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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Badfinger (Iveys): Maybe Tomorrow


1) See-Saw, Granpa; 2) Beautiful And Blue; 3) Dear Angie; 4) Think About The Good Times; 5) Yesterday Ain't Coming Back; 6) Fisherman; 7) Maybe Tomorrow; 8) Sali Bloo; 9) Angelique; 10) I'm In Love; 11) They're Knock­ing Down Our Home; 12) I've Been Waiting; 13*) No Escaping Your Love; 14*) Mrs. Jones; 15*) And Her Daddy's A Millionnaire; 16*) Looking For My Baby.

Curiously enough, Pete Ham's Badfinger actually spent more time playing as The Iveys — they were known under that name as early as 1964, when they were still mostly doing small gigs around Swansea, although back then, Ham was still the only member to remain as part of the clas­sic lineup (it is a bit ironic, though, that he'd actually been out on the scene almost as long as the band itself that was supposed to nurture and foster Badfinger). But throughout the mid-1960s, the band never found its proper way to a recording contract until the (mis)fortune of contacting Apple Records; and as «The Iveys», they only released one sole LP, which, furthermore, never even had any UK or US distribution, being limited to Germany, Italy, and Japan. (Yes, Badfin­ger's streak of bad luck was already there even before they got themselves their name).

There is not much to say about this album, really, since seven of its twelve songs would eventual­ly be incorporated into Magic Christian Music, undergoing only a cosmetic remixing job along the way. The very fact that it did get a limited CD release in the early 2000s, remastered, repack­aged, and with bonus tracks, is somewhat surprising and goes to show the serious amount of re­verence for these guys that some music lovers still hold (good for them). On the other hand, the release was not a total waste, since it adds one more informative stroke to the exciting story of Badfinger's musical evolution.

It is usually assumed that, in creating the running order for Magic Christian Music, the band took what they considered the best of these early Iveys tunes, and left out the dreck. This is not quite the case — the «rejects» were not awful, they just represented additional directions that they were unable to explore properly and convincingly. Or at least, they themselves must have thought that at the time.

Probably the most telling example is Ham's «epic» mindset on ʽI've Been Waitingʼ, an experi­ment in heavy progressive blues-rock à la early Deep Purple / Led Zeppelin, with lengthy distor­ted guitar solos, brutally aggressive drum bashing, and an acid smokescreen — the new-look Bad­finger wouldn't get thus «terrifying» again until Ass. But they do not have a chance to leave their own imprint on the basic melody here (borrowed firstand off ʽMilk Cow Bluesʼ), and the heavy-psycho instrumental jam section can hardly be too exciting if it competes in the same line of duty as, say, Led Zep's ʽDazed And Confusedʼ.

Other unlucky rejects include: ʽYesterday Ain't Coming Backʼ — a loud, anthemic ballad with a quintessential «UK Nuggets» spirit, maybe discarded because it reminded them too much of all those other Brit bands; ʽThink About The Good Timesʼ — an upbeat, but slightly «hushed» pop-rocker with a funky wah-wah guitar arrangement, maybe discarded because they eventually got afraid of the wah-wah (again, the only time they would later use that effect freely would be on the heavy arrangements for Ass); ʽSali Blooʼ — lumbering blues-pop that is neither heavy enough nor memorable; and the triumphant power-pop opener ʽSee-Saw, Granpaʼ, which they could, per­haps, see as way too simplistic and happy (but maybe not).

(The CD reissue adds a few early outtakes as well, even more heavily derivative of contemporary acts — The Kinks, The Move, The Small Faces etc. — all of them kinda cute and cuddly, but the final denominator still remains Manfred Mann: dedicated copycat practice without a face of one's own, only The Iveys happened to lack Manfred Mann's sole serious advantage — musical profes­sionalism. They did well to restrict these harmless, forgettable pastiches to B-sides).

All in all, you are not missing much if you already have Magic Christian Music, but you will not harm your ears, either, if you take a brief listen to these scattered remainders. It doesn't hurt to condescendingly pat somebody on the head for diligently doing their homework on Led Zep and Manfred Mann, and it is also fun to realize that, before getting into real close contact with The Beatles, The Iveys never even attempted to model their sound upon the Fab Four — apparently, there must have been some heavy «Beatles-conditioning» in the air of Apple Records.

Check "Maybe Tomorrow" (CD) on Amazon

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