4.5 out of 5 Stars!
I purchased this 2-CD anthology when it first came out, but not for the usual hits from the “Paul Rodgers’ years,” the era of Bad Company that delivered timeless gems such as “Can’t Get Enough,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Honey Child,” and “Rock and Roll Fantasy,” since I had already owned every individual album by the group for decades. No, I snatched up this collection mainly for the four songs—”Hey, Hey,” “Tracking Down a Runaway,” “Hammer of Love,” and “Ain’t It Good?”—newly recorded by the original band members, as well as the seven “rare” (unreleased or “B Side”) tracks also included.
So, with eleven unfamiliar tunes gracing this collection of thirty-three total tracks, that basically made a brand new album from Bad Company’s classic lineup of singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, bassist Boz Burrell, and drummer Simon Kirke.
Of course, the “hits” are always a “good listen” even after all these many years, and the majority of album tracks included here are commendable selections for such a lengthy compilation. Sure, I might have added several extra “essential” tracks, or recommended substituting a few songs in favor of others, but not too many. And aside from the four newly recorded tracks (none of them truly earth-shattering, mind you, but all pleasant enough), the older “rare” tracks alone made this a worthwhile purchase.
Indeed, listening to “Superstar Woman,” “Little Miss Fortune,” and “Easy on My Soul” (outtakes from the 1974 debut album), or “See the Sunlight,” “All Night Long,” and “Whiskey Bottle” (left off the Straight Shooter platter), and “Smokin’ 45” (from the Burning Sky recording sessions), often had me scratching my head, wondering why the hell at least some of them were not included on those early albums. I mean, take the debut platter, for example, which originally included only eight songs that ran less than thirty-five minutes in total—certainly the “A” and “B” sides could have each easily handled one of the outtakes mentioned above, right? As much as I loved the “vinyl years” of music, an album’s side-length limitations did occasionally prove annoying, but never more so than when record companies didn’t “push the boundaries.”
Anyway, regardless of my historical “vinyl gripe,” this enjoyable collection clearly shows the high quality of the “original” Bad Company, the band’s top-level songwriting capabilities and each individual’s smokin’ performances, and it made me miss these particular musicians working as a team all the more.
(RIP Boz Burrell)