by J. J. Syrja
With its eye-catching cover (Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Mike Gibbons as worms rooted in an apple) and varied track selection, Unreleased and Some Released stands above most bootleg Badfinger currently out. Unlike the chaotic Cleveland 1974, this one captures the band in inspired phases, mostly 1971-1973.
In addition to outtakes and alternative versions from Apple LP's Straight and Ass, the double album banks upon several unreleased tracks. "Sing for the Song" has the sort of corny chorus that's been heard from "All You Need is Love" to "We Are the World," but "I'll Be the One" is a great display of Badfinger's energetic harmony singing and "Pete's Mambo" is wonderfully offbeat. "Instrumental #2" ended up as "Cowboy" from Ass. "Come Back Home" was transformed into "Mean Jemima" from Molland's 1983 solo set After the Pearl on the Earthtone label.
Other outtakes compared favorably to their released versions. Ham's "Name of the Game" possesses an insistent rhythm that the Straight Up rendition lacks. While the legitimate take of "Perfection" was just that to most Badfinger fans - in other words, a masterpiece - the version herein, with Who-like harmonies to clinch it, is nonetheless superb.
More highlights come from the interviews, with guys discussing Leon Russell's' participation in "Day After Day" and hearing for the first time the indescribably bold radio commercial to promote their No Dice LP.
Unreleased and Some Released can't escape sound quality factors such as hiss and tinniness, but is easy to hear until side four, which unveils the Molland-led version of the group.
All told, these songs set the stage for the eminent release of Badfinger CDs - something a lot of us have been salivating over.