Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bad Company-Live1977 & 1979; Swan Song Records, 2016

Admittedly, and in light of the recent law suit by whoever runs the Randy California estate vs. Led Zeppelin, Disaster Amnesiac felt a bit cynical upon hearing about this release. I just imagined the financial team at Swan Song (is there such an entity?) casting about for new revenue streams in order to pay back that filthy lucre gained from Plant's least favorite wedding song. It seems as though Zep may have prevailed, though, and, luckily for Hard Rock fans, we still get this great release of two stellar shows from the mighty Bad Company.
There is a photo in the CD booklet from Live 1977 & 1979, featuring recordings from Houston TX and Wembley, UK., that is instructive: it features the four members of Bad Company, live on stage in pretty close proximity. All of the elements of the composition show a really stripped down approach, and, indeed, that's really what the band is famous and/or notorious for. Oftentimes, their sound feels skeletal to the point of Minimalism, and oftentimes this is what people either love or are annoyed by.
Disaster Amnesiac is in the former camp, all the way. What I love about Bad Company's sound is the amount of room that they always left for the listener's perception to fill in. The band keeps that vibe going on both of these sets. What seems to be important documentation here is the way in which their tunes had gained in strength after they'd become a heavily touring band. Tracks such as Burnin' Sky, Shooting Star, Bad Company, and others have this additional weightiness to them herein. All of their signature tunes groove with more depth as Simon Kirke adeptly shows how much a restrained approach can move a band's sound. Mick Ralphs really shines as well. Disaster Amnesiac has gained new appreciation for his playing as I've listened to 1977 & 1979. The tones that colored his riffs were deep and quite tasty. Both Ralphs and bassist Boz Burrells' sounds feel so much bigger and meatier in the live context. Speaking of beefy, one must really hear Co.'s incredible version of Hey Joe. All that is great about Paul Rodgers shines brightly on this version, captured in Washington D.C. on a "special occasion". His emotive, masculine croon is bolstered by a way gone solo, as his pals pound the song home behind him. Rodgers is one seriously talented Rock Star, and much of the joy of hearing Live 1977 & 1979 comes from digging on that fact.
The 1979 portion features a few tunes that were relatively new at that time in Oh, Atlanta and Rhythm Machine, and these feel somewhat underdone. However, the also new-at-the-time Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy totally redeems them. What a kick ass song! Disaster Amnesiac is old enough to remember when it was a hit tune, and has always loved it. Again, showcased within the live setting, it features added weight and groove, and absolutely slays.
Times are tough all over, even for the Giants of Heavy Rock, presumably. I'm not sure that the blokes in Bad Company or Swan Song are all that desperate, though. Still, if you're a fan, your initial monetary investment in Live 1977 & 1979 may pay off big in aesthetic dividends.


Pig State Recon said...

Wow - I didn't know about this trial until I read your post. From what I've just read it still appears to be going to court soon - did you hear otherwise? It is curious that Randy C never filed a claim while living, but hey it ain't like Zepp didn't blatantly rip musicians off TIME AND TIME AGAIN in the late 60s & 70s.

Simon Kirke was a monster drummer!

Mark Pino said...

I don't think that Zep will lose that case.
Simon's solos on these discs are great. He really is a great drummer.
Check 'em out, Row!