Tag Archives: bad company

103. BAD COMPANY “Live 1977 & 1979” (2016) + a trip down Memory Lane!

Bad Co: "Live 1977 & 1979"

The cover of the new Bad Co album: “Live 1977 & 1979”

If you had asked me at any time during the last 37 years, to name a handful of the most memorable gigs that I’ve had the pleasure of attending in all that time; then one of those on that select list would surely have been Bad Company at London’s Empire Pool Wembley, (now called Wembley Arena) on Saturday 10th March 1979.

This memorable show was part of the band’s highly successful Desolation Angels Tour, and they played three nights at Wembley: 9th, 10th and 11th March ’79. There was no support band. You weren’t allowed to take photos at gigs back then (on pain of being thrown out or having your camera confiscated); and I didn’t need or want to make notes (at the age of 19 all I was interested in was birds, bikes, beer and Blues-Rock – in no particular order!); but I wish I had, as only a few snippets of recollection remain in my mind. I remember that they inevitably played ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’; ‘Can’t Get Enough’; ‘Rock’n’Roll Fantasy’ (off their new Desolation Angels album); and, I’m glad to say, my particular favourite ‘Honey Child’; but apart from that, the show has faded into the mists of time – other than to say that I recall it as a superb night. But I can still see Paul Rodgers in my mind’s eye – the ultimate Rock front-man; the epitome of cool – swinging that mic stand around, and sometimes playing a Strat – and that voice!  I remember too, Micky Ralphs casually pacing the stage, playing with an ease and confidence that was spell-binding – and only surpassed in impressiveness, by the sounds he was getting out of his Strat. Wonderful.

(Pic: PTMQ collection)

A scan of my original ticket which I sold on Ebay a few years ago! (Pic: PTMQ collection)

I went with a couple of other blokes: my main gig-mate Gary (whatever happened to him, I wonder?), and another geezer whose name I don’t recall; and we had seats reasonably near the front.  It seems ridiculous now, but at £4.50 for a ticket, it was a bit pricey compared to £3.50 to see Whitesnake (at Hammersmith Odeon); £3.00 for Rush (ditto); and a mere £2.80 to see Van Halen (at the old Rainbow Theatre) at around the same ’78-’79 period. At the time, I worked for British Electric Traction (BET) which was a holding company – ie, they didn’t do or make anything, they just owned other companies who did. One of the other companies that they had their greedy mitts on, was the Wembley Complex (Stadium; Arena and Conference Centre); and I sometimes managed to get discounted tickets – and yes it was worth getting a quid or so off for my mates and myself, because I was only on about £40 a week before tax in those days! I also managed to see Blackmore’s Rainbow and Status Quo at the same venue at around the same time. (That Rainbow gig was infamous; but that’s a story for another time!)

So imagine my delight then, when recently I heard that Bad Co’s record label Swan Song were to release a double live album featuring recordings made at one of those nights back in March ’79 (the 9th – sadly not the 10th that I went to. Still; its near enough!)

(Pic: PTMQ)

Part of the album’s inner sleeve. The right-hand part shows the cover of the Desolation Angels Tour programme. I sold my original copy on Ebay, along with the ticket, a few years ago. (Pic: PTMQ)

The album is a two CD set that comes in a deluxe four-gate-fold sleeve; plus a booklet tucked into one side that contains lots of info and photos from both of the gigs covered in the collection. Disc One is a recording of the Bad Co gig at The Summit, Houston, Texas, USA, on 23rd May 1977. Disc Two is the Wembley show, recorded on the ‘…Rolling Stones Truck-thing just outside’ (to quote another famous ’70s Rock band!) Presumably some tracks have been omitted from both sessions to avoid too much duplication; although two songs appear on both discs (‘Shooting Star’ and ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’).

An oddity is the inclusion of a superb and rare Bad Co cover of Hendrix’s ‘Hey Joe’ amongst the songs on the Wembley disc. It is a recording made at The Capitol Centre, Washington DC in June ’79;  so it would arguably have been better placed at the end of the first disc; but certainly shouldn’t be in the midst of the Wembley show. Its bloody good though!

The tightness; quality musicianship; and professionalism of Bad Co’s legendary live performances comes through well on these recordings. And the recordings themselves are very well done indeed. There is perhaps a little disappointment in the mixing of Ralphs’ rhythm guitar work on some of the tracks on the Wembley disc, but its not too much of a problem.

If you are in any way, shape, or form a Bad Co fan, then I’d say that you need to own this excellent double album. PTMQ


55. ROMEO CROW “They Come And Go Like Rain” EP (2013)

Well, I never cease to be amazed by the amount of musical talent that exists in this wonderful World. And I’m always pleased to find out about someone doing something new. For me, Londoner Romeo Crow fits that criterion. Please excuse my ignorance (once again), but I’d never heard of him till I found him following me on Twitter recently. Looking into it, I realised that he had an EP out, called They Come And Go Like Rain. Keen to hear it, I downloaded it, and liked it immediately. They say that the first track on an album (or EP) should be one that grabs your attention at once; and quite honestly, the words that went through my mind when I heard the opening riff, was: ‘Wo! This sounds good!’; and I was still thinking that when the final track finished!

'They Come And Go Like Rain' (Image: Romeo Crow)

‘They Come And Go Like Rain’ (Image: Romeo Crow)

Mr.Crow is a multi-instrumentalist based in Battersea, SW London. (He is also a writer and film-maker). He has recorded other stuff too, but what concerns us here is this excellent EP. It is a six-track opus of Blues-Rock compositions; written and recorded by the man himself in his own studio. And a fine job he has made of it too.

He kicks off with the attention-grabbing ‘Storm In The City’ and follows with ‘Get Like This’. On both tracks he pretty much nails all the accepted rules of a good rock number, but there is a large measure of noticeable individuality within them too – memorable rhythm riffs, and tasty solos. Vocals too are again, a balance of the tried and tested; and the unique. And those things can be said of the whole EP really.

The third track ‘Sharing Time’ is a more thoughtful song; reminiscent of a moody Free or Bad Co number – a bit Beatles-esque too.  Vocals on this one remind me of an angst-ridden Paul Rodgers – but that’s not a bad thing! ‘Still Loving You’ is next, with its nicely worked synchronised / harmonised vocals and guitar.

‘Fat Freddy’ is next on the agenda. After the first four tracks, this surprised me with its central section of spiel, in London inner-city street-youth accent – but why not? Its probably the most unusual / individual number in the collection. The finishing track is ‘Would You Hold It Against Me’: an excellent, moody, Bluesy, slow-tempo Zeppelin-esque number. Vocals on this are a little Robert Plant-like too. Again, not  a bad thing. There’s a great rattling bass on this one too.

Now, I don’t know Romeo personally, and I don’t know what music he’s been listening to; but when I played this EP, I heard sublte textures and nuances of sound in the axemanship that reminded me of such luminaries as HendrixPage; Kravitz; Marino; Kossoff; and Johnny Winter, (among others that I can’t place). Influence or coincidence? I don’t know, but either way, Romeo has developed his own guitar style nontheless; and its that individuality that makes this sample of his work a bit different. Vocally, as I’ve said, he reminds me a lot of the greatest of all rock frontmen, Paul Rodgers (+others); but again, there’s no denying that he is unique too. Musically the songs are very good; with quite strong lyrics too.

I don’t know what else Romeo has up his sleeve – or what he’s capable of – but it will be interesting to hear how he develops musically in the future. My guess is that he’ll be exploring and experimenting with a smorgasbord of genres. We’ll see. I really enjoyed listening to this EP; and I can recommend it. If you you’re into any of the artists I’ve mentioned above – and you like to hear something new as well – then you’ll love it too. PTMQ

Here is a link to Romeo Crow’s website….