Magic Christian Music Review

artist: Badfinger date: 07/17/2014 category: compact discs
Badfinger: Magic Christian Music
Released: Jan 9, 1970
Genre: Rock, Power Pop
Label: Apple
Number Of Tracks: 14
They were better on their debut The Iveys, although it is a more pop oriented LP it is almost excellent and it's near pristine whether listeners like pop or not, they were definitely on top as far as precise and excellent musicianship.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8
Magic Christian Music Reviewed by: Oliver_White3, on july 17, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is the first studio release of the band called Badfinger, a name derived from the working title of a Paul McCartney album or a John Lennon tune called "Badfinger Boogie" depending on your source. John Lennon reportedly wanted to call them The Prix (pronounced as the Pr*ks). However, this is the second studio album by the band, as the first released for Apple Records (the label owned by The Beatles) was under the name The Iveys. Only three tracks on the album are actually featured in the film "Magic Christian" so the name is a bit of a misnomer. The album does contain tracks that were commissioned for the film and the famous hit "Come and Get It" written by Paul McCartney was given to the group having originally been intended for the film "Magic Christian" and still made it on there having been given to the group from Paul McCartney having read an article of an interview with bassist Ron Griffiths about how Apple kept refusing their songs and McCartney responded by offering them the hit song. This album essentially is the same group The Iveys (pre-Badfinger) but bassist Ron Griffiths left the band, he did so after the material was ready and was replaced by Joey Molland who only provided certain bits on this album. The picture of the group appearing on the album only has three original Badfinger members which were Mike Gibbins, Pete Ham and Tom Evans. The lineup would cause Tom Evans to switch from guitar to bass and have Joey Molland take his place while Evans would fill in Griffiths' original spot. The album also contains seven older tracks from their first album "Maybe Tomorrow" (as The Iveys), they were remixed and offered in better quality in studio mixing compared to the original album. Other than the issue of lack of new material they still show themselves yet again to be a promising rock band of tremendous energy. // 8

Lyrics: The album opens up with "Come and Get It," a tune by Paul McCartney that was written specifically for the group. McCartney even attended the studio date when the band was recording the song. While Badfinger has been compared to The Beatles at times, it's tunes with the direct Beatles connection that may lead to this interpretation. While I won't deny the sonic similarities, I think it's important to meet the band on its own tunes and concentrate on the songwriters in the band like Pete Ham without always looking for the similarities to Beatles material. The following tune is "Crimson Ship," a driving, medium-tempo Pete Ham (rhythm guitar; piano), Tom Evans (bass guitar), Mike Gibbins (drummer) tune, that is notable for the organ during the verses and Joey Molland's solo guitar during the chorus. It is the driving rhythmic element that is one of the main ingredients of the Badfinger sound and "Crimson Ship" is a good example of such a song. "Dear Angie" is a ballad that originally appeared on the earlier Iveys release and is actually penned by a former member of the band, Ron Griffiths. The most memorable parts of the song are during the bridge when the strings become much more intense with periodic solo guitar. While the song stays mostly in minor, it's interesting to note that the tune actually ends on a major chord.

"Fisherman" is a sort of musical poem that I believe is supposed to be reminiscent of a sea song and originally appeared on the earlier Iveys release. Written by Tom Evans, it may have been written during his earlier life in Liverpool or when the band was based in Swansea, Wales. Both being coastal towns, the song elements such as the sound clip of the sloshing of boots, the flutes, and the violin seem to suggest a sea song interpretation. While the lyrics are very literal, the invoke a visual scene in which the musical elements add another layer. "Midnight Sun," a Pete Ham, is a very straight-forward call-and-response rock tune, and a great rocker at that; showing that the band would be able to make it as a rock group and heading somewhat in the right direction along the hardest track "Rock of All Ages" (a driving, up-tempo number that shows the band exercising its "harder" side). "Carry On Till Tomorrow" my favorite off of the album because of how well written it is with brilliant orchestration, Ringo Starr would play bongos on it, it really pulls out a great emotion in minor chords and shows how vast and wide-ranging the songwriting duo's ideas were. I mean, how often do you hear strings supplying a driving, rhythmic pulse under a guitar solo? // 8

Overall Impression: They were better on their debut The Iveys, although it is a more pop oriented LP it is almost excellent and I think even I had underrated it a bit, it's near pristine whether listeners like pop or not, they were definitely on top as far as precise and excellent musicianship. This album doesn't provide nearly as much actual quality in the musicians' playing so much as it does rival their first original album under The Iveys moniker in sound quality. I think the sound quality on the original debut is not really as much of an issue and it's not fully noticeable even on original vinyl and it's been remastered on CD (I still think the vinyl doesn't sound bad, the producing just wasn't perfect, probably overlooked) the CD does alter the intro of "Sali Bloo." This album does however provide a great sense of accomplishment in moving towards a more rock themed outfit and does foreshadow the later efforts to come and more excellent hits to be provided on some of their best albums to come which would be the next two that would arrive after "Magic Christian." Their next two albums would provide a famous hit and also excellent material for those albums as a whole, making them far more enjoyable to listen. This album isn't bad but there is some bad decisions here on behalf of their producers and the people who were running them, especially in how they messed up the title, Badfinger themselves would be greatly cheated out of money and highly underrated and viewed as a "Beatles imitation band," which is not the case. If anything they were their own rock group of the '70s who were highly talented and struggling to make a breakthrough. Pete Ham as usual is the whole mastermind behind all of this and the addition of Joey Molland would prove highly fruitful with great back to back guitar solos on slide and collaboration between the two in a mutual relationship. This is the album that essentially marked Badfinger's initial success that would peak with 1971's "Straight Up" with tunes like "Baby Blue" and "Day After Day." // 8

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