Bad Company – Desolation Angels (1979)

LPFrontCover1Desolation Angels is the fifth studio album by the English rock band Bad Company. The album was released on March 17, 1979. Paul Rodgers revealed on In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an episode to Desolation Angels) that the album’s title came from the novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. The title was almost used 10 years previous to name the second album from Rodgers’ previous band, Free, which in the end was called simply Free.

Desolation Angels was recorded at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey, England in late 1978. It is considered the last strong album by Bad Company with the original lineup, mostly because it contains their last major hit, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy”, written by Paul Rodgers and inspired by a guitar synthesizer riff that Rodgers had come up with.

“Gone, Gone, Gone”, written by bassist Boz Burrell, also received substantial airplay on rock stations. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard album charts in 1979 and went Platinum in 1979 and Double Platinum subsequently.

A cover version of “Oh, Atlanta”, written by Mick Ralphs, was recorded by Alison Krauss and appears on her 1995 album Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection. The original version was used in the open to The Nashville Network’s 1993 broadcast of the Motorcraft 500 when ABC (which originally had the broadcast) could not find time to air the race, postponed six days by a snowstorm in the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (by wikipedia)

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By the time Bad Company released Desolation Angels, it was evident that even Rodgers and Ralphs were getting tired of their ’70s-styled, conveyor-belt brand of rock & roll, so they decided to add keyboards and some minor string work to the bulk of the tracks. Although this change of musical scenery was a slight breath of fresh air, it wasn’t enough to give Desolation Angels the much added depth or distinction that was intended, and only the vocal passion of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” really comes out on top, eventually becoming a gold single. The good news is that Desolation Angels is a noticeable improvement from 1977’s Burnin’ Sky, with Bad Company’s sound taking on a smoother, more polished feel than its predecessor.

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“Gone, Gone, Gone,” “Lonely for Your Love,” and “She Brings Me Love” work best in Rodgers’ favor, and fans did prove their loyalty, pushing the album to the number ten mark in the U.K. and to number three in the U.S. The campaign toward a new sound does cause a few of the cuts (“Crazy Circles,” “Evil Wind”) to appear a bit forced and overly glitzy (especially the use of electronic drums), and the album spawns a smattering of a few attractive moments rather than evolving as a complete, constructive listen. Things didn’t get much better for Bad Company, and it was after the release of 1982’s Rough Diamonds, a much weaker and unattached effort, that Rodgers decided to call it quits. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Boz Burrell (bass)
Simon Kirke (drums)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, keyboards)
Paul Rodgers (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer)
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Tracklist:
01. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy (Rodgers) 3.19
02. Crazy Circles (Rodgers) 3.32
03. Gone, Gone, Gone (Burrell) 3.50
04. Evil Wind (Rodgers) 4.22
05. Early In The Morning (Rodgers) 5.45
06. Lonely For Your Love (Ralphs) 3.26
07. Oh, Atlanta (Ralphs) 4.08
08. Take The Time (Ralphs) 4.14
09. Rhythm Machine (Kirke/Burrell) 3.44
10. She Brings Me Love (Rodgers) 4.42

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Bad Company – Same (1974)

LPFrontCover1Bad Company are an English hard rock supergroup formed in Westminster, London, in 1973 by singer Paul Rodgers and guitarist Mick Ralphs, later adding drummer Simon Kirke and bassist Boz Burrell. Peter Grant, who managed the rock band Led Zeppelin, also managed Bad Company until 1982.

Bad Company enjoyed great success throughout the 1970s. Their first three albums, Bad Company (1974), Straight Shooter (1975), and Run with the Pack (1976), reached the top five in the album charts in both the UK and US. Many of their singles/songs, such as “Bad Company”, “Can’t Get Enough”, “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad”, “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, “Ready for Love”, “Shooting Star”, and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy”, remain staples of classic rock radio. They have sold 15.5 million RIAA-certified albums in the United States.

Bad Company is the debut studio album by the English hard rock supergroup Bad Company. The album was recorded at Headley Grange with Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio in November 1973, and it was the first album released on Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records label.

Singles

The album reached the top of the US Billboard 200. Since then, the album has been certified five times platinum by the RIAA, and became the 46th best selling album of the 1970s. The album spent 25 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, entering at No. 10 and reaching its highest position of No. 3 in the second week. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 40 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2000 it was voted number 323 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums.

The singles “Can’t Get Enough” and “Movin’ On” peaked at No. 5 and No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. “Rock Steady”, “Bad Company” and “Ready for Love” (the last originally recorded by guitarist Mick Ralphs during his tenure with Mott the Hoople on their 1972 album All the Young Dudes) are also classic rock radio staples. (by wikipedia)

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From the wreckage of Free came Bad Company, a group fronted by singer Paul Rodgers and featuring his drummer bandmate Simon Kirke, Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs, and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. The latter is something of a ringer, suggesting an undercurrent of adventure in the band, but as the group’s eponymous 1974 debut decidedly proves, the band is proudly not progressive. If anything, Bad Company excise the excesses of Free — there are no winding jams and very little added color by way of pianos or even air in the production; those two tricks are evident on their title track/rallying call “Bad Company,” and the details make a difference, as do the pastoral acoustics of the closing “Seagull” — reducing their rock & roll to a strong, heavy crunch.

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Compare “Ready for Love,” a tune Ralphs brought over from Mott the Hoople, to the original to see how these quartet members keep their heads down as they do their business. Appropriately enough given their name, there’s a sense of slow, churning menace to Bad Company. Even the quickest songs — the blues boogies of “Can’t Get Enough” and “Movin’ On” — don’t exactly proceed at a rapid clip, a steadiness that makes the quartet seem heavier. It’s hard rock painted in stark black & white: cranked guitars mirrored by a deliberate wallop from the rhythm section, a rock & roll so loud and basic it wound up not aging much at all even though it pretty much defined mid-’70s album rock. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Boz Burrell (bass)
Simon Kirke (drums)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, keyboards on 03. + 06.)
Paul Rodgers (vocals, guiar on 01. + 08., piano on 04. + 05.)
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Mel Collins (saxophone on 06.)
Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie (background vocals on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Can’t Get Enough (Ralphs) 4.17
02. Rock Steady (Rodgers) 3.47
03. Ready For Love (Ralphs) 5.02
04. Don’t Let Me Down (Rodgers/Ralphs) 4.21
05. Bad Company (Rodgers/Kirke) 4.51
06. The Way I Choose (Rodgers) 5.06
07. Movin’ On (Ralphs) 3.24
08. Seagull (Rodgers/Ralphs) 4.03

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Bad Company – Live At The BBC Radio (2010)

FrontCover1A very special night when one of the great rock bands of the 1970s reunite together on stage in the UK for the first time in over 30 years. Tonight, the man they called The Voice, his voice is heard on over 90 million records, teams up with his old mates, drummer Simon Kirke and guitarist Mick Ralphs to relive and add something new to the glory days of Bad Company… Please welcome, Paul Rodgers.”

Lesser singers might have a problem living up to the opening intro by BBC’s Johnnie Walker but for Paul Rodgers, it’s probably another stroll in the park. Still Rodgers did not disappoint and, if anything, probably made sure his delivery was flawless. Lifting tracks from Free, The Firm and Bad Company, the special gig for Radio 2 also acted as a curtain raiser for the group’s tour in the UK in April this year and this showcase would have easily helped change the minds of anyone who was debating whether to go or not to go.

Roger Allen blogged at fanzeyeview.com:
(The band) proceeded to start with a storming Wishing Well, a super rendition of Ride On Pony was played followed by the classic Free song All Right Now… Mick Ralphs came on the stage for the Bad Co part of the show… Howard (Leese) and Mick swapping guitar solos/rhythm to the songs, Lynn (Sorenson) furiously thumping away on the bass and Simon (Kirke) being absolutely sublime in his drumming, the guy gets better with age. Paul was his usual professional self, having great fun, even walking about in the audience singing and shaking hands (mine included), proving again why he is the best in the business. All through the set, the band were taking cues from each other with nods of the head and hand gestures, was exciting to see a band of musicians working so well that way. Lots of smiling faces from the lucky few (300) who were picked from over 15,000 applicants.

Recorded live at the BBC Radio Theatre, London; March 26, 2010. BBC 2 In Concert – broadcast on October 21, 2010. Very good FM broadcast.

BadCompanyLivePersonnel:
Simon Kirke (drums)
Howard Leese (guitar)
Mick Ralphs (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)
Lynn Sorenson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction 0.44
02. Wishing Well (Rodgers/Kirke/Yamauchi/Kossoff/Bundrick) 3.48
03. Saving Grace (Rodgers/Schon/Whitehorn) 5.18
04. Satisfaction Guaranteed (Page/Rodgers) 6.23
05. Ride On Pony (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.26
06. All Right Now (Fraser/Rodgers) 5.26
07. Feel Like Making Love (Roadgers/Ralphs) 5.07
08. Run With The Pack (Rodgers) 4.36
09. Shooting Star (Rodgers) 6.31
10. Electric Land (Rodgers) 5.12
11. Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love (Ralphs) 4.39
12. Rock N Roll Fantasy (Rodgers) 4.39
13. Movin’ On (Ralphs) 3.43
14. Bad Company (Rodgers/Kirke) 6.31

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