Badger - One Live Badger album review

Early-70s Yes offshoot’s too-hasty debut.

Badger One Live Badger album cover

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Jettisoned by Yes in favour of Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye formed Badger with bassist Dave Foster, who’d co-written Time And A Word; drummer Roy Dyke from Ashton Gardner & Dyke; and guitarist Brian Parrish from Parrish & Gurvitz. They recorded their first album live at the Rainbow Theatre – supporting Yes.

The contrast with Yes is evident from the opening Wheel Of Fortune, which is conspicuously more earthbound and rockier. Foster’s hoarse vocals emphasise the difference.

Five of the six tracks weigh in at just over seven minutes and there’s a similarity in style that starts becoming monotonous around the halfway mark. This would probably have been rectified if they’d bided their time and gone into the studio – after all, this was only their second gig. Instead, it sounds like a bunch of well-rehearsed jams.

The potential remains obvious – Kaye and Parrish deliver some fine solos and Dyke provides a solid foundation – but unfortunately remained frustratingly out of reach. Half of the band were gone by the second album.

Recommended for those who like wallowing in what might have been, and for those who treasure pre-Yes Roger Dean album covers, although sadly the pop-up badger on the original gatefold sleeve is only two-dimensional.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.