Sound — 9
Pete Ham has always seemed to be the leader of the group, contributing most of the compositions and creative side, not to undermine any of the other members' impact on the group which Tom Evans also did have in songwriting too; the others themselves really (as all of them were) skilled musicians with great talent. The name The Iveys had to be changed to Badfinger because they didn't get any success under it although they were a great band, and crowds loved them when they performed. They are more of an underrated pop-rock/power pop band with psychedelic hints, this is the only album to display that and under this name "The Iveys." Badfinger always wrote beautiful songs that were worthy of being hits, but somehow even such excellent music just didn't sell commercially or gain much popularity except this album and the song title of the same name "Maybe Tomorrow" was a hit in Germany and was even no. 1 in the Netherlands for a short period of time, also popular in Italy and Japan, otherwise though this was not a success and Apple ended up discontinuing it shortly after it was pressed by the newly hired president Allen Klein who stopped all non-Beatle albums from being pressed for a short period of time.
Overall it did not succeed, but even though it was never a chart topper, these compositions on here are more than worth of being hits, and some of them really sound like they were, "Maybe Tomorrow" itself of course and "Dear Angie" a perfect ballad. This whole album is essentially a compilation of songs recorded since they began in April of 1968 being first signed to Apple records and mixed together in the studio. This album essentially is a rarity due to the fact that it was pulled off the shelf and it is quite obscure and underrated, looking at the fact that this is really a pop group as they started and didn't have that full rock sound with a slight country-folk-blues-rock-pop blend granted the slide and other techniques used it does have a somewhat prototype sound and shows the solid song-writing and musicianship they've always had as a band.
Pete Ham and Tom Evans have some great work in switching back and forth and composing songs that let their playing compliment one another, whilst one musician worked on the vocals/rhythms or mix matched it up with multi power in the guitar range. Keeping in mind this isn't a hard rocker except a couple and one sole hard track on here, these are excellent songs nonetheless and it really is a matter of taste, I think there is a bit of something for everyone though as a fan of '60s music on here, with little hints of certain leaning of popular styles taken from different types of common music of the time including psychedelia hints, whether they were consciously doing it or not it's bound to happen. They sound slightly Beatlesque but more like a Bee Gees type of sound, overall it's impossible not to have some Beatle influence as a band during this time, but they really do have a certain quality and styling of their own and they aren't any sort of imitation, they just have a standard sound of the time, not fully innovative but great musicians and an all around good album.
There is even a guest appearance of Nicky Hopkins as the piano on "See-Saw Granpa" and we all know that everything Nicky touches turns to gold, but this being already a great song, despite the silly name, a great track, I got over it when I heard it and realized it was actually a nice song and it's all really having fun, so you can't bee too analytical about such a small thing; just listen to the music. Ron Griffiths is later to be replaced but provides reliable and quite nice and sometimes a bit complex bass riffs. The mixing on here has been said to be somewhat of an inferior quality to the later mixings of the songs used later for the next album "Magic Christian Music" but is a standard quality, having been been remastered it sounds like it has a reliable quality, and enjoyable listen, probably not as good as vinyl or even a vinyl rip to mp3 especially since you can only hear the original "Sali Bloo" on vinyl with the wah-wah intro that is missing somehow on the CD edition. Even though they were a pop outfit, Pete Ham and Tom Evans provide some great guitar solos and even duo at times on them, they have a nice evolving rock feel to them. I'd say this has a good sound, the quality could be a bit better but it's definitely not poor or bad.
The bonus tracks offered on here have a slightly different feel to them, some of which sound a slightly older, but still nice and worth checking out with a classic sound to them, even more so than the rest of the album, just more great song writing.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are a bit silly at times, just on a few tracks like "They're Knocking Down Our Home" as a bit of a parody song, but beautifully performed by Ham and sung well, of course "See-Saw Granpa" like I said may sound stupid as a title, but it really is a great track and a good opener. It's hard and it would take too long to cover all the lyrical content, but they essentially range, most of them are about love and have a bit of a sad feel like on "Beautiful and Blue" with a great love composition, excellent bass riff and nice soloing, I love that effect they use to make the lead guitar drone and sound a bit like a violin, whilst the violin and symphony is played, there is a nice feel and everything is well composed combining orchestrations with rock along in great songs. "I'm in Love" has more of a silly tone to it, yet somehow serious too at the same time, and the music is great, there is a somewhat joking and playful manner such as the frog croak vocal baritone bass sounds on "Yesterday Ain't Comin' Back" yet it is still one of the best tracks on the album, these guys were really a bunch of young talented men with a great future ahead of them.
"Dear Angie" remains to be the love pop ballad of the album, with a sense of forlorn and written on a real life experience, it has a smooth orchestration with symphony, and the whole thing just moves together with mellow duo guitars just both soloing from both stereo channels, just brilliant and clean sounding. Not quite clear who is doing what, but I think Evans is doing more of the soling although both of them do at times. "Dear Angie" is a Ham vocal track so it's most likely Evans on lead. "Think About the Good Times" is definitely a fun song with another playful and joking tone and warbling metal sheet used with nice smooth wah-wah, but altogether it is once again another well-written song with good serious guitar feel, it has a bit of that Bo-Diddley "who do you love" tempo and feel to it but yet has a quality in an aspect of its own thing. "Sali Bloo" is a good somewhat rock track with more wah and it also has more of a good power pop style to it. "Angelique" is the other ballad of love also done in a more serious tone with mellow organ done on their, keyboards with Pete Ham, having him doing a second instrument also possibly on the harpsichord bits, nice horn bits but very minute and not full used to overwhelm and more serious lyrics too like on "Beautiful and Blue," "Maybe Tomorrow," and "Dear Angie." "Fisherman" being more of a folk/poppier track, sounds a bit intentionally sarcastic (i.e. it's even better from a can).
Overall Impression — 8
There are a number of other pop/pop rock groups but I don't really listen to them often, I had to get this to be a Badfinger completist and even though I normally don't listen to this sunshine pop besides The Beatles, it offers a taste of different Britain styles of the time and it doesn't disappoint with the psychedelic rocker "I've Been Waiting."
The tracks that just stand out are "See-Saw Grandpa" which sounds a bit like Billy Joel ripped off of it with his song "only the good die young," so this sounds a bit ahead if you will or it was somewhat borrowed from or whatever you want to call it, still a nice pleasant track. It has a rock and roll form with the solos that come in quickly and great yelling, Tom Evans knows how to yell and make it sound great, just hard vocals that can really range and sound excellent.
"Beautiful and Blue": a more softer and well played composition like I said before, one of my favorites, it's a soft rock track yet somehow merges rock with a softer pop/symphonic form. The whole lyrical form and melodies are great with the whole groups' vocals being great, I can't say much that isn't bad about them, they are an excellent pop/rock group.
"Yesterday Ain't Comin' Back": nice piano bits and harp, overall yet another beautiful and satisfying song. A bit of a joking manner is in there but still great song writing with harp.
"Maybe Tomorrow": the real potential hit of the album, similar to "Beautiful and Blue" not they sound the same, they have more of a sadder feel to them with a nice orchestration and good back beat rhythm by Mike Gibbins. The whole thing has great beautiful singing from them, they are like a totally different sound from most of what I've heard yet they are a pop/rock group. And Evans' vocals on here has him scream in that amazing way he does having it sound clean, it sounds a bit like a better Geddy Lee voice (no insult intended Geddy Lee is a great vocalist) it seems like even though this is soft pop it has good rock elements incorporated throughout it.
"I've Been Waiting": this is the psychedelic heavy ending track to the album, somehow it has little xylophone bits playing a few notes, but still manages to be heavy with the piano playing low drown, I mean the guitars have excellent distortion and harder sound for their time while offering a longer track with psychedelic interlude soloing jam, having the other guitar sound a bit like a voice at sometimes with an echo to it. It just has another darker feel to it with the vocals coming in wailing like spirits, the chord progression sounds basic but really hard and nice at least for it's time.
Even though I normally don't listen to this kind of music it turns me on to it with different elements of things that I like and great talent with excellent song writing, they really are great musicians of their time. And it shows a little bit of what they would come to be in the rock elements that come into play in this album. There really isn't much you can complain about, unless this simply isn't your taste and maybe the quality which is really something that can't be helped in this case. I mean, they may be a bit more of something that is just common, but they really did a great job at making their own original techniques and sounds to the album.