George Starostin's Reviews



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Mark Casale (07.07.2002)

Well, as it happens i avoided buying a bad company album until just under the age of 40...and it wasn't even an album, it was that 'original' bad company 2 ceedee anthology thangy. they finally caught me (not even the original lineup) because of an endlessly playing infomercial --i mean concert-- i saw on my dad's satellite dish back on fathers' day weekend. hmmm, this guy is what, pushing 50, and can still sound like paul rodgers, even though he is. but it caught me, and i thought there MUST be some BC in my local used cd emporium. i couldn't bring myself to buy one of the albums, so i went for the best-of approach, and have been really enjoying it for about a week.
here's my conclusion. BC were essentially a really good singles band. the only song i miss on this comp is 'crazy circles'...maybe i'll break down and buy that album, or download it from somewhere, but i think i got my fix. otherwise, the stuff i like fits the kim gordon test --she said the main reason that people go to see sonic youth is to watch people who believe in themselves, and so it is with BC...simple (istic) as their stuff is, they believed...and so i'll go along with them. and they had the right attitude toward their schtick...simon kirke said --we're essentially a bar band, it's just that we play in really enormous bars.
what's not to love about that kinda attitude? and they really had a sound, even beyond the idea that they wouldn't have been shit without "the voice."

Bill Slocum (30.06.2004)

The U.K.'s answer to Grand Funk Railroad, utterly adequate boogie-blues bar band with a gut-busting lead singer backed by some guys who could shred and grind a bit. Or maybe that was Foghat.
I do like the usual suspects here, just not very much. Let's say there are no surprises, and the ballads really are from hunger. If you only put eight songs on your debut, you could at least bother to make sure they are all originals, not Beatle knockoffs or Beatle knockoff-knockoffs. I don't get it, didn't they figure people would notice if they ripped off the Fabs? Love or Manfred Mann, maybe that they would have gotten away with.

Rick Thompson (09.07.2004)

Enjoyed reading your take on the several Bad Company efforts. I agree with your overall take on Burnin' Sky, Run With the Pack, and Rough Diamonds.
I do think, though, that you (and the others who have commented) have missed several important points about Bad Company. First, the musicianship was excellent. Their music was actually more complex than it appears at first glance because the band was so tight. A very close listen to a song like "Movin' On", for example, would reveal a funky bassline that is in constant motion; it's not only interesting, it's cool. Boz Burrell is possibly one of the most under-rated bassists ever (given the high profile of the band he played in). Although the band's formula called for fat chords and basically simple rhythms to make way for Paul Rodgers vocals, Boz managed to take songs where many bassists (like Andy Fraser of Free, for example) would have used simple and repetitive riffs, and added bass grooves in the manner of James Jamerson or Paul McCartney. High, but overdue, praise for a musician who has inspired many bass players. Many of his bass lines are simply masterpieces.
Second, Paul Rodgers has an over-the-top, phenomenal voice. To compare Rodgers to Mick Jagger is ludicrous. Jagger is an excellent frontman, but his range is nothing compared to Paul Rodgers. Ask 1000 musicians who has better range, and 1001 of them will say, "Duh. Paul Rodgers." No one in rock music has ever had the combination of power, range and soul of Paul Rodgers. Period. His range is simply unbelievable; no one has ever been able to sing like him.
Third, Mick Ralphs is very much under-appreciated as a guitarist. Although I wouldn't necessarily list him as great, I would categorize him as "near great". He is an excellent musician technically, and is a fair songwriter. Paul Kossoff of Free was more spectacular, but Mick always seemed to make the perfect sounds and play the perfect riffs for his songs. Simon Kirke is an excellent drummer. As I said, the were an extremely tight band, and it takes an exceptional drummer to achieve that.
Fourth, I think Desolation Angels is an under-rated effort by Bad Company. I agree with you that it is better than Pack and Sky, but I think that if it had come out in '76 instead of '79, it would have had four top-40 singles in "Gone, Gone, Gone", "R&R Fantasy", "Crazy Circles", and "Evil Wind". I also know a number of musicians who absolutely love "Oh Atlanta", although I don't think it has broad appeal to the masses, much like the Little Feat that it pays homage to.
Last, the fellow who says that BadCo was a vanity label project of Led Zeppelin ala Badfinger doesn't know anything about the band. Bad Company was certainly managed by Peter Grant, and was on their Swan Song label, but that's where the comparison ends. Bad Company was a monster arena rocker in its heyday, and Led Zeppelin had nothing to do with their formation or artistry. Also, very few groups matched them for popularity (although LedZep certainly exceeded them), and although their music had fine hooks, their artistry extended well beyond them. Bad Company was an extremely important group in rock history because it rejected the excesses of glitter-rock and overblown prog-rock, stripped the music down to its elemental groove, added some funk and soul, and just kicked butt.


Glenn Wiener (10.02.2002)

Solid initial recording for these guys. Yes the lyrics are not thought provoking by any means but the music and well timed guitar riffs are what makes this band sound good to my ears. Like the raw fuzz tone on 'Rock Steady' and generally moody feel on 'Ready For Love'. Bad Company has an eerie tone as well probably because it was recorded out in the fields on Hampshire. Like the rockin' riffin 'Can't Get Enough' and 'Movin' On' and find 'Seagull' to be just pretty. The other two tracks are a bit lame. But a thumbs up rating is definitely a proppo. And by the way, Paul Rodgers has a great singing voice, certainly one of rocks best.

David Dickson (20.08.2004)

I know I've said this a million times, but apparently, since my friends aren't listening, I must repeat it to everyone in the entire world, (including music fans): PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME THE ONLINE RESULTS OF THE OLYMPICS BEFORE THEY APPEAR ON TV. I DO NOT CARE IF YOU HAVE THE NEW SPRINT INTERNET PHONE, OR EVEN INTERNET ACCESS. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!!! I DON'T! WANT!! TO KNOW!!!
You tell me, you die. Slowly.
From listening to the Pixies, heh heh heh. Anyhoo, this album would be a five star rating were it not for the boring "Seagull" nonsense that closes it out. That's not a conclusion--it's Paul Rodgers playing the acoustic guitar very badly and proving he's all "confessional". These guys aren't confessional, dammit, they're dumb macho guys with absolutely zero cerebral bones in their body. They're here to ROCK!!! And rock and rock and rock and rock and rock and rock. Rock rock rock. I like to rock. Rock and a hard place. Long live rock steady.
Shoulda been a power ballad. But otherwise, surprisingly good stuff from an otherwise zero-talent blooooooze rock combo. And for Christ's sake, avoid the rest of their albums.
Dammit, George, you don't have this problem. You live in Moscow--you're watching them LIVE, you lucky dog.


Glenn Wiener (10.02.2002)

Different album but the same formula for these guys. Wham Bam Thank You Maam indded especially on the lead off track. 'Shooting Star' is the classic on this one though. The softer tunes are a little weak on this release, but overall its a decent effort. And album cover is cool.

Nicholas Rogerson (05.01.2003)

I greatly enjoy Free's music and resolved to one day delve into the back catalogue of Bad Company, since Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, of the former band, went onto join the latter. I've now listened to this album a few times and have found it to be strong in parts. 'Deal With The Preacher', is a fine, catchy rocker. 'Feel Like Makin' Love' and 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad' are also enjoyable standouts. However from this album alone (perhaps I need to listen to other Bad Company albums before passing judgement) I would say that Free's music was a lot more sincere and the band could be more diverse with more success (although they too could miss the mark spectacularly). Free did not stick completely to blues-rock. They tried country rock with some success ('Highway Song') and some failure ('Bodie'). They also branched out into elements of soul, notable on the album, 'Free'.
I just don't see any diversity in this album. It also has too much of a cock-rocking attitude to it which makes me cringe in parts. The ballads are poor, especially 'Anna', although 'Weep No More' isn' great either, and there is nothing to compare with say, 'Mourning Sad Morning' or 'Come Together In The Morning' on this front. Paul Rodgers is also not at his best. He performs well, but there is nothing of the emotional resonance seen in his singing on the album 'Heartbreaker' here. I think this is what separates the two bands, on this album's showing. Free could be cock-rockers too. Indeed this is often very enjoyable. However they could really deliver an emotional message in a song, ie. 'Wishing Well' and 'Heartbreaker', despite cliched lyrics. Straight Shooter doesn't seem to have much emotional resonance and the cock-rocking elements of the album (ie. all of it) wears thin after a few listens. There was no Andy Fraser in Bad Company. Infact Free had more competent instrumentalists than Bad Company. Straight Shooter is enjoyable on one level, and I, like you, can see why it is a popular album. ***1/2 is a fair rating


Jeff Melchior (07.02.2002)

There are actually people who consider Thin Lizzy and Budgie "generic '70s hard rock"? Cads!
Not a lot of opinion on this album, aside from the fact that I, too, hate their cover of "Young Blood". I don't really have a lot of opinion on Bad Company period, although I really like Straight Shooter.

Glenn Wiener (10.02.2002)

This one I like. Maybe even more than the debut. At least the guys explore a few varying styles. The disco beat on 'Live For The Music', the vocal harmonies on 'Young Blood', and the use of keys and strings throughout. 'Sweet Little Sister' and 'Honey Child' have some catchy grooves. And Paul Rodgers shows us his range on here.


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Glenn Wiener (16.02.2002)

Not exactly prime time material from these guys, but there are "some" good moments. Most of them are on the first half of this record. 'Crazy Circles' and 'Early In The Morning' have some beautiful acoustic guitar effects. 'Evil Wind', 'Gone Gone Gone', and 'Rock N Roll Fantasy' are good if not overly spectacular electric guitar driven numbers that feature some neat bass effects. The other tracks where not offensive, just sound like second rate peromances. 'Rhythm Machine' has a fairly catchy groove but the band strays too far away from that slam bam thank you maam formula that worked for them in the past.

Bill Slocum (30.06.2004)

Well, I like this album much more than George (or Glenn) did. Bad Company shows some versatility on this one, and while "Rhythm Machine" is somewhat fey disco-rock (still good, but not "Miss You" or "D'Ya Think I'm Sexy") they do throw up some interesting nods in other directions that impress me much.
Bad Company reminds me of Badfinger; maybe it's just the name and the fact they were kind of a vanity label project of a bigger act (Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, respectively) that went on to ape their bigger brothers' earlier less complicated period. This, Bad Company's last great album and my favorite, came out just weeks before the last great Led Zep album, In Through The Out Door, and both show a growing appreciation for keyboards and quieter sonic textures that make them unusual for their respective bands and enjoyable through and through.
Pop smarts were in evidence on "Desolation Angels" too; though the only song from here that made the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. was "Gone, Gone, Gone" which peaked, peaked, peaked at #56. "Rock N' Roll Fantasy" took a while to catch on with classic-rock radio listeners, but it's a sweet one, and so are "Crazy Circles, "Early In The Morning," and "She Brings Me Love." It's all good here, though, nothing boring or repetitive, and Paul Rodgers sings with more subtlety than he did on the debut. "Lonely For Your Love" is a clever "Can't Get Enough" rewrite, and "Oh, Atlanta" is a fine tribute song to Atlanta Rhythm Section. (Just kidding there, "Rhythm Machine" is the obvious ARS tribute.)
PS. I just checked my old "Top 40 Hits" book and saw "Rock N' Roll Fantasy" was a hit back in the day, peaking at #13 to boot, not bad for a roots-rock band in the disco-new wave era. So I was wrong to write "Gone, Gone, Gone" was the only hit from Desolation Angels.


Sergey Zhilkin (04.04.2002)

I myself use Microsoft Internet Explorer and never tried Netscape Navigator becuase I have a supperstition that I will face too many problems (afterall, it can't view some sites!) and the idea of holding two browsers one PC isn't warming my heart, either. What's my point? Well, it's humble poor me who thinks that Microsoft and Netscape should unite so we will get a universal browser and it's just Bill Gate's foolish pride doing its work when he says he doesn't want such union. My father always told me that Bill cared only about wallet and I have to agree here. Have this &*%*(%^(* Gates ever thought that in future, when every person will use Internet, people will be divided on those who use MIE and those who stick to NN? George, would you like your son to kill my son only because we use different browsers? Here's the problem and we've got to solve it.

David Dickson (09.10.2005)

You didn't warn me. :)
Say! You really got me thinkin' with this splendid review of New Mexican food. Funny thing is, that's what we YANKS were all sayin' after two months in Siberia--except the other way around! All that smyetana and mayonez and tvorog--urp! Woe to the lactose intolerant, I say. My new aunt from Thailand had an even more extreme reaction to bland American food when she came over. You'd never believe this, but Thai spices make New Mexican chili taste like cottage cheese on bland juices. So when she came over here, she just couldn't take it. It's like--well, you know your reaction to food here, only ten times worse! Heartburn to fuel a camp stove, I'd wager. It got to the point where she had to carry a tin of Cayenne pepper with her everywhere she went. She was puttin' it on her MASHED POTATOES at Thanksgiving, fer Chrissake. The problem is, we don't have a similar spice to make stuff blander--except maybe sour cream. That's what I'd do. Bring a tub of sour cream witcha everywhere you go. Really takes the edge off the heat. Me? I probably shoulda brought some Tabasco sauce across customs-- nice counterweight to all the dill and dairy products across the Iron Curtain. We've got to figure this out before indigestion becomes a global issue. I intend to take it up at the next SIT forum. Can I get three huzzahs? Huzzah huzzah huzzah huzzah. No, that's four.
Baaaaaaaad Company, I won't deny. Gah. SO bad.


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