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Frank Zappa was right................
on 29 October 2010
`Writing about music is like dancing about architecture' Frank Zappa once said, or at least he said something like that, and he had a point. In Badfinger's case he had an especially pertinent point because this was a band capable of coming up with perfectly-crafted pop gems which, thanks to the music writers of the late 1960s / early 1970s became saddled with a debilitating `new Beatles' tag in much the same way as Steve Forbert got landed with the `new Dylan' tag at a time -the late 1970s- when `kids in the know' were signing up for the white riot of punk. As it is, ND originally came out in November of 1970, when perhaps a fair percentage of the known world was pining for the four who were "fab" on their Apple label. Fate plays such funny games...............
But what did those music writers know anyway? Evidently not enough to realise that Badfinger guitarist / vocalist Pete Ham's "Midnight Caller" is so fine because it's free of every contrivance and performed in a manner which lets the song do the talking, as opposed to an overwrought vocal or fussy arrangement.
Admittedly the band had the dubious distinction of getting a hit with McCartney's "Come And Get It" which of course made it a little easier for those small-eared writers, but the perfect riposte is here with Ham's "No Matter What" replete with crunchy guitar intro and harmonies that some bands would have paid an extortionate price to get.
So all in all labelling Badfinger the British Big Star smacks of laziness similar to that displayed by those writers who bandied that `new Beatles' tag around. Oh and the original reading of Ham and bass player Tom Evans's "Without You" is the best, simply because it's so well balanced.
Looking for great, time-honoured song craft? Well it's here in abundance with performances to match, so pay no mind to the lazy comparisons, including this reviewer's.