the worst recorded of the lot.
Fans will know that Paul Rodgers' "Easy On My Soul" is a FREE track that turned up on their 6th album "Heartbreaker" in 1973. Here Bad Co. gives the songs a 'live-in-the-studio' spruce up and you can hear why – there's great stuff going on in the song as it boogies funkily along (I'm loving this outtake the most). We then get a barroom brawl version of that wicked B-side "Whisky Bottle" which was apparently marked as a master but never used (I'm glad – I think the version they did use is far better). That's not to say this take isn't worthy - it is. Here we get a Snafu/Micky Moody type slide guitar from Mick Ralphs and its properly great. Its at this point that things really take off with the inclusion of two new songs left in the can for 40 years – "See The Sunlight" and "All Night Long" – and both are fabulous. For "See The Sunlight" Ralph cranks up the boogie through those Island Studios Leslie Speakers and at times it feels like really good Foghat with Paul Rodgers on the mike. It's surmised that "All Night Long" sounded too much like "Movin' On" from the 1974 debut LP - but actually it feels like a lesser version of “Good Lovin' Gone Bad" to me – but in a really good way.
How cool is to hear one of the album’s hero tracks "Wild Fire Woman" in Alternate Form – here it features both different vocals and guitars and is just brilliant (you can hear the band cooking). It cleverly ends on a lethal double-whammy – a Harmonica Version of "Feel Like Makin' Love" and the finished mix of the kicking B-side "Whisky Woman". Then we get broadsided. Originally used on a short Promo Film of the band doing the single – the Alternate "Feel Like Makin' Love" has all the huge Production values of the finished article but different Vocal passages and at 2:46 - suddenly a lonesome cowboy Harmonica comes sailing in making Bad Co. sound like "Jailbreak" Thin Lizzy a year before the 1976 event. All the huge guitars are there and more – Ralphs letting it rip towards the end – and it even has a little Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti" mellow guitar moment as it fades out - wow - what a total winner this is. The released version of the rare "Whisky Bottle" B-side only cements this DE’s 5-star status.
Their following albums "Run With The Pack" (1976), "Burnin' Sky" (1977) and "Desolation Angels" (1979) somehow all fell way short of the opening salvo of "Bad Co." in 1974 and its best buddy "Straight Shooter" in 1975. But this 'Deluxe Edition' finally reminds us why we loved them in the first place...and how. No fallen angels here...
on 14 May 2002
I felt like giving it four stars but it is better than that. Mainly the same formula that worked so well on their debut set, this has a bit of a kick to it, the original just pips this album but this is still a classic. My personal favourite from this album is 'Deal With Preacher' because of it's infectious guitar riff and great drumming. Other songs to look out for are the classic 'Feel Like Makin' Love', 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad' and 'Shooting Star'. Rodgers has a few ballads crammed in for good measure, these being 'Weep No More' and 'Anna'. If you like the first album, you'll love this one too. Buy It!!!
on 24 April 2015
If you like Straight Shooter but are wondering whether the bonus disc is worth having and whether you'll listen to it more than once, the answer is yes and yes. The early version of Deal With The Preacher is better than the version released - the guitar is less heavy and more intricate; and See The Sunlight is superb and should have been on the original album. I'm not a big fan of Simon Kirke's two songs but the early version of Weep No More has heavier guitar which improves it no end. Anyway, these are just my opinions but overall the second disc is well worth having and bears repeated listening.
I see amazon have done their usual thing and kept the original album's reviews on here for the new deluxe edition, therefore I feel I am justified in only looking at the extra album of outtakes and alternative versions. Before I do, just to set the scene, Straight Shooter was the first album I ever bought with my own money. I saved up from my Saturday job to get this baby and it was virtually the soundtrack to my summer of 1975 so yes I admit to being biased and I consider this album one of my top three of all time so I approached the second disc with a little bit of trepidation in case it didn't meet with expectations. It did though. To take each track in turn
Good lovin' gone bad is given a harder, more basic tone and would have justified its release against the actual track on the album
Feel like makin' love is a much rougher effort. Paul Rodgers' vocals are a bit over the place on the chorus so you can hear it's a work in progress
Weep no more (slow version) is certainly that. It's a bit turgid to be honest and you can see why they zazzed it up on the released version with a bit of Hammond Organ and a quicker rhythm. (Apologies here by the way - I'm no musician so my use of such terms are amateurish in the extreme)
Shooting Star (alternate take) sounds just fine to me. This is one of my all time favourite songs and this version is just a bit less polished than the released version with less on it if that makes sense - less acoustic rhythm guitar and and no guitar solo.
Deal with the Preacher (early version) opens with some banter and gets into what sounds like a live in the studio workout. Of course it is rougher round the edges as would be expected but as a standalone track it is quite excellent in its own right. Rodgers' voice is spot on in this one, shouting out the "Angel you came..." bit rather than the more reflective version that was released
Anna has an alternate vocal which to be honest isn't that different from the released version, just with different phrasing and emphasis. Great vocals though
Call on me to my ears doesn't sound that much different (told you I wasn't a musician) The sound is a bit more muffled if that makes sense and it comes in a bit shorter time wise with a subtly different outro but it's still a belter
Easy on my soul (slow version) has had a number of incarnations to my knowledge. Recorded as Free on Heartbreaker and I think it was the B side to Can't get enough but here it comes up as "funky blues" as Paul Rodgers says half way through the track. I rather like this version
Whiskey Bottle appears in two incarnations - the effort that appeared as a B side to Good Lovin' Gone Bad is a country rock number with slide guitar prominent. The other "slower" version is a more middle of the road effort. They definitely used the better version on record.
See the sunlight and All night long have never been released as far as I know. The former sounds like it may have been written for Heartbreaker, it's a gentle shuffling ballad. The latter opens with a riff that is possibly too like Good Lovin' Gone bad to have made the original release. That's my hypothesis anyway. It's alright but nothing special.
Wildfire Woman is an earthier mix than the released version. Rodgers is in great voice - when is he not? - but the whole track is just a bit thinner sounding than already on record. Still great though.
Feel like makin' love (harmonica version) sounds almost like the released version but with added harmonica. Obvious I know but they definitely released the better version. It sounds ....interesting shall we say?
Now I have to admit to having listened to this on a download version so a lot of the background to each track may be available on the discs and I will be sending off for them presently, but in the meantime, all you old - and young - rockers out there. Enjoy!
on 18 May 2010
Bad Company had some good tunes but I always felt there was a moody feel to their music bordering almost on being depressive - However, this album unlike the first one has more drive and energy and thus the moody element is more subdued. Anyway the album is atmospheric and reminds me of the 70s - how would i feel about it as pure music if it did not have connections for me, as music inevitably does with time and place? That I do not know!
on 20 June 2011
I bought the vynl version of 'straight Shooter' shortly after it was released. I loved Free and Bad Company a good combination of solid rock and blues. I have been meaning to buy the cd version of this album for a long time, but tonight i will make the purchase and i know i will not be dissapointed, because the songs on this album are classics and still resonate in my head.
Following from their self titled debut, this is the second release from seventies supergroup Bad Company. Featuring vocalist par excellence Paul Rodgers, drummer Simon Kirke, guitarist Mick Ralphs and bassist Boz Burrell, this picks up pretty much where the previous album left off, with track after track of classic blues rock. There are powerful rhythms, driving beats, great guitar breaks and hooks, and of course some classic powerful vocals from Rodgers.
There is track after track of classic rock here - tune into any rock radio station for an hour and the chances are that you will hear a track of this album. And there is a reason for this, it is superbly done, well crafted rock that really uplifts you and leaves you wanting more. An absolutely classic album.