Badger
One Live Badger


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (110 Reviews)
March 4th, 2019 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This isn’t a classic prog rock album. But it remains a nice album and a great testimony of the 70’s.

“One Live Badger” is the eponymous debut and only live album of Badger and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Brian Parrish, Tony Kaye, Dave Foster and Roy Dyke.


Badger was a British progressive rock band formed in the early 70’s with a very short life. They were co-founded by keyboardist Tony Kaye after he left Yes. Tony Kaye did obviously have some problems with finding out what bands he wanted to play with in the early 70’s. After leaving Yes when they really started to get the grip, he formed Flash with former Yes’ member Peter Banks. Flash released three albums in the 70’s, but after just one album, their eponymous debut, Kaye left Flash, obviously unhappy with the result, and then he formed another progressive rock band, Badger. For some strange reason, probably a cheaper way to make an album, Badger chose to record their album with original tracks, live in concert instead of in the studio. The Yes’ connection via Tony Kaye is abundantly evident. The album was co-produced by Yes’ singer Jon Anderson and as was usual on Yes’ albums it has the obligatory Roger Dean art cover.

“One Live Badger” was recorded supporting Yes, another link with Yes, over two nights at the Rainbow, in December 1972. The quartet was exceedingly well rehearsed and played with a functional tightness which only the between songs the applause reveals as live. The drawback is that probably it lacks any of the sparkle some studio magic might have sprinkled. But the most important is that the songs are solid and so-so rather than inspired, and Badger comes across as a competent outfit, but much closer in spirit to blues rock than to the mountains that Yes was moving at that time.

The material is strong and the band’s sound as if they have been playing and writing together for years. As expected, Kaye’s signature Hammond organ sound is to the fore on most of the tracks, although the use of other keyboards to add different textures, like the mellotron, the electric piano and the Moog synthesiser, are evident on some tracks too. Guitarist Brian Parrish plays some great solos, although nothing too flash or overburdened with technical virtuosity. The solid and efficient rhythm section are quite prominent in the mix, as one would expect from a live recording, and the sound of Foster’s bass is particularly clear and superb and probably that could only be possible on a live recording.

“One Live Badger” can be classified as progressive rock, but not overwhelmingly so. Yes, most of the songs are of an extended length and contain longer instrumental passages, plus Kaye’s Hammond is prominently featured throughout. The themes on the album are around two focal points that are quite typical for the time, social issues and spirituality. That said, there is more of a straightforward early 70’s rock vibe to be found in Badger. This isn’t to imply that it’s a bad album by any means. Quite the opposite, “One Live Badger” is a very entertaining album. It showcases a band that had a lot of promise, which regrettably went unfulfilled. Badger’s first and only studio album was released in 1974 with the disappointing “White Lady”. But, by that time, the band’s line up had changed as had their overall musical direction too.

“One Live Badger” opens with “Wheel Of Fortune”, a very energetic track with catchy melody lines and extended solos. It’s quite representative for the rest of the album. “Fountain” impresses with its entertaining instrumental guitar and keyboard solos. It includes some very tasty playing of Moog and synth solos of Kaye. “Winds Of Change” is probably the most interesting track for a Yes’ fan, and definitely the most progressive rock track on the album. It shines through his past on Yes. “River” is a more basic and rocking track. It also has its progressive instrumental moments and is an infectious rocker. “The Preacher” borders on blues rock territory. It features some muscular guitar riffs from Parrish and floating atmospheric organ and mellotron from Kaye. I think “River” and “The Preacher” are the least interesting tracks on the album. “On The Way Home” is one of the best tracks. The first part varies between a heavy riff and a wonderful melodic ballad before the track builds up to a very energetic finale with some Kaye’s excellent organ playing.


Conclusion: I wouldn’t rank “One Live Badger” up there with the best of Yes in terms of overall quality, but their debut is nonetheless very good. It’s a solid album, beautiful earthy and rocky with pretty jams of organ and guitar. The music is bluesy, partly soulful rock, which is spiced up by elongated guitar and keyboard solos. Prog rok is only available in homeopathic doses, and is then usually contributed by Kaye with his keyboards. What lacked to them was the visionary look ahead. But, they offer solid rock from the safe side. It isn’t a classic album by any means, and it loses a few points for the less than perfect sound quality, but it still is a worthwhile addition to any progressive or hard rock collection. Containing great keyboard work from Tony Kaye, ripping guitar work from Brian Parrish, and above average vocals, this is an enjoyable slice of the 70’s memorabilia. Plus, having one of the Roger Dean’s best covers don’t hurt either, really.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (14)
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3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 4th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, after the guitarists, it's now time of the keyboardists. And in the beginning of Yes we have Tony Kaye. When I published my review of "Flash", I've already mentioned Kaye as one of of the keys of the sound of that album. Still, this is really the album where we can see how more evident is his influence in the final sound of it. And as happened with "Flash", "One Live Badger" is another album that I only checked due to the prog Friday's tournaments. So, long life to them.

e210013
March 4th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry, I needed to edit the review. The review was incomplete. It lacked to it the final conclusion, as always happen with all my reviews. So, my apologies.

bgillesp
March 4th 2019


6706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review.

e210013
March 4th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, bgillesp. Finally, I think this album has the review that it deserves. It was unnoticed for so many years, unfortunately.

Divaman
March 4th 2019


3364 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've recently been thinking that I've been undervaluing Tony Kaye's contributions to Yes. Nice job e.

Digging: Zen Paradox - Illogical Organism

e210013
March 4th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I've recently been thinking that I've been undervaluing Tony Kaye's contributions to Yes."

The same happens to me, pal. Only in the last two years, soon as I decided to do my prog journey through Yes world, I devoted a true attention to his work, surely the true attention that he really deserves. Despite I consider Wakeman the greatest keyboard player of Yes, the contribution of Kaye is really unavoidable in the final sound of Yes.

Thanks, Diva.

Jethro42
March 4th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm not really a connoisseur of Tony Kaye's works except for his Yes contributions that are great, but I honestly think he's not flamboyant into his works out of yes. i mean he doesn't really have his own signature, his own identity, i remember liking ''Wind Of Change'' on here. Will give the album another spin.

I have to go for few hours. See you guys!

Nice review, bro.

e210013
March 4th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not an expert too. But from what I know his keyboard work is good and honest and left his signature in Yes' sound.

See you too dude, and thanks.

Jethro42
March 4th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

''...he left his signature in Yes' sound.''

I agree, my man.



My 3 favorite songs are;

-''Wheel Of Fortune'' has some Traffic meets Steely Dan vibes. I even found similarity with this singer's vocals and Steve Winwood's. It's my second favorite.

-''Wind Of Change'', a kinda funky Steely Dan-ish song. Very catchy, well crafted prog number. The best on here, agreed.

-''On The Way Home'' would not be out of place into a good Barclay James Harvest album.it's my third one.



For the rest,

''Fountain'' is mostly a jam rock affair, and could be a Phish meets Allman Brothers' track. I'm hard to please when it comes to jam rock.

''River'' is like a poor man's The Who song. It's simply done. Perhaps too much. I also hear some Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young through it. Not half bad. My fourth favorite actually.

''The Preacher'' makes me think of kinda poor-old-under-the-radar The Strawbs' song.

Overall, album is an easy listening rock act with bluesy vibes. Musicians play safe and save exceptions, perhaps not enough punchy for my taste. However, album would be more like a 3.8/5 from me. Tony Kaye shines when he installs himself and takes the floor. He is no Rick Wakeman, but it's a great keyboardist nonetheless.

bgillesp
March 4th 2019


6706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On The Way Home is an awesome song

Jethro42
March 5th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes sir. And I would interchange ''River'' with ''Wheel Of Fortune'' for my second favorite. So ''Wheel Of Fortune'' is bumped down to my fourth favorite.

e210013
March 5th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree, Jethro. Those are the three most interesting tracks. However, none of the other tracks are really bad. In general this is a solid album in terms of overall quality.

Surely Kaye isn't Wakeman, both in terms of composition and performer. But he is also without doubt a great keyboard player. Certainly it wasn't a coincidence his return to Yes.

e210013
March 5th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"On The Way Home is an awesome song"

Absolutely. This is really a great song, bgillesp.

e210013
March 5th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really don't know Jethro. Perhaps I continue preferring ''Wheel Of Fortune'' to "The River".

Jethro42
March 5th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I'm not sure anymore. I have to listen to them all again ;)

One thing is sure, I tend to prefer compact songs over the ones that has to many jam rock leads.

I also think the band often sounds like Steely Dan and it's not a bad thing...

Jethro42
March 5th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

''Wheel Of Fortune'' = 3.5/5

''Fountain'' = 3/5

''Wind Of Change'' = 4.5/5

''River'' = 4/5

''The Preacher'' = 3/5

''On The Way Home'' = 4/5

So it seems I have to bump the album up to a 4.



Edit; I changed my ratings to a lower score.

e210013
March 6th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jethro, I think probably my favourite tracks are by this order:



1st - “Winds Of Change”

2nd -“On The Way Home”

3th - “Wheel Of Fortune”

4th - “Fountain”

5th - “River”

6th - “The Preacher”

Jethro42
March 7th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fair enough, e21 mate.

Something I don't like about the album is these extended guitar solo playings that bring nothing to the table. They are made with no color, no creativity. There are plenty in the first two songs, and it's not good for the new comer to the album.

Even though I like the majority of the songs, I have to bump the album down to a 3.5 again. I feel i don't have as much pleasure as I had to listen to it.

e210013
March 7th 2019


2205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I can see what you're saying. I also like the majority of the songs, but it don't feel too much enthusiasm with the album in general too. I really think and definitely that 3.5 is the right rating to it.

Cheers my friend. Monday, I'm pretty sure that you'll be more pleased with my next choice to review. You'll see.

Jethro42
March 8th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Given that you're into the keyboardist collaborations, my guess is Strawbs - From The Witchwood...But don't tell anybody ;)



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