Bad Company – Bad Company; Straight Shooter (1974-75; 2015 reissues)

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Bad Company has become the latest of the classic rock-era superstars to enter the classic rock-reissue sweepstakes.

Joining other recent re-additions to the canon of million-selling platters by the likes of the Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street and Some Girls) and Led Zeppelin (everything up to Physical Graffiti, and by the end of July, the rest of their entire studio catalog) are Bad Company’s first two albums: Bad Company (1974) and Straight Shooter (1975).

At first glance, the wary consumer might be tempted to slot these two beside those aforementioned reissues by Zep and the Stones, which mostly contain so-called “bonus tracks” that feel like cutting room-floor leftovers of mostly inferior instrumental backings or working mixes of the final album cuts. However, Bad Company and their reissue producers have managed to find much more interesting tracks to accompany the current album remasters.

For example: Bad Company’s self-titled debut album opened with their successful single “Can’t Get Enough,” and the bonus disc here has two interesting alternates — an early, leaner version that could have easily been the master take, and a version with a Hammond organ thrown into the mix that was left out of the final. Even the non-album B-sides have alternate versions — the B-sides of the B-sides, as it were.

As for Straight Shooter, there are enough interesting alternate tracks to reimagine an entire, somewhat different album that feels less heavy and closer in tone to its predecessor. Alternate vocals and guitar solos, and a surprise harmonica solo during “Feel Like Makin’ Love” keep things interesting.

There are even two never-before-issued songs, “See the Sunlight” and “All Night Long,” both of which sound good enough to have been considered for inclusion in the final running order. As well, there appears yet another of Bad Company’s reworkings of “Easy On My Soul,” this one closer to the original that Paul Rodgers carried over from Heartbreaker, the final album by his previous band Free.

Sonically, the reissues sound great. All of the instruments are quite clear, and it becomes easy to see how each band member contributed to the overall sound. Frankly, they were probably a better band than they were ever given credit for in their time. As for lead vocalist Paul Rodgers: He really should be mentioned right up there with Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Rod Stewart and company whenever someone wants to discuss just who exactly is the best rock ‘n’ roll singer of all time. As heard in these remasters: Yes, he’s THAT good.

Based on these first two reissues, Bad Company should get the chance to give the rest of their classic 1970s recordings the deluxe edition treatment, and maybe even expect to be repositioned in that imaginary Olympus of rock gods (not that they care). If nothing else, the albums should raise the standard for any future reissues by the rest of the usual suspects.

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
JC Mosquito
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