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Released - Dec 13, 1971 on Apple Records. Produced by Todd Rundgren and George Harrison
Pete Ham - Lead and Backing Vocals, Vocal
Harmonies, Electric, Acoustic & Slide Guitars, Keyboards
George Harrison -
Slide Guitar on "Day
All songs written by Badfinger, individual credits below.
Guess you can say that the bad times started to happen to Badfinger with the beginnings of this record. Straight Up itself turned out to be a great album, but no question the bad luck that would haunt the band began here. This was their follow-up album to the great No Dice, and they started to record it shortly after their successful US tour in January, 1971, with producer Geoff Emerick. But to their surprise, a second, mini US tour was planed to start in early March, so they had to rush all of the work involved in the making of their new disk. Somehow they managed to get the new album all completed with eleven new tracks. They then headed out on the road, but upon their return home that May, they found that Apple Records was not happy with the new album's outcome, and they would have to start over again.
The good news was that former Beatle George Harrison wanted to help produce the new album, as long as they would start from scratch, which they agreed to. They would keep five songs from the aborted album, but totally re-record them, plus they had several new songs written for the second go-round. Things in the studio were going well with Harrison in control, but after only four songs were completed, two new numbers - "Day After Day" and "I'd Die Babe", plus two leftovers - "Name Of The Game" and "Suitcase", Harrison had to leave suddenly to help put together the Concert For Bangladesh, and production for the album came to a halt - again. Badfinger understood and even played with Harrison at the concert, held at Madison Square Garden in NYC, and then returned to the UK in need of a new producer.
It wasn't till mid August that Todd Rundgren would come to their aid and take over the new album's production. He added new life to it, unlike Harrison, he would used some of the takes from the first recordings held in January and February, to get some of the songs finished. When all was finally finished, Badfinger had in place if not their best album, at least their second best, most would agree.
For me anyway, the most important thing for any album is its feel, and if you consider all the retakes on songs found here, gosh, this album has one of the best flows of any other album out there; really, it's about as even an album that's ever been made. Straight Up's two best songs were penned by Pete Ham: "Baby Blue" is my all time favorite Badfinger song, a tune just loaded with feelings, and a sweet guitar riff to go along with it. "Day After Day" is another great one, and was a huge hit in the US, with a nice slide guitar added in by Harrison. But all the songs on this album are very good, with no throwaways to be found.
When you buy the CD today, you will get six bonus tracks, with five of the six: "Money", "Flying", "Name Of The Game", "Suitcase" and "Perfection", all the original versions from the aborted album. We get to hear what they would have sounded like if they had been release as was planned. Overall I'll say the reproduction was worth the wait. "Money", "Flying" and "Perfection" are much slower on these first takes, and I like the released versions better. But "Name Of The Game", which was suppose to be the single for the aborted album, is better with its horns and orchestration, and so is "Suitcase", so very full of life! Both of these original versions should never have been redone. I'm glad we get to hear them now after so many years.The final bonus song is the US single release of "Baby Blue". I must confess, I can't hear the difference between the album release, from its single.
If you dig mellow music with a bit of a kick to it, this album is for you. Yeah they sound a bit like the Beatles here, but I never found anything wrong with that!
- - Keno 2004
To listen to some soundclips from STRAIGHT UP or to purchase it click on:Straight Up by Badfinger
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