The Pin That Anchored The Badge,
This review is from: The Townshend Tapes (MP3 Download)
Before he bacme a lynch pin of the New York Examiner's popular culture section; before he created the free floating line up of New York's The Badge, Jeff Slate was a hard working solo artist who toured the US supporting many aritsts including Cheryl Crowe. Such was his energy and drive that, through his younger brother, Jeff attracted the attention of none other than Pete Townsend of The Who, who provided the funding for these very classy demos.
Fans of The Badge will find this a rewarding release, showing how Jeff came to that first Digital Retro album; indeed two of the songs were released on that very first album. The production has echoes of both the later work that Slate would produce later with The Badge, particluarly in the hammond laden mid noughties sessions, but you can also hear the sound of Townsend in here as well, who was acting as executive producer, it also has echoes of the sound used by Ray Davies on his second solo album Working Man's Cafe over ten years later.
Babylon is the definite leader on this collection; a heavy grooving tune which at first listen might sound like a piece of carpe diem hedonism, but in reality is a cynical swipe at the LA celebrity lifestyle. My Dolly is not quite in it's jangly sixties pop form that it would later find, but has a good solid groove of a well polished band performing well and still has that catchy hook at its heart. Perhaps most interesting here is Unfinished Business, which again would return on Digital Retro in a more Sergeant Pepper sounding form, here it sounds like nothing Slate has done since; an epic workout with a sound to fill an arena, indeed it comes close to the early nineties stadium sound of the time.
A polished early set from a man with a lot of knowledge and a lot of drive.