Wednesday, September 1, 2010

No Dice

My year of the month for September is 1970, which was more of an "album year" than a "song year". This month, I'll be providing capsule reviews of some of my favorite albums from MCMLXX AD, alphabetically by artist until I run out of days or records.

First up is Badfinger's No Dice.

Badfinger were pigeonholed as Beatles copycats early on because they recorded for their label (Apple), had a direct link with three of them(they backed up George on All Things Must Pass, backed up Ringo on "It Don't Come Easy", and their breakthrough hit was written by Paul for Ringo's movie). Their songs also sounded a lot like early Beatles updated for the Abbey Road era.

No Dice was Badfinger's first proper album, since their first one Magic Christian Music was a hodgepodge of a few songs from that film and a few leftover songs under their previous incarnation as The Iveys. The album is probably best known nowadays for "No Matter What" and "Without You", which was later a huge hit for Harry Nilsson, but the entire first half of the album is pretty solid.

All four bandmembers contributed songs for the album, but Pete and Tom were better songwriters than Joey and Mike, whose songs drag down the second half. The album also seems a little underproduced and their skeletal version of "Without You" pales next to Nilsson's version, but I think No Dice holds up as well as Let It Be or McCartney. Here's a pseudo-live version of "Better Days".

Next month Apple will be reissuing the first four Badfinger albums(including No Dice) on CD, vinyl, and download. I already have the earlier CDs of first three, but this is the first time that A*s (as it will be listed on iTunes) will be available in the USA.

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