1/7/15 – Badger – One Live Badger – 1973

Badger One Live Cover ArtAfter Tony Kaye left Yes he formed Badger and in an unprecedented move of great confidence the band supported Yes at The Rainbow in London and recorded their show, playing completely unknown material to the audience and then released it as their first album. Brave on many levels and although they were surely well received with ex-Yes man Tony Kaye in the line-up, the audience reaction sounds rather too good to be true.

The band plays that kind of seventies music that no one remembers. A great band, with Roy Dyke on drums from Ashton Gardner and Dyke, (Dyke played On George Harrison’s Wonderwall) and I presume David Foster on bass, who shares lead vocals with guitarist Adrian Parrish. But what are they – not Progressive, not Pop, not Blues or anything you can put your finger on – not that it should matter. But produced by Geoffrey Haslam and Jon Anderson (whatever that means in this live setting) they were really good at a nameless style. I’m not sure if it’s the songs or the singing but the more I hear it I equally admire and dismiss it. It’s the strangest feeling to be both impressed and unmoved simultaneously. Maybe you have to get to know the songs but really, why did they not release a studio record? The answer to that is probably that they were good enough to not have to, and maybe the record is better than it would have been with studio polish. I’ve never felt as ambivalent towards a record as I am towards this one.

It obviously wasn’t working for the singers in the band either with Foster and Parrish both leaving. They hired Kim Gardner, from Ashton Gardner and Dyke on bass and then established singer Jackie Lomax (whose debut solo album was released on Apple and produced by George Harrison). Lomax took over the band and wrote most of the materal in a Soul/Blues direction releasing White Lady – a studio album in 1974, produced by New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint.

That was it, and it would be unfair to remember them just for the Roger Dean cover art and the pop-up badger in the gatefold of the debut album, that novelty item notwithstanding, their claim to fame is lost in the cruel mists of time.