Badfinger’s Joey Molland – The Pilgrim (1992): Forgotten Series

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Although Joey Molland is principally renowned for his superb work with Badfinger, the Liverpool, England-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is responsible for plenty of other sonic goodies.

One great band Joey was involved in prior to attaining universal fame with Badfinger was Gary Walker and the Rain. Fronted by former Standells and Walker Brothers cohort Gary Walker (nee Gary Leeds), the group’s lone full-length – Album No. 1,” released in 1968 – is a psychedelic-pop classic. At the height of Badfinger’s success in the early ’70s, Joey Molland appeared on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and Concert For Bangladesh sets, as well as John Lennon’s Imagine album.

After harvesting hit singles with Badfinger like “Come and Get It,” “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue,” Joey departed the group and founded Natural Gas with ex-Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley. Arriving in 1976, Natural Gas culled rave responses, though it was the band’s sole album.

The late ’70s saw Joey Molland rejoin Badfinger. The band came to an end in 1983 however, when Tom Evans took his life. Despite the fact that Badfinger created some of the finest pop rock pieces of the era, tragedy surrounded the group. Pete Ham had already committed suicide in 1975, and financial problems plagued them.

The demise of Badfinger prompted Joey to embark on a solo career, and his first effort, After the Pearl, materialized in 1984. Positive reviews ensued, but it would be nearly a decade before a follow-up was released.

So many years between recordings did not diminish Joey’s talent or spirit, as The Pilgrim (Rykodisc) was lit with quality offerings.

The opening track, “You Make Me Sick,” is a commentary on the crooked and misguided actions of the government. Fangs bared and spit flying, the song trembles with convincing angst and aggression. Captained by clattering guitars and penetrating rhythms, “The Party’s Over” also contains socially aware prose and shivers and shakes with verve.

An additional scene stealer is the boogie rockabilly rouser “Vampire Weekend,” where ballads such as “All Caught Up” and “No One Likes the Rain” are effective and expressive. Shrouded in a moody droning sound, “All the Way” closes the album on an experimental note.

Mixing grit and determination with moments of reflective meditations, The Pilgrim finds Joey clenching tight to his tried-and-true method of composing, arranging and playing melody-driven pop rock songs. To be expected, the specter of Badfinger regularly manifests throughout the grooves. All told, The Pilgrim not only reinforces Joey Molland’s dedication to his art, but the ability to stand on his own.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at
Beverly Paterson

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