by Raj Bahadur
Scene Magazine , 1981
Not since the early 70s' NO DICE and STRAIGHT UP have Badfinger been able to produce an album worthy of chart status. Back then, the English quartet were touted as the next Beatles, they boasted an Apple recording contract, received production assistance from the likes of George Harrison and Todd Rundgren and, most notably, featured the compositional talents of Pete Ham. Following Ham's suicide by hanging, the band found themselves at the end of their figurative rope, with reformation and splinter groups (e.g., Natural Gas) failing to capture 'the public's fancy. The problem? A dearth of passable material, which, apparently, only Pete Ham had been able to supply.
SAY NO MORE is not the classic the above two albums were, but at least it puts Badfinger back in the running. Two original members who used to assist in the songwriting, Joey Molland and Tom Evans, have taken on three capable additions (Tony Kaye, keyboards; Richard Bryans, drums; Glenn Sherba, guitar) and seem to have rekindled much of that founding spirit.
"Because I Love You" leads the pack, while "Hold On" and "No More" retain the middle period-Beatles flavor. "I Got You" is hauntingly reminiscent of Pete Ham's pungent rocker, "Love Me Do" (no relation to the Beatles' tune), though "Too Hung Up On You," a STRAIGHT UP-type plaintive ballad, Impedes SAY NO MORE's swift flow.
Excluding "Rock'n'Roll Contract" (which would have been much more vital at three minutes or under, rather than in its present 5:45 state), Badfinger's re-emergence, at a time when power pop's acceptance is at a zenith, could not have been better timed. The leader's loss will never be forgotten, but it has been overcome.