Additional comments to the 2010 remastered release:
"Ass" is undoubtedly the Badfinger album that has benefitted most from the new remastering. On the first CD release from 1996 the sound was very muddy and certainly not on par with the other Apple reissues. This is now thankfully corrected with this new 2010 release.
Also disappointing was it that the 1996 version contained only one single bonus track. This has also improved with this release, which now includes five bonus tracks, several of which are really exciting additions.
"Do You Mind" was the lone bonus number on the first release. On the new edition is the number again to find, but in a different version, which unfortunately is not better. I am missing Tom Evans fine harmony vocals on the chorus, a little frustrating since Molland himself is no great singer.
Pete Ham's "Apple of My Eye" is found in an earlier edition produced by the group themselves, good, but not as good as the final version which Chris Thomas helped to produce.
Tom Evans's "Blind Owl" is also found in an earlier version which "Apple of My Eye" is interesting, but not quite as good as the final version.
"Regular" is an unpretentious Joey Molland song that has never before been released. The song appear finished, but has probably originally not been found good enough to get on the album. Another outtake from "Ass" is Pete Ham's "Piano Red", which unfortunately is only available as a digital download, unless you want to invest in then Apple Box set. A shame, as the album generally lacks Pete Ham songs - it must be said that "Piano Red" is a somewhat atypical Ham song which may also have been deselected by being too different.
The last number is a different mix of Pete Ham's magnificent "Timeless". The mix is not as clear as the album version, but sounds like it's the same basic track, but with a different and shorter end. Since the album version is over seven minutes, some might feel that this slightly shorter version is to be preferred.
The story behind the release of Ass is in several ways similar to that behind "Straight Up". The first recordings for this album, that turned out to be their last for Apple Records, began in January 1972; and the final recording took place in April 1973. The album was not released until late 73 in the USA and in March 74 in Europe. Their change of record company from Apple to Warner Brothers was one among other reason for the delay. Actually a first version of the album had been completed by the end of 72, but it was rejected by Apple. The original version of Ass had been produced by the band themselves, and they were going for a more basic rock album. In early 73 Apple called in Chris Thomas to produce new recordings and to look through, what had already been finished. A similar situation had occurred when Todd Rundgren had been recruited for finishing "Straight Up". The two earliest recordings on this album were in fact ("The Winner" and "I Can Love You") produced by Rundgren. Pete's "Apple Of My Eye" and "Timeless" were re-recorded and two new Molland songs ( "Icicles" and "Constitution") with Chris Thomas were added. The rest of the album are leftovers from the scrapped version.
The album turned out to be a commercial failure; not because of the music but because of other things like little promotion, bad timing, the change of record company, lack of recent hit-single etc. The album was different from their earlier albums - they had wanted to do basic rock album representing the music they performed live, and that is mainly what "Ass" became. People who'd expected and hoped for another album similar to "No Dice" and "Straight Up" were obviously disappointed. Pete Ham only contributed 2 songs, of which only "Apple Of My Eye" was a typical Ham composition. Tom Evans wrote two very strong tracks, "When I Say" and "Blind Owl" - the first a lovely ballad and the second a wonderful rocker, which became a live favourite. Mike Gibbins wrote "Cowboy", a country styled song, which sound somewhat unfinished and which does not fit very well into the concept of the album. The rest of the album was written by Joey Molland. 3 straight ahead blues/rockers and two ballads. The album is the first where Pete Ham really gets a chance to demonstrate what a great lead guitarist he was, f. ex. on tracks like "Blind Owl", "Constitution" and "Timeless". The only bonustrack "Do You Mind" is an outtake from the first version of the album - it's written by Molland and it's one of his best early Badfinger songs.
My favourites: "Apple Of My Eye", "Blind Owl", "When I Say", "Timeless" and "Do You Mind"