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Badger - One Live Badger album review

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

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.