Badger - One Live Badger (1973)
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Progressive Rock, Hard Rock | Repertoire Records #REP 4373-WY
Badger was a British rock band from the early 1970s. The band was co-founded by keyboardist Tony Kaye after he left Yes, with David Foster. Foster had been in The Warriors with Jon Anderson before Anderson co-founded Yes. Foster later worked with the band on Time and a Word. Kaye had worked on a solo project by Foster that was never released. The pair found drummer Roy Dyke, formerly of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, and Dyke suggested Brian Parrish formerly of Parrish & Gurvitz which later became Frampton's Camel (after Parrish left P&G) on guitar. The new band began rehearsing in September 1972 and signed to Atlantic Records. Badger's first release was the live album, One Live Badger, co-produced by Jon Anderson and Geoffrey Haslam, and was taken from a show opening for Yes at London's Rainbow Theatre...
Badger's first release was the live album, One Live Badger, co-produced by Jon Anderson and Geoffrey Haslam, and was taken from a show opening for Yes at London's Rainbow Theatre. In the progressive rock genre, five of the songs were co-written by the whole band, with a sixth by Parrish (initially written for Parrish & Gurvitz). The cover art was done by Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of Yes's album covers, although Kaye left Yes before their partnership with Roger Dean.
By 1974, the band had been reduced to Kaye and Dyke. They recruited bassist, Kim Gardner, who had worked with Dyke in Ashton, Gardner & Dyke. Paul Pilnick, formerly of Stealers Wheel, joined on guitar, as did singer Jackie Lomax. Lomax proceeded to turn them into the type of R&B/soul band he had used on his solo albums. The band became a vehicle for Lomax's songs and singing. During this period, they released one LP, White Lady, on Epic Records, produced by Allen Toussaint. All ten songs were written or co-written by Lomax. Guests on the album included Jeff Beck (contributing a guitar solo to the title track). However, before the album's release, the band had split into two factions, with Lomax and Gardner leading a short-lived band called White Lady, before Lomax returned to a solo career.
One Live Badger is the easier Badger album to find, and the one worth having anyway. As the album's title indicates, the band also took the unusual step of making their first album a live recording of original songs. It has aged very well -- with all the energy of live performance, there's none of the usual studio excesses or noodling of the era. The Yes connection via Tony Kaye is abundantly evident; the album was co-produced by Yes singer Jon Anderson, uses long instrumental breaks and prominent Hammond organ solos, and features the obligatory Roger Dean cover art. Nonetheless, the brooding lyrics and soulful harmonies make comparisons to Traffic and Blind Faith a much closer musical match. The first half of the album is excellent, kicking off with the pleasingly hoarse vocals of David Foster on the full-tilt rocker "Wheel of Fortune" and the pensive "Fountain." There's an especially tight rhythm section underlying the restrained guitar work of "Wind of Change," combining to produce the album's best song. But the second half of the album, with rather mopy numbers like "The Preacher," doesn't quite keep up this momentum. Reissued as a CD in 1993 by Repertoire Records.
01. Wheel of Fortune [07:51]
02. Fountain [07:22]
03. Wind of Change [07:18]
04. River [06:50]
05. The Preacher [04:00]
06. On the Way Home [07:40]