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Straight Up (1971 re-mix DCC GOLD DISC)

 


1. Take It All (Pete Ham)
2. Baby Blue (Pete Ham)
3. Money (Tom Evans)
4. Flying (Tom Evans/Joey Molland)
5. I'd Die Babe (Joey Molland)
6. Name Of The Game (Pete Ham)
7. Suitcase (Joey Molland)
8. Sweet Tuesday Morning (Joey Molland)
9. Day After Day (Pete Ham)
10. Sometimes (Joey Molland)
11. Perfection (Pete Ham)
12. It's Over (Tom Evans)

REISSUE BONUS TRACKS(1995):
13. Money (original version)(Tom Evans)
14. Flying (original version)(Tom Evans/Joey Molland)
15. Name Of The Game (original version)(Pete Ham)
16. Suitcase (original version)(Joey Molland)
17. Perfect (original version)(Pete Ham)
18. Baby Blue (U.S. single mix)(Pete Ham)

Taken from pre-release bio:

The year was 1971. The future had never look brighter for Badfinger. The past 12 months had seen two U.S. Top Ten singles, Come & Get It and No Matter What, and the band had toured America on the back of No Dice, Their first album recorded with new guitarist Joey Molland. The tour had spanned the last three months of 1970, and Badfinger had traveled across the States, not in plush, chartered aircraft, but on economy-class Greyhound buses. Better things lay ahead -- although life wouldn't be without its problems. After the Christmas break, the group returned to work on 9th January 1971, and set about the task of recording the follow-up to the critically acclaimed No Dice. With Geoff Emerick and the Band working closely together on the album's production, recording took place at three London studios, George Martin's Air, Abbey Road, and Command in Piccadilly.

Much to Badfinger's annoyance, their American manager then arranged a ten-week tour of the USA to raise funds. This meant rushing the completion of the new album, and despite all of their efforts, as their departure date grew nearer, recording began to lag a little behind schedule. The tapes were eventually finished in time, but with a flight to America booked for 4th March, the album had to be mixed in just one day. Badfinger reluctantly flew to the States, leaving their hastily completed, still untitled LP at Apple. In spite of their haste, the finished tapes sounded superb to the band's ears and were considered by them to be their most accomplished work to date. But the album was destined never to be released.

The U.S. tour ended on the 16th May, and Badfinger returned home on the 18th, to discover that the recordings had been rejected as their next album, and any immediate plans for a follow-up to No Dice had been dropped. looking back on the events. Joey Molland said in 1992, "The tapes sounded like they were recorded properly, but I think Apple thought they were a bit crude. They wanted us to go in for an Abbey Road-type sound"

While on tour in America, Badfinger had visited the Bell Sounds studios in New York, where supersession man Al Kooper had added piano and organ overdubs to a remix of Name of The Game, which with Suitcase as it's B-side, had already been assigned a catalogue number (Apple 35), and had been slated for imminent release as the band's next single. But once back in London, and despite the fact that Tom Evans had announced in an interview that the single would be released "in about a week", they discovered that plans for this too, had been dropped. Badfinger had every reason to feel dejected. All thier recent recordings had been shelved, and three months of hard work in the studio seemed wasted. (A similar fate would befall "Baby Blue" in 1972; despite being penciled in as Apple 42, the single was canceled shortly before its UK release.)

But more than adequate consolation was in store when they learned that George Harrison had expressed a wish to produce them. For Joey Molland at least, this confirmed that it was George who was keen for Badfinger to develop a more polished, studio based sound. The band were naturally delighted, as there was nothing blasť about Badfinger. On several occasions in the past, and on various projects, each member had worked with at least one Beatle, but there was undeniably magical about having a whole LP produced by Harrison. According to Joey, Pete Ham was particularly keen to work with Harrison on their more sophisticated sound for Badfinger. Fresh with ideas for the revamped version of their album, and with several new songs already written, the band were buzzing with excitement when they returned to work at Abbey Road's small No. 3 studio, where George had recorded parts of All Things Must Pass. Throughout June and July 1971, Badfinger worked at Abbey Road with George Harrison. The album was a fresh start, and no recording from the original set, completed six months earlier, was to be re-used. Old songs retained for this revised running would be re-recorded from scratch. With George at the controls, four tracks were begun: two new recordings, Name of the Game and Suitcase; and two new songs, I'd Die Babe and Day After Day.

When released as a single in 1972, Day After Day became an enormous success, particularly in America (where it came out a few weeks earlier), and earned Badfinger a gold disc. Joey Molland clearly recalls the recording of this classic song: "We had done the backing tracks -- bass, drums, acoustic guitar and a rough vocal - and Peter and I were down in the studio working out the slide guitar parts when George came in and said, "Would you mind if I played slide on this?" I mean, this man's a hero, he's a Beatle, so I said, "No man, that's okay, sure, go right ahead."

But Pete Ham played slide guitar too, and in a sign of the camaraderie between Ham and Harrison, they both recorded their separate parts of guitar fills and solo, which were then doubled-up on the final version of the song. George also brought along the considerable talents of Leon Russell, and he can be heard playing piano on Day After Day.

Everything was going well, the recording was running smoothly and both the band and Harrison were delighted with the results, but suddenly, in the middle of July, at the request of his friend Ravi Shankar, George had to pull out of the sessions - to work on the Concert For Bangla Desh. With just four tracks completed, Badfinger were naturally disappointed by George's departure - but there was no denying that appalling life-and-death events were taking place on the other side of the world demanding more of Harrison's attention. Badfinger were invited to play at the charity concert, held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on the 1st August 1971, where they augmented the superstar performances with contributions from the wings. A nervous-looking Pete Ham, guitar in hand, also joined George under the spotlight for an acoustic version of "Here Comes The Sun."

When Badfinger returned to Britain to work on more songs for what would eventually become Straight Up, Apple informed them that sessions for the ill-fated album would resume in September. As George would be tied up with the mixing of the Bangla Desh tapes for eventual release, a new producer had to be found. Todd Rundgren was the man chosen for the job. Although renowned in the States for his group Nazz, and a couple of acclaimed solo albums, he wasn't particularly well known as a producer. He had engineered the Band's Stage Freight LP, however, and came highly recommended for his quality of work and speed in the studio. But as Joey Molland recalls, Badfinger had never heard of him. "We had to run out and buy some Todd Rundgren records to find out who this guy was!"

Rundgren took charge of the group like no other producer had done, and within two weeks the album had been completed. Apple gave Rundgren carte-blanche to finish the sessions as he saw fit, And as well as recording Badfinger's batch of new songs with himself as producer, he chose to re-work and mix tracks from both the original aborted LP, and the George Harrison sessions. Badfinger and Rundgren never became close, but the band admired his consummate production skills. "Todd is a great producer", said Joey Molland in 1992. "I can't take that away from him. He did know what he was doing.", and drummer Mike Gibbins added simply, "He was a wizard in the studio."

With Rundgren at the controls, the album received a complete overhaul, falling more or less into line with the sophisticated, "produced" sound, which George Harrison and Pete Ham had in mind. "The feel of the album totally changed", said Joey.

Straight Up was finally released in February 1972 (December 1971 in the USA), and went on to become Badfinger's most popular and enduring album. It seemed, at last, as if they were poised for real success.. .

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