Treading timeless tracks with fresh set of feet, masters of their trade try to shine a new light and shade on beloved tunes.
BADFINGER’s music has long been an inextricable part of popular culture, and not because of the tragic fate of two of their founding members or the British ensemble’s association with THE BEATLES; it’s their songs that entered collective consciousness – from Harry Nilsson’s astonishing reading of “Without You” that Mariah Carey reproduced, to “Baby Blue” that the “Breaking Bad” creators used in the series’ final scene. More often than not, though, the public has no idea as to whose songs those are, and it’s worth telling the listeners who were the perennials’ writers – but their fellow musicians do remember, and there’s the proof, and the reminder too. Perhaps, cutting fresh versions of familiar pieces too close to the template doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when the band’s current line-up remain faceless, yet as long as Joey Molland, the last original player, is on board, the legacy lives on.
As this project masterminds, Molland and Jürgen Engler did a stellar job of trying to color classic tracks anew – only Matthew Sweet’s stinging guitar figures can’t bring a great deal to the former of the aforementioned numbers and, despite his valiant effort, Todd Rundgren barely manages to appropriate the latter. And does a song as simple as the Paul McCartney-penned “Come And Get It” really need baroque curlicues like those Rick Wakeman provides for it here? Still, Mark Stein’s supple voice and roaring organ fill “No Matter What” with enhanced soulfulness, so there would be no surprise if VANILLA FUDGE incorporate the infectious tune into their repertoire, while Terry Reid’s vibrant voice and Ian Anderson‘s flute, alongside the sweeping passages from MANCHESTER STRING QUARTET, elevate “Day After Day” to seventh heaven.
If this is rather predictable, as is the fact that Albert Lee‘s six-string vignettes would render “Sweet Tuesday Morning” ever vulnerable, the blues that Sonny Landreth rolls on his slider quite unexpectedly turns out to be a perfect fit for “Suitcase” which has become simultaneously muscular and seductive, whereas THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS’ vocal harmonies and orchestral sway give “Midnight Caller” a previously absent, albeit very suitable, psychedelic uplift. As a result, the potentially flawed, and eventually uneven, tribute to stalwarts of power pop ends up being a quiet triumph.